This week, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) announced the creation and launch of a new area of their website: NAMI.org/ADHD. Devoted specifically to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the new project is being promoted by NAMI as an “interactive online resource center to support children and adults living with” ADHD. In contrast to many other online “resources,” NAMI’s site does more than simply list symptoms (which encourage people to self-diagnose rather than meeting with a trained therapist or other mental/behavioral health professional). Instead, NAMI encourages people who recognize symptoms in themselves or their children to meet with a trained professional and address the person’s personality traits more thoroughly.
In addition to symptoms and explanations of ADHD, the NAMI site provides a range of tips and suggestions on how to manage symptoms of ADHD at home, work, and school. These include tactics that adults with attention issues can use to keep themselves on task at work and in their personal lives. A video series of “fireside chats” draws on psychiatrists who specialize in ADHD, and a number of personal stories highlight how different individuals and families have decided to handle a diagnosis.
However, most promising is the “treatment” area of the website. Too often, parents whose children are high-energy want a quick diagnosis and a prescription. But NAMI consistently emphasizes the importance of individualized treatment: assessing the unique needs of anyone seen by a therapist for potential ADHD. This means working out an individualized treatment plan that combines more than one element of care, not medication alone. For children, this may be accompanied by an individualized educational plan (IEP) that provides a tweaked environment more conducive to that child’s educational success. Medication alone is not nearly as effective as a tailored combination of treatment that includes therapy along with any medication that may be chosen.
© Copyright 2010 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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