In a recent study comparing treatment regimens in adolescents with ADHD and substance abuse problems, patients were given Concerta with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and placebo with CBT. The results were surprising, it appeared that both treatment groups had similar reductions in ADHD symptoms. The patients who were treated with Concerta did have more side effect symptoms such as abdominal discomfort, nervousness and increased heart rate. This study shows that CBT may be useful in patients with ADHD, unfortunately CBT has been overlooked by physicians and patients as an alternative to treating ADHD. Part of the problem is that parents and physicians want the quick fix of a pill. There are non-medication alternatives available, many are not effective and can be expensive. Before trying out a new treatment, discuss the alternatives with your provider and make sure there are studies that back up their claims. I have seen many quasi-scientific treatment programs that claim they can “re-align” the brainwaves of children with light therapy and EEG biofeedback to treat anything from ADHD, drug addiction, depression to autism. These programs do not have peer-reviewed scientific studies to back up their claims. There are inexpensive non-drug effective programs available, one excellent program is Total Focus; this program has been studied and recommended by the National Institute of Mental Health and CHADD. [Click here for more information on ADHD and teens]
About The Author
Desmond Lew, MD
Dr Desmond Lew is a Board Certified Pediatrician in California. He received his Medical Degree in 1989 at Hahnemann University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. His Pediatric specialty training was based at University of California, Irvine Medical Center, where he rotated through UCIMC, Children's Hospital of Orange County and Miller's Children's Hospital in Long Beach.