MEDICAL Q & A
Ask Doctor Silver
You have questions, our expert has answers.
IS BRAIN IMAGING A GOOD
Can brain imaging help in diagnosing my
daughter? We think she has ADHD, and the
doctor recommended an MRI. Does this
sion. However, if he has ADHD and clinical depression, it
might be necessary to treat each separately.
ARE LONGER-LASTING MEDS BETTER?
What are the benefits of extended-release
ADHD medication? An adult friend is tak-
ing it, and it helps him focus during the day.
No, it doesn’t. An MRI won’t help your doctor diagnose
ADHD. At this time, we do not have firm evidence as to
the precise areas of the brain that cause ADHD behaviors.
ADHD is diagnosed clinically. A professional talks
with your daughter, you and your husband, and teachers,
and tries to determine the following: Does your daughter
show behaviors that suggest that she is hyperactive, inattentive, has difficulty with organization, or is impulsive?
If so, does the history of these problems suggest that they
are chronic (have been noted since early childhood) and
pervasive (occur at home, in school, with peers, in activities). You should educate your daughter’s physician
about diagnosing ADHD or find another practitioner.
The short-acting forms of ADHD medication give coverage for about four hours. If a longer period of coverage
is needed, a person would need a dose every four hours.
The main benefit of long-acting (extended-release)
medication is that it lasts eight hours.
If a school-aged child takes a short-acting tablet in the
morning, he or she will have to take another dose around
noon. This usually means going to the nurse’s office. A
long-acting medication will cover the full school day. Remember, though, that a child or an adult may still need
a short-acting dose after school or while finishing up at
work to cover the early evening time at home.
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PUT THE BRAKES ON BAD DRIVING
My 17-year-old daughter, who has ADHD,
got a speeding ticket this weekend. Can I
help her drive more safely?
Her problems with driving might be due to being a teen,
not her ADHD. However, we do know that many people
with ADHD have difficulty driving safely. Impulsivity
causes them to act before they think. Others have problems because they are distracted by things they see or
hear while behind the wheel.
If you daughter is less impulsive and more attentive
when she is on medication, she needs to take it whenever
she drives. Your daughter might also benefit from some
extra time with a driving instructor. He could help her
pay closer attention to the road.
WHY SO ANGRY?
I am a 32-year-old adult who was diagnosed with ADHD eight years ago. I can
manage some of my symptoms at work
through medication, but I still have uncontrolled anger outside of work. Help!
Your problem with anger control is separate from your
ADHD, and should be addressed on its own. Your first
step is to work with a mental health professional to understand your anger problem. Once it is understood, efforts can be started to manage it. One thing to explore
is why you can manage anger at work but not outside of
it. Behavioral therapy approaches are often successful.
Medication may help you decrease your anger or increase your anger control.
DEPRESSION AND ADHD
My 10-year-old son has been diagnosed
with ADHD and depression. Will his ADHD
medication help him manage depression,
or does he need an additional med?
If his depression results from frustration with school
or social and family difficulties, his ADHD medication
should reduce these challenges and lessen his depres-
TIME IS NOT ON MY SIDE
Why do ADDers have a poor sense
Many individuals with ADHD have executive function
difficulties. One aspect of these is a poor sense of time
and time management. If this is the case, working with
an ADHD coach may help you develop strategies to manage time better.