Controversial Treatments for Children With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
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By Sam Goldstein, Ph.D.
In this paper we have reviewed approaches which have been offered as effective for AD/HD which have not met scientific standards which would justify their inclusion as mainstream treatments for this childhood disorder. Some of these controversial treatments merit continued research while others likely do not. Although these treatments may be offered in the marketplace as proven and accepted approaches, they are not. Parents are cautioned when considering these treatments that time and money might be better spent on treatments with proven track records. Among the most effective means to date are the judicious use of medication and behavior management. Parent education and appropriate classroom settings, as well as helping children locate areas of success in their lives, are also effective for children with AD/HD.
How Can A Parent Be A Wise Consumer?
If you are the parent of a child with AD/HD you know how difficult your job an be. You want to obtain the very best treatment for your child. In the spirit of "how can it hurt to try" you might be tempted to throw caution to the wind when you hear about a new treatment that promises to help.
Promises are not enough. You also have the responsibility to invest your family's resources of time, money and energy wisely. This means that as with any large purchase, you must become an informed consumer.
In this paper we have provided general guidelines for evaluating new treatments. Listed below are additional tips to help you recognize treatments that are questionable.
- Overstatement and exaggerated claims are red flags. Be suspicious of any product or treatment that is described as astonishing, miraculous or an amazing breakthrough. Legitimate health professionals do not use words like these. Nor do they boast of their success in treating huge numbers of patients.
- Be suspicious too of any treatment that claims to treat a wide variety of ailments. Common sense tells us that the more grandiose the claim the less likely it is that there is any real merit behind it.
- Do not rely on testimonials from people who say they have been helped by the product or the treatment. Enthusiasm is not a substitute for evidence and legitimate health professionals do not solicit testimonials from their patients.
- Be skeptical about claims that a treatment is being suppressed or unfairly attacked by the medical establishment. Legitimate health professionals eagerly welcome new knowledge and better methods of treatment for their patients. They have no reason to oppose promising new approaches.
This article originally appeared on Dr. Sam Goldstein's website in 2000, samgoldstein.com, and is reprinted here with permission.