How Do I Talk to My Teenager about ADHD Medications?
My son was diagnosed with ADHD when he was six. It was easy to keep track of his medications when he was young, but now he's a teenager and on his own a lot more. I want to make sure he understands the importance of taking, and keeping track of, his medicine, but I'm not sure how to approach the topic. How do I talk with my teenager about being careful with his ADHD medications?
It's important to talk openly with teenagers about ADHD. They need to feel that they are a part of the process of learning about this disorder and finding the best treatment for them. Listen carefully to their ideas and concerns, and include them in decisions regarding treatment.
One potential issue is that stimulants that are used to treat ADHD are a popular drug of abuse for teenagers. Teenagers with ADHD are less likely to abuse stimulants and other drugs, perhaps because they understand that stimulants are medications that help with their symptoms.
Be sure your teen understands that ADHD is a medical condition that is treated by a medication that was chosen specifically for his or her symptoms and schedule. Teens also need to be careful to not allow others access to their medication. Other kids may not understand that this medication is necessary for your child's health.
Making sure your teen understands this is the first step in ensuring that they take their medication as prescribed and not be tempted to share it.
Any medication can be harmful, especially if taken inappropriately (for example, in large doses or by someone who doesn't need it). It is actually against the law to have or take a prescription stimulant if you do not have a prescription for it. If you are concerned about your teen's medication, switching to a once-daily dose taken in the morning may help decrease the chance that the medicine will be used inappropriately.
(For more information about teenagers and ADHD, see Teens With ADHD.)