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Dr. Kaushik
Dr. Kaushik, Psychiatrist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  MD Psychiatry
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Is ADD a common diagnosis for children of 17-18 years old?

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Is ADD a common diagnosis for children of 17-18 years old? And what are the steps involved in deciding to go ahead with treatment - what drugs are generally prescribed? And how is the child followed and the treatment assessed?
Hi there,

Welcome to Just answer !

Well usually children younger than 17- 18 yrs are commonly diagnosed with ADD /ADHD , reason being their underlying condition interfering with their school performance and also with their interpersonal and social life with significant others and peers right from the onset of condition that happens commonly under 10 yrs of age.

You see arond 3-5 % childrenin school are approximately affected by this condition which means that this is a common condition to occur in children , but more commonly diagnosed much before 17-18 yrs of age.

The steps involved to manage this condition are mentioned below..

1) To get the diagnosis confirmed from a child psychiatrist who shall use ICD 10 diagnostic criterias to come to a conclusion about this condition. ICD 10 , is rhe tenth revision of INTERATIONAL CLASSIFICATION OF DISEASES , which is guidelines accepted worldwide used for diagnosing various conditions, including ADD.

2) Upon comfirmation of ADD/ADHD , the psychiatrist will then start your son on a psychostimulant drug which forms the main treatment to treat ADD,and some of the commonly used and accepted psychostimulants are--

1) Ritalin ( methylphenidate -- generic ) at dose of 5-60 mg / day

2) Concerta ( extended release methylphenidate ) at dose of 27- 54 mg / day

3) Adderall xr ( extended relase mixed amphetamine salts ) at dose of 10-30 mg / day

4) Modafinil / provigil at dose of 100-300 mg / day.

So any one of the above mentioned psychostimulant shall be chosen by the psychiatrist and your, son shall be started on it . The chosen psychostimulant will ensure drastic and much appreciated improvement in his ADD SYMPTOMS , but initially for 2-3 weeks you and your son shall have to maintain patience since this period will be required by the chosen psychostimulant to reach to it's steady state in the blood for it to start acting to it's full potential.

3) Folow up with the psychiatrist shall be maintain as per his discretion , usually weekly follow ups are there for the 1st month followed by once in 2 week follow up for the 2nd month and monthly follow up from 3rd month onwards..

I hope this helps you to give you assurance about your son's chances of recovery from ADD besides providing you a sense of direction to move in.

Wish you all the best and pray for rapid recovery and maintenance of your son.

Please kindly leave a Positive rating if you are satisfied with the answer as only then will i be credited for my service.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hello, Thanks for your answer, which is helpful but some things are missing.

1. Is this a common treatment for late adolescents? - my son is 17 years old and this has never been suggested earlier.

2. What are the evaluation, pre-treatment recommendations that I should receive before making a decision?

3. What might be the side effects of such a treatment?

4. I understand that amphetamines in particular are addictive.

a. Does this mean that my son will be addicted to these drugs?

5. How long does a typical treatment last?

6. Is psychotherapy a continuing condition of treatment - that is to say, will treatment stop if psychotherapy stops?

Thanks for responding to these questions.

Answers to your questions..

1) Yes ofcourse this is the most effective and valued treatment option for ADD. I am equally surprised to notice that this was never suggested , may be you never had the opportunity to go to the specialist who deals with ADD , who is a child psychiatrist.

2) The decision of starting on the treatment will be mutual with a consensus reached between the taker that would be and your son and the child psychiatrist. The psychiatrist will start carrying out detailed interviews with your son and you , possibly using ICD 10 guidelines for diagnosis and then come to a conclusive diagnosis to rule in or rule out ADD. Once the ADD is confirmed he shall explain to you the options which he can offer in terms of treatment of the condition which shall entail all these mentioned drug options. The decision on which drug will be made after your and your son's consent to start on the same.

3) Well as such there are not any major side effects , but yes some common initial side effects are -- nausea, dizzy spells , insomnia , headache , which usually subside in a week or two once the drug gets adjusted within the body system.

4) Well amphetamines are addictive only if they are used callously adn unsupervised , but here you may act as guide to your son's mdrug regime and regulate the drug intake.So i do not think this will be a problem.

5) No your son will not be addicted to the drugs , just come to think of it , ADD is so common and almost all the effected kids and adults use these drugs but the ratio of their dependence on this drug regime is not so common, please do not worry about that and take the extra effort to supervise his intake of drug , which anyways will be taken before leaving to school in the morning.

6) Atleast 6 months

7) No, psychotherapy is a different mode of treatment and it's start and stop is not connected with the drug treatment. Actually tell you a fact , it may so happen as it usually happens in almost all cases of ADD , that there is an inherent deficit of neurotransmitter chemicals in the brain like dopamine , which can only be fulfilled by intake of above mentined drug , psychotherapy has no ability whatsoever to compensate for the deficiency of brain chemical. So psychotherapy shall be continued or decided to be stopped irrespective of this drug treatment.

I hope this helps.

Wish you all the best .

Please kindly leave a Positive rating if you are satisfied with the answer as only then will i be credited for my service.


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