When it comes to managing attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), people often think about the medications used to help kids maintain focus. While it’s true that medication can play a pivotal role in treating many kids, some ADHD patients benefit from psychotherapy — either along with medication or, in some cases, as a standalone therapy.
At Nevada Pediatric Specialists, our team has extensive experience treating ADHD in kids and teens, with strategies that feature medication, psychotherapy, or both. Our patient-centered, customized approach to treatment is based entirely on your child’s needs, so you can feel confident that your child’s care will be optimized for their success.
If you’re wondering how psychotherapy benefits patients with ADHD, here’s what you should know.
ADHD is a disorder that’s associated with an inability to focus or pay attention, along with symptoms of hyperactivity, like fidgeting and impulsivity. Another form of ADHD, called ADD, lacks the hyperactivity component but still causes difficulty with focusing and staying on task.
ADHD isn’t in your or your child’s imagination. It’s a real medical disorder that has a biological basis that affects the way your child’s brain functions. You shouldn’t ignore it, and there’s no shame in having the disorder or seeking treatment.
ADHD happens in all settings, including at home, with friends, and at school. As a result, the effects of ADHD can have a dramatic effect on how well your child gets along with others, including family members, and how well they do in school and organized activities such as sports or extracurricular activities.
Not surprisingly, poor school performance, difficulty making friends, and quarrels with family members can quickly lead to feelings of low self-esteem, failure, and depression. Psychotherapy can play a key role in helping your child avoid these issues while learning healthy behaviors they can use in every environment they encounter.
While medication can be an essential tool in addressing the biological component of ADHD, psychotherapy offers numerous benefits, depending on your child’s age and other factors.
Most people think of the impulsivity component of ADHD as manifesting only in physical actions. But it can also take a toll on your child’s emotions, making it more difficult for them to control emotional reactions — and making them more prone to outbursts of anger or tears.
Psychotherapy helps your child learn to recognize emotional triggers and deal with them in healthy ways so they don’t feel blindsided or overwhelmed by their feelings. It also helps them identify healthy outlets for emotions that enable them to interact more positively with their peers and loved ones.
Difficulties staying focused and on task are the hallmarks of ADHD and ADD. Psychotherapy teaches your child concrete ways of managing their time and setting realistic and achievable goals so they can celebrate small successes along the way. Even these simple changes can motivate your child to stay focused on homework and other activities that require a fair amount of attention.
It’s easy to get frustrated with a child who has ADHD. Although it can sometimes seem like they’re being inattentive or stubborn on purpose, it’s important to remember that managing ADHD is a real struggle for kids.
Not surprisingly, kids who have ADHD encounter a lot of criticism and frustration — often on a daily basis. Before long, negative thought patterns can establish themselves, resulting in an expectation of failure and a reluctance to try to succeed.
Psychotherapy techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy help kids unlearn negative thought processes, replacing them with positive thinking patterns. The earlier kids unlearn negative thinking, the better they’ll feel about themselves and their ability to succeed.
Psychotherapy works well with medication, but it also may be effective on its own in treating ADHD. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends therapy as a first-line treatment for kids under age 6, then therapy combined with medication for older kids and teens.
Because ADHD symptoms and challenges can evolve as your child grows and develops, it’s important to keep an open mind, working with your child’s doctor to ensure their treatment plan stays on track and focused on their success — in school, in social settings, and in every aspect of their lives.
ADHD affects millions of children and teens, but the good news is that with the right treatment plan in place, your child can learn to manage their symptoms and enjoy a happier, more confident, more successful life.
To learn more about ADHD treatment customized for your child’s unique needs, call us at 702-457-5437 or book an appointment online at our locations in Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada, today.