New guidlines for ADHD in children

October 17, 2011 1:53:04 PM PDT
There are new guidelines from The American Academy of Pediatrics that say ADHD can be diagnosed in kids as young as 4-years old.

The new guidelines make it possible to diagnose and manage attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder in children from ages 4 to 18. Previous guidelines covered children 6 to 12.

Some doctors believe the new guidelines will allow more parents to get the help they need for their child.

"Now that the age is 4-years-old, parents who've been struggling with their children's behavior, who have dysfunctional behavior, they're getting kicked out of pre-schools, they're asked not to return to daycare centers because their behavior is so disruptive now they have an avenue of treatment and of care," said Dr. Mike Manos with the Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital.

And when it comes to treatment and care the new guidelines recommend both medications and behavior therapy for elementary school children and adolescents.

But for pre-school children, it's recommended that doctors first try only behavioral interventions, such as group, or individual parent training.

If symptoms still last for more than 9 months, then medications should be considered.

That is creating some controversy.

Because many of the medications for ADHD are not approved for children under 6.

Some experts are questioning if it's safe to use medications for kids that young.

Once any medication is FDA approved, doctors are able to use it for anyone, it's called off-label use of a drug.