Behavioral Therapy Could Be Rewarding To Treat ADHD in Children

Behavioral Therapy Could Be Rewarding To Treat ADHD in Children

According to a new research, the use of behavioral therapy before medicine for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) works faster than directly prescribing medicine to treat the disorder. The behavioral therapy includes giving instruction to diseased children in basic social skills. This could be a more affordable option. The research was published in two papers by the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology.

The research involved 146 children with an ADHD diagnosis from ages 5 to 12. Half of them were put on a low dose of generic Ritalin while other half were given no medication, but were treated with behavior-modification techniques. The behavioral therapy is based on a system of rewards and consequences. The parents gave reward to their children for their good and cooperative actions and withheld privileges for defiance and other misbehavior. This way the children avoided attention-grabbing silly and irritating actions.

Adderall and Ritalin are stimulants considered as standard treatment against ADHD for treating more than four million children and adolescents in the United States with a diagnosis of the disorder. The behavioral approach could bring change in practice of prescribing drugs for curing the disorder. “The children who started with behavioral modification were doing significantly better than those who began with medication by the end, no matter what treatment combination they ended up with”, said William E. Pelham of Florida International University, a leader of the study with Susan Murphy of the University of Michigan.


Some experts believe that study focused on behavior, and thus ignoring other disabilities such as attention and academic performance that could be quickly treated by medicines. Another benefit of using behavior-modification techniques along with medication is that it could reduce the cost of treatment by $700 per child.


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