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More guidance on ADHD needed

A lack of information, as well as stress and pressure from family and friends, may be preventing parents of children with ADHD from considering all their treatment options, a study has found.

Research from the University of Western Sydney indicates parents whose children have been diagnosed with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) need more guidance by health professionals in making treatment decisions.

It found parents who have more support and are assisted in managing their stress tend to explore more options for treating their child’s problem.

Head researcher Dr Anthony Dillon says stress about a child’s behaviour and pressure from external sources including friends, family and school communities can lead a parent to think that medication is the only option.

He said more information and support should be available to parents.

“The decision of whether to medicate your child or not is a personal one, but parents should be given enough information to make that decision,” Dr Dillon said.

The research surveyed 430 parents of children diagnosed with ADHD.

Almost 20 per cent rejected ADHD as a diagnosis for their child, attributing behavioural issues to other factors.

Of those who accepted the diagnosis, many were uncertain about the appropriate course of treatment.

“Without clear directives from health professionals, they find it difficult to make informed decisions about whether their child’s behaviours warrant the use of medication that can potentially have side-effects,” Dr Dillon said in a statement.

“Efforts should be directed into making more information available to parents so that they can carefully consider current conflicting views and have greater autonomy in this decision.”


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