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Pros and Cons of Medicating Children With ADHD

By Michelle Bolyn ; Updated August 14, 2017

Children who suffer from attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have issues at school and at home because of the symptoms. Children with ADHD have trouble focusing and concentrating, have difficulty sitting still in class, have issues completing class and homework assignments and have a hard time interacting with peers. Many times, these children have a hard time making friends because of their socially inappropriate behavior. Medication is one way to reduce and treat these symptoms.

Reduces Symptoms

Medication for ADHD can help a child in many ways. It might help him manage his inability to sit still and concentrate. He might be able to complete his assignments without being told to do so over and over. He might be able to control his impulse to shout out answers before the teacher calls on him.

The ability to control these negative symptoms of ADHD could dramatically change the child’s daily life. He might no longer be labeled as a problem child at school, have a better chance at making friends and stop throwing temper tantrums every time he doesn’t get his way. The medication won’t cure all of his symptoms, but it can decrease them.


When a child is able to concentrate, focus on specific tasks and hold a conversation with an adult, she is able to participate in therapy. Even if the medication only helps the child's ability to participate in therapy to address the problems, it can be successful. For a child with ADHD, sitting in a therapist’s office for 30 to 45 minutes can seem like a punishment. She might daydream while the therapist is talking, interrupt the therapist multiple times during a session and forget what was discussed the minute she leaves the therapist’s office. If she can manage these symptoms of ADHD enough to learn socially acceptable behaviors and specific organizational skills, she will be able to apply them on her own.

Starting Small

Some parents are concerned about the side effects of medications that treat ADHD. Parents can alleviate these fears by starting their children off on small doses. If the child does not experience any negative side effects, the doctor can increase the dose. If the child does experience negative side effects, the doctor can change the prescription without any serious harm. This is a safer way of medicating children with psychiatric medications.

Regular Use

Children don’t have to take the medication every day to get the needed effects. Long-acting stimulants last for six to 12 hours. Therefore, some children take the medication only before school and don’t take the medication in the evening or on days that they don’t have school.

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