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Christian Counseling: Non-medication Help for ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is an illness affecting approximately 7 percent of 3-17 year olds in America (1), and adults are not immune to the disorder themselves. Stimulants are the treatment of choice medications to ease the numerous symptoms of ADHD, such as: impulsivity, restlessness, being distracted and not completing tasks. But there are side effects and sometimes they are ineffective or become ineffective.

Gregory Fabiano, Ph.D. reviewed 174 studies and found effective behavioral treatments for ADHD; that is, non-medication treatments.(1) As one saying goes, "It takes a village to raise a child", and so it is for treating children and teens with ADHD. Parents, teachers, counselors and other programs can make a huge difference in limiting the effects of the illness for everyone.

What treatments benefit young people with ADHD? Here are some helpful interventions culled from research studies and considered first line treatments (before medication) for most young people(1) :

Exercise – Better attention and better math and reading comprehension.
Rewarding Success – Parents and teachers look for and reward successful attention efforts.
Immediate Feedback – Provide praise and positive correction as soon as possible.
Additional Sleep – Getting even 30 minutes more per night decreases hyperactivity.
Summer Programs – Specific to those with ADHD and include social skills and group play
training and coaching.
Counseling – Diagnosis, child intervention and parent education.

Early identification and intervention (before first grade) is of important consideration in helping children get a handle on symptoms.

1 Clay, Rebecca A. (2013). Easing ADHD without meds. Monitor on Psychology, February 2013, 44, 2, 44-47.

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