Side effects of the drugs
Side effects are a major problem in the treatment of attention deficit disorders. Herbal and homeopathic agents have a very complex effect, are often insufficiently investigated and therefore have a very broad spectrum of side effects. Most of them are mild and temporary, but should not be underestimated.
They can manifest themselves, for example, as abdominal pain or headaches and can trigger interactions with other medicines or food components. The common psychostimulants (in e.g. Ritalin®), on the other hand, are well researched and the side effects are known, but unfortunately these are very common and occur in about half of all patients treated. Typical are: Changes in laboratory values, e.g. of the blood cells, have also been reported.
In rare cases, psychoses or similar can also occur. Most of these side effects subside after a few weeks, but adverse effects after many years of taking the substances are also currently being investigated. Patients should therefore be well informed before taking the medication. – Loss of appetite,
- Depressive moods,
- And other psychological restrictions.
Drug treatment of ADS in children
Whether and how a drug therapy may be advisable in individual cases cannot be judged in a general way. Two basic attitudes have developed: Probably – as so often – the truth can be found in the middle of both opinions. In principle, the appropriate and thorough diagnosis of ADHD is an important component.
It provides indications of therapies and their successes. There should be no doubt about the diagnosis: Not every child who dreams with behavioral problems and is inattentive is at the same time a child with ADD. Advocates of drug therapy often assume that the balance of the messenger substances needed to transmit information in the brain is restored by means of medication.
- Negative attitude
- Favourable position
With regard to the drug treatment of ADHD, the following can be noted:
- Drug therapy only in definite cases. – Medicinal therapy not under the age of six! – Side effects can occur individually and are particularly dependent on the prescribed medication.
- The dose and the time of taking the medication vary from person to person. Both must be “tested” in a certain way. The treating doctor can approximate the correct dosage based on the underlying body weight and make dosage recommendations.
Since “dreamy ADHD” is only a subtype of the typical ADHD, there are by definition no drugs exclusively for this manifestation. However, other combinations from the broad spectrum of ADHD therapy are used in ADHD. For example, sufferers more often manage with pure behavioral and psychotherapy and without medication, or they can resort to non-stimulating substances such as atomoxetine (Strattera®).
In homeopathic treatment, remedies such as agaricus are more likely to be used, as sulphur or stramonium are mainly used in dominant and hyperactive forms. Since the diagnosis of attention deficit syndrome also exists in adults (ADS diagnosis in adults), medication therapy can also be used for them. However, the choice of the appropriate medication is more difficult in adults.
One of the reasons for this is that metabolism is faster in adults and the hormone balance is composed differently. Just as with children, stimulants are the drugs of first choice. Tricyclic antidepressants or a mixed combination are also frequently used.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are only rarely used at present. The fact that, as far as we know, no drug based on methylphenidate is currently approved for adults is problematic. It can be prescribed by a doctor within the framework of a so-called off-label prescription.
The costs are rarely covered by health insurance companies and are therefore usually not covered. Some experience reports from adults who have decided to undergo drug therapy report that the effect of the drugs does not occur immediately, but that it can take up to half a year before the expected effect is achieved. Since drug therapy is subject to certain conditions (see above), reports are quite rare.
Studies also usually refer to children and teenagers. Adult studies on this topic often show different and inconsistent results. As with children and adolescents, drug therapy should only be considered if a clear diagnosis can be made.
This also includes the differential diagnostic differentiation of other personality disorders (borderline, depression, Tourette’s syndrome). As already mentioned, a therapy should always be based on several factors at the same time. For example, a therapy based solely on medication may be effective, but it does not necessarily have an effect on all areas.
Many package inserts of the above-mentioned drugs therefore also refer to an overall therapeutic strategy, which should be carried out in addition to drug therapy. – General information on how to deal with the ADS – child, especially information for parents on the therapy of ADS in the domestic and family area: ADS and family. – The psychotherapeutic and curative education therapy with its different forms. – The nutrition therapy.