Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is a real neurological condition and it must be treated to reduce the potential for lifelong and very negative consequences. ADHD was not created by big-pharma. In fact, it has long been recognized as a serious condition, but was treated only at the university research-center level for decades. Treating ADHD with stimulant medications began about 70 years ago. Today, there are a wide variety of stimulant and non-stimulant medications designed to target the effects of ADHD. Other medications are used to treat very severe or atypical ADHD such as anti-seizure medications and mood stabilizers. But, you need a full support program.
Psychiatrists are experts in those medications that have a behavioral impact and have tremendous experience with the subtle aspects of treatment. In my 23 years of private practice, it is my experience that psychiatrists "hit the mark" in terms of identifying the most effective medication. As well, they seem to identify the correct dose more quickly and avoid over- or under-treatment. It is best for the medication to start at a low dose and be increased by small amounts
It is best practice to have an EKG (electrocardiogram) conducted to determine underlying heart conditions (irregular heart rhythm, murmurs) that may be impacted by stimulant medication. Make sure you get thyroid disorders ruled out, as well. ADHD symptoms overlap 17 other disorders, so make sure you are on the right track.
Your kids will want SUGAR, SUGAR, SUGAR!!! The ADHD brain craves sugar, but needs protein. Go figure. You need to "re-think" how you describe food to yourself. Breakfast is still breakfast even if you are serving left over meatloaf.
Many kids do not like eggs for breakfast although the choline in egg yolk is taken up by the brain and turned in to cholinesterase which is critical for brain functioning. In light of many kids' needs for something a bit savory in the morning, add your favorite taco seasoning (in my house it's Lawry's) and add it to both the beef and the beans. Middle schoolers LOVE it according to the moms in my practice. Avoid juice which will give kids that "sugar coma" at about 9 am Milk has a lot of natural sugar in it, so re-think the drink. Gatorade may be the way to go, but even this in reasonable amounts.
I know that I have mentioned this on previous posts, but if you have a kid who won't stop to eat at school, consider the Kellogg's Special K drinks or Ensure to give them the protein/carb combo that will carry them the rest of the day. They can guzzle these, get some nutrition and still have time to play.
It your child has been diagnosed, self-education is critical for you as parents and for your child. Imagination Press has great books to describe ADHD to kids. ADD WareHouse has everything you need in one spot to get a thorough education. Join CHADD...Children with ADD. Included in the subscription is a terrific monthly magazine called Attention!
You've got a lot on your list to do now! Do the best you can,