Taarika Foundation (TF): Hello everyone, and welcome to Mindful. Beautiful, and Thriving. Today’s podcast is about the treatment of ADHD. With us is Doctor Leena Khanzode, a child psychiatrist in private practice in the Bay Area. She is also an adjunct clinical faculty member at Stanford University.
TF: Hi Dr. Leena! Thanks for being with us today.
What is ADHD? How common is it?
Dr. Leena Khanzode (DLK): ADHD stands for “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.” We classify it as if somebody has ADHD predominantly inattentive type, they have symptoms that are related to low attention. ADHD predominantly hyperactive type is when people are really hyper and fidgety, they have impulse control. In general, girls have the inattentive type and boys have the hyperactive type. It is extremely common, 1 in 7 kids have ADHD. It is a neuropsychiatric condition. This can run in families, this means that you can be born with a differently wired brain which can give you ADHD. Some people tend to outgrow ADHD but some people also have to stay on meds that help them with it for the rest of their life.
Is there more than one way to treat ADHD, and if so can you tell us a few of them?
DLK: ADHD is treated in a more holistic way. There are three domains of intervention. Biological intervention is when medicine comes into play, psychological intervention when therapy comes in, and social intervention where we look at school and home. We understand that ADHD affects the child’s life everywhere, not only in school. A combination approach works best, using both medicine and working on changing habits. ADHD makes kids feel like they are the problem child.
Does the type of treatment a person gets depend on the level of ADHD that they have?
DLK: Yes, it does change with the level of severity. If someone has mild ADHD, then we would often avoid medication. If someone has severe ADHD, we use medication, aids at school, and tools that help the person to study and focus.
Which way of treating ADHD is the most effective?
DLK: A combination of Bio/Psycho Intervention. Having tutors to work with and aids in school work best and sometimes we can avoid medication. Sometimes a lot of classes can be hard for even a bright kid to support and in these instances is when we would use medicine to help the kid focus. Medicine used to combat ADHD is called stimulants. These stimulants release dopamine which helps our brain to be alert and to focus on one subject for longer. These stimulants can work from 8 to 10 hours. There are other types of medication called non-stimulants. These medicines take weeks to build up in your system but unlike stimulants, these medicines work 24/7 because they are working to combat your ADHD. Non-stimulants take time to build, but long-term they will work to help you focus. Both of these types of medications are very effective.
To treat ADHD, does the person getting the treatment have to put their own effort along with the medicine?
DLK: You need to actively try to focus. Even though medicine does a lot of work, a lot of the work comes from the motivation of the person trying to focus and trying to finish all the things that they have to do.
Can someone outgrow ADHD? How does that happen?
DLK: Yes, someone can outgrow ADHD. There was a study that was done following kids with ADHD for 10+ years and they found that ⅓ of these kids were able to outgrow ADHD.
Why is it important to treat ADHD and what would happen if someone left it untreated?
DLK: It is important to treat ADHD because kids develop anxiety as they are not doing well in school and they are constantly getting in trouble. This anxiety can lead to other mental disorders such as depression. A lot of teens are prone to abuse substances due to their lack of impulse control. Treating ADHD is important because the consequences of not treating it can be very detrimental.
TF: Today, we interviewed Leena Khanzode, A child psychiatrist, an Adjunct Clinical Faculty at Stanford. We learned a lot about the treatment of ADHD and how the person getting the treatment has to put effort into it. Again, special thanks to Leena Khanzode for helping us with this podcast. This is the Taarika Foundation, and you are listening to Mindful, Beautiful, and Thriving. Be sure to stay safe and stay home.