To Medicate Or Not To Medicate – ADHD

Is medication for the treatment of ADHD for everyone? Absolutely not! A proper diagnosis by a medical doctor is always the best first step but it’s unfortunate how many times well-intended people (teachers, relatives, etc.,) weigh in with their opinions.

The problem is they are not qualified to make this recommendation.

Organic Hyperactivity is a medical disorder, hence a medical doctor is the only one to make the diagnosis and develop a treatment plan which may include a drug trial.

The Medical Care Part

  • Find a qualified medical doctor to diagnose and treat your child.
  • If medication is prescribed, a monitoring system under the supervision of the doctor is critical.
  • Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security about possible “side effects”. All medication have effects – some are beneficial, others are harmful and dangerous.
  • Your doctor should clearly explain any possible effects, and encourage you or your child to report any change no matter how insignificant it may seem.
  • Some teens feel powerless and not in control when they feel they must rely on medication. The psychology of taking medication needs to be taken seriously. A child should never be forced to take medication. Find a doctor who is sensitive and responsive to this aspect of the treatment.

The Health Care Part

  • Send messages of encouragement to your child such as: “The pill will improve your ability to focus but it’s you and your thinking which does the learning and study – you’re in charge!”
  • Healthy learning habits will make a huge difference to academic success. Consider hiring a trained tutor or enrolling your child in a school with trained and experienced teachers to focus on Study Skills, Organization; and Executive Function Learning.
  • Proper sleep habits
  • Reinforce this message: “Learning Skills can be taught. Therefore, Learning Skills can be learned. You can learn!”
  • Incorporate planning & activities in the “big 3” of health care:
  • Consider short term therapy or counseling to address stress build up, anxiety, and other negative emotions which often accompany ADHD.
  • Exercise & fitness
  • Good eating habits.

Michael I. Shoore, B.Sc., M.Ed., is the Director and Founder of the Shoore Centre for Learning, a private High School in Toronto for teens with LD, ADD, and ADHD. For further information call 416-781-4754 or visit

About Michael Shoore

Michael Shoore is the director and founder of the Shoore Centre for Learning, a private school for students with special learning needs. Prior to establishing The Shoore Centre in 1980, he was based in Montreal as senior educator at the Douglas Hospital’s psycho-education unit.

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