The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has updated information and guidelines for diagnosing children suffering with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). As per the new guidelines, ages for detection of the disorder have been extended in children and adolescents between 4 and 18. Previously the diagnosis age was recommended between 6 and 12. The new guidelines are also provided for diagnosis and treatment in children who depict symptoms of ADHD but do not fall in the exact category. The change in guidelines has been brought due to the revelation that early detection and treatment of the disease can help in solving the disorder more effectively. The chances of ADHD children doing better in school is higher when the treatment process begins early. The information was released by the lead author of the report, Dr. Mark Wolraich. He also said that significant research on ADHD problem has given rise to new and more effective treatment methods and beginning the treatment early can help them lead more normal lives sooner. He said that the numbers of children who are benefited from the treatments are higher than ever before.
In the United States, the problem of ADHD occurs in 8% of adolescents and children. It is being thought of as the most common problem with regard to neurobehavioral diseases. The report detailing the new guidelines for diagnosis and treatment of ADHD was released on 16th October in Boston at the AAP National Conference and Exhibition.
As per the new guidelines, treatment for preschool children has to begin with behavioral therapies by adopting methods such as training parents for behavior management or group training programs. For children who depict severe symptoms, methylphenidate can be administered under medical supervision and advice. However, the drug should only be administered if behavioral therapies fail to work. The treatment should begin with a low dose. For children who are slightly older and belong to elementary school and higher, the new guidelines say that behavior therapies should still form the basis but drugs have be administered alongside.
Dr. Wolraich said that ADHD being a chronic condition, it can best be treated by group therapy sessions. The group therapies should involve teachers, parents and therapists along with the patient. Along with the new set of guidelines, AAP has also releases a Toolkit that can help pediatricians diagnose the problem in a better manner. A report that is specially meant to allow parents recognize and deal with the problem, a detailed book called “ADHD: What Every Parent Needs to Know” has also been released.