For the 6.4 million kids ages 4 to 17 who've been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, it can be difficult to establish friendships. And ADHD almost doubles their risk for serious physical injuries.
That's why the American Academy of Pediatrics established best practice guidelines for the treatment of young sufferers. For preschoolers, the AAP warns about the risks of prescribing anti-ADHD medication right off the bat. Instead, they suggest "parent- and/or teacher-administered behavior therapy as the first line of treatment." Only when that approach fails and moderate to severe behavior problems persist should meds be considered - and then the only med that should be used is methylphenidate (such as Concerta and Ritalin).
But, unfortunately, 20 percent of docs say they use medication as their first-line treatment, not behavior therapy. And a third of specialists prescribing meds to preschoolers with ADHD say they choose a drug other than what's recommended: Almost 20 percent prescribe amphetamines and 19 percent choose non-stimulants.
If your preschooler is diagnosed with ADHD, find a program that provides behavior modification training for your child - and you.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.