ADHD. What does that mean to you?

For some parents it might be a feared label, implying their child is ‘different’, or in some way ‘bad’. Or perhaps, they might even blame themselves, thinking they have done something wrong as parents.

For others, the diagnosis might come as a relief, finally providing an explanation as to why family life has become so difficult.

The reality is that attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is actually one of the most common chronic conditions of childhood, affecting around 1 in every 10 to 25 children of school- going age.1

Although at times all children drift off into their imagination and test the boundaries with unruly behaviour, the difficulties that children with ADHD have in sustaining attention and controlling their behaviour are frequent and severe enough to interfere with their ability to live normal lives and socialise normally with their peers.1

It is important for parents to understand that ADHD is a condition of the brain that makes it difficult for their child to control his or her behaviour. It is not them being a ‘bad child’ or because of something the parent has done.1,2

The good news is that effective treatment for ADHD is available, enabling children to live a healthy and happy life and provide stability at school and at home.1

Treatment not only improves the behavioural symptoms of ADHD, but can also improve concentration, academic performance, emotional regulation and social behaviour.3-7

However, when it comes to treatments for ADHD, one size does not fit all. Various medications are available, which work in different ways and for different durations throughout the day. For some children, symptom control in the morning is most important, whereas for others a sustained effect into the evening might be preferable.8

Furthermore, depending on age and body weight and how well they respond to medication, the dose required can also vary from child to child.10 Another consideration is how easy the medication is to take. Your doctor will take all of these factors into account so that they can select the medication and the dose that is most appropriate for your child.9

There are a lot of online resources for parents of children with ADHD. Taking some time to find out about the condition can be enormously rewarding.

Speak to your doctor about ADHD treatment options that will suit your child’s needs.


  1. American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Understanding ADHD. Information for parents about attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. 2007. Available at: Accessed 23 October 2018.
  2. CHADD: National Resource Center on ADHD. Parenting a child with ADHD. 2015. Available at: Accessed 23 October 2018.
  3. Storebø OJ, Ramstad E, Krogh HB, et al. Methylphenidate for children and adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015, Issue 11. Art. No.: CD009885. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.


  4. Kortekaas-Rijlaarsdam AF, Luman M, Sonuga-Barke E, Oosterlaan J. Does methylphenidate improve academic performance? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur Child Adolescent Psychiatry 2018. Published online.


  5. Gamli IS, Tahiroglu AY. Six months methylphenidate treatment improves emotion dysregulation in adolescents with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a prospective study. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat 2018; 14: 1329-1337.
  6. Smith BH, Pelham WE, Evans S, et al. Dosage effects of methylphenidate on the social behaviour of adolescents diagnosed with attention-deficit behaviour. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol 1998; 6(2): 187-204.
  7. Cortese S, Adamo N, Del Giovane C, et al. Comparative efficacy and tolerability of medications for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in children, adolescents, and adults: a systematic review and network meta-analysis. Lancet Psychiatry


  8. Coghill D, Soutullo C, d’Aubuisson C, et al. Impact of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder on the patient and family: results from a European Survey. Child Adolesc Psychiatry Ment Health 2008;2(1):31. DOI: 10.1186/1753-2000-2-31
  9. Huss M, Duhan P, Gandhi P, et al. Methylphenidate dose optimization for ADHD treatment: review of safety, efficacy, and clinical necessity. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat 2017;13: 1741-1751.