In a ground breaking study for the National Institute of Mental Health, researchers have found no difference between the effectiveness of ADHD medication when compared to behavioral therapy or combined drug and behavioral therapy. In earlier stages of the study, ADHD medication had a clear advantage but over time the advantages of medication were lost.
The study started with around six hundred children who were randomly split between four groups: Medication, Behavioral Therapy, Medication & Behavioral Therapy, or no treatment. For the next 14 months the children followed the treatment plan supplied by the researchers. Then, for the next two years parents were able to chose how to treat their children.
“It’s quite clear that each of these treatments is better than no treatment at all,” said lead study author Peter Jensen, director of Columbia University’s Center for the Advancement of Children’s Mental Health.
Its not clear why medication started so strongly as the best treatment but faded over time. Its possibly due to an age-related decline in ADHD symptoms, changes in medication management intensity, starting or stopping medications altogether, or a number of other factors.