While carefully controlled clinical trials are essential for establishing scientific support for different ADHD treatments, it is also important to examine how parents feel about the treatments they actually select for their child.
How parents feel about ADHD treatments they have tried for their child provides an important complement to published clinical trials data, and can also help guide parents’ treatment choices.
Results from a survey conducted by ADDitude Magazine of nearly 2500 parents provides helpful data on this question. In this survey, parents were asked about how helpful they had found the treatment strategies they were using currently, or had used in the past.
Despite making up just 3% of treatments in the survey, Neurofeedback Therapy was in the top 5 for most effective treatments.
Another important point made in the study was that although medication is widely regarded as the ADHD treatment with the strongest research support, only a minority of parents felt it was very effective for their child. And, 26% of parents felt it was not effective. This highlights the limitations of even well-researched treatments for ADHD.
Summary and Implications
Results from this survey complement evidence from clinical trials of ADHD treatment by indicating how parents feel about the different treatments they try.
While it is discouraging that no treatment was felt to be very effective by most parents, it is encouraging that multiple treatments were reported to work well by some parents. The challenge thus remains to find a treatment approach — or combination of treatments — that is most effective for individual children. That is not easy and is highlighted in this quote from one of the survey participants:
“It is overwhelming at times to try to do all of these treatments,” wrote one caregiver. “I feel parents are on their own… We would have benefited from an interdisciplinary team including pediatrician, therapist, and teacher meeting once a year at least and have someone coordinate with us throughout the year to check-in.”
Limitations of ADHD Studies
Several limitations to this type of study should be noted.
First, this is not a nationally representative sample of parents but a convenience sample of parents who chose to complete the survey. The extent to which their experience generalizes to all parents of children with ADHD is not known.
Another challenge is that it is not possible to know the details of the treatments actually provided. A benefit of controlled clinical trials is that the treatment is clearly specified, i.e., you know with confidence what treatment actually entailed.
That is not true for a study like this. For example, results indicate that 49% of parents felt exercise was effective for their child. What exercise-based interventions included is unknown, however, and would almost certainly be highly variable across children. The same would be true for any of the treatments that were rated.
A final issue is that parents’ reports about the effectiveness of their child’s treatment may be biased, as parents who devote time and money to a particular treatment may be inclined to view it as effective, even if ‘more objective’ outcome data would not support this. This is why clinical trials go to great lengths to obtain outcome information from individuals who are ‘blind’ as to whether study participants are in a treatment or control group.
While this is an important concern, discounting parents’ perceptions of treatment response is problematic given their intimate knowledge of their child. And, because no treatment was rated as very effective by most parents, it is not the case that parents are biased towards seeing anything they try as beneficial.
The conclusions of this study show that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution for ADHD symptoms. These conclusions also show that Neurofeedback Therapy is an effective treatment option for those who opt to look into it.
Here at Neurohealth Associates, we specialize in Neurofeedback treatments. Neurofeedback can help deal with a multitude of ADHD symptoms. The easy, noninvasive treatment can painlessly improve your mental health condition and outlook on life.
Schedule a consultation with NeuroHealth today and find out how we can help you.Tags: adhd, attention deficit, behavior, brain health, health, kids, mental health, neurofeedback, parenting, self improvement