Why Aren’t Treatments For Preschoolers With ADHD Effective?
A paper published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry came to two major conclusions based on a 6-year study of 207 preschoolers with ADHD:
Most of them – 89% – continued to meet criteria for ADHD 6 years later
Drug treatments were not effective in lowering the risk for ADHD 6 years later
What should we make of these data?
First, the continuity of symptoms across 6 years suggests that there may be some precision in diagnosis ADHD at a young age (if clinical guidelines are followed very carefully).
Second, while that observation suggests that intervention may be important, the lack of benefits of drug treatment raise some questions. Maybe it’s hard to achieve compliance with this type of medication routine in very young kids. Maybe medications in very young kids don’t act the same way as when they are used with older kids.
But it may also be that we need to amp up the intensity of psychosocial intervention as well. For many kids, this is not a first-line strategy – and it should be.
Bottom line, the medication regimens currently in practice for preschoolers with ADHD don’t seem to be helping much. Given the continuity of symptoms shown in this study, I would argue that more intensive study of the potential benefits of behavioral intervention would be especially important – and perhaps more so than trying out other types of medication strategies.Add a Comment