CDC urges parents to try therapy before ADHD medication

(Photo Supplied/Indiana News Service)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WOWO): The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging parents of preschoolers with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to try behavior therapy first before trying drugs.

The CDC also is asking insurance companies to cover the cost of treatment.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, CDC’s principal deputy director, says long-term effects of drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin on young brains and bodies haven’t had a lot of study.

“Behavior therapy has been shown to help improve symptoms in young children with ADHD and can be as effective as medicine, but without the side effects,” she says.

Those side effects include irritability and difficulty sleeping. They also can curb hunger, which can stunt growth.

More than 6 million U.S. children have been diagnosed with ADHD and a new report out by the CDC shows 75 percent of those children between the ages of 2 and 5 already are taking medication for it.

The report has guidelines for parents and health care providers to try therapy first.

Not all private health insurance companies will cover behavioral therapy, but Medicaid typically does.

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