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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Finding Medication for A Child with ADHD

02/06/2004

Question:

My teenage son is gifted but has ADHD. He has recently been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Any suggestions regarding medication? and any resources to help him prepare for college this fall? I would appreciate any suggestions regarding books I should read or information regarding strategies I can use in the home.

Answer:

Yours is a difficult, at times overwhelming, but not uncommon task; struggling with how to best help a gifted child with both ADHD and bipolar disorder. The answers you request vary greatly by individual need. However, a few general suggestions include: 1) Find an experienced physician in whom you feel you can place trust, one who has cared for many such young people and is able to show that s/he has great empathy for them as well. 2) In general, bipolar symptoms should be under control before trying to tackle ADHD symptoms. But keep in mind that it is sometimes hard to tell which symptoms are from which disorder (some symptoms can look quite similar until seen over time). 3)Contact your local CHADD and try to find support groups for both you and your son if he is old enough. 4)Hallowell and Ratey`s book Driven To Distraction : Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood Through Adulthood. Also, I can`t tell if this is part of the concern, but a superb book is The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, `Chronically Inflexible` Children by Ross W. Greene. My thoughts and hopes go with you and all parents who feel the love, pain and gifts of raising these extraordinary children.

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Response by:

Susan Louisa Montauk, MD
Formerly Professor of Family Medicine
University of Cincinnati