There has been an uptick in calls to poison control centers due to intentional or unintentional use of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medications. This, according to new research published in the Journal Pediatrics. The most common calls concerned children under the age of 12 who took either too much of the prescribed stimulant medication or too soon in between doses.
“Stimulants are not benign medicines. They’re controlled and regulated by the FDA and part of that reason is that they have cardiovascular risk,” said Dr. Sibel Algon, an adolescent psychiatrist at Bradley Hospital.
She says over medicating is a problem because parents don’t always keep track of when they’re administering these medicines.
“I would suggest parents come up with a system; could be a seven day pill box that you fill,” said Algon.
And if you simply can’t remember, err on the side of caution.
“With ADHD, this is not a medicine that needs to be taken every day,” said Algon. “No harm will come. In fact, there may be benefits to the brain to having a little break from having dopamine from a pill source.”
Here’s something else she wants you to know:
“Not everything that moves a lot, not everything that’s inattentive is ADHD.”
That’s because other things may be causing the symptoms: sleep problems, blood sugar levels, nutrition deficiencies–and even a thyroid disorder.
“Parents usually have a gut reaction,” said Algon.” I think we need to listen to those more often than we do,:
A neuropsychological evaluation can help confirm a diagnosis.
“Not everybody needs to take medicine,” said Algon. “People may need medication at one point in their life and then they figure out tools so that they don’t need the medicine anymore.”
“There’s a lot of positives to ADHD that we don’t often focus on.”
“Having a lot of energy doesn’t always have to be a bad thing if you can figure out how to use it. and then I think there’s a lot of skills that can be built, so learning how to organize, learning checks and balances.”