The first step is talking to your doctor. The goal of treatment is to help him do well but minimize any side effects. There are always other options. Here is my take on "the ADHD controversy"...
There is clearly research showing that treating children early will improve their long term outcomes. However, you have to be careful. If there is any history of addiction in the family, you may want to consider non-stimulant medications. Some research shows that treating children early will prevent them from self-medicating later on with illegal drugs and developing an addiction. However, I have also seen some patients in whom the prescribed stimulant was the 1st addiction they got.
In addition, if there is any family history of bipolar, get your son evaluated by a qualified child psychiatrist. Bipolar and ADHD can look alike in children. Stimulants can make bipolar worse which is why it's vital to have him properly evaluated.
Also treat him holistically: nutrition & exercise are vital. There is more research showing that psychotherapy (particularly cognitive behavioral therapy) can also decrease ADHD symptoms. There is also more and more studies showing how formal relaxation therapy (books or classes on yoga, tai chi, meditation, etc.) can help not only decrease his ADHD, but improve his overall mental & physical health over the years.
I hope this helps. Good luck & take care.
Let me know if you have still have other questions.
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