NICE guidelines recommend a combination of pharmaceutical and non-pharmacological treatment.
There are a wide range of non-pharmacological treatments available for ADHD.
Psychoeducation, which helps individuals make sense of their symptoms and how they respond to specific situations is often very helpful. Good quality peer support and online resources can also be of great help.
For children: Behavioural intervention focused on environmental modifications is the most helpful. It provides teachers and parents with strategies to help the child (such as a group based parenting programs, one to one behavioural therapy or coaching).
For teenagers: Direct intervention based on CBT principles and interventions targeting academic support are considered preferable (such as reasonable adjustments at school).
For adults: CBT and organisation and planning support with everyday issues can be really beneficial (such as an online app)
Unfortunately, there is huge variability in the level of non-pharmacological support available in the UK, leading to a postcode lottery in terms of access to help.
This video explains some of the behavioural interventions for children such as parenting program.
So in terms of non-pharmacological approaches that might be helpful for parents of children with ADHD, there are lots of different parenting programs out there and we would certainly encourage parents to seek some help and support with their parenting. It’s very important to remember that you need to parent a child with ADHD differently to children without ADHD. So when we recommend parents engage in parenting programs we are not asking them to do that because we think there is something fundamentally wrong with their parenting because most of these parents parent their non ADHD children very well, it’s just that you need to parent differently for a child with ADHD and it’s usually too difficult for the parent to work that out for themselves so we strongly encourage that they access some expert help and support to help them find strategies that would also allow them to parent just as effectively for their child with ADHD as they usually do for their children without ADHD.
Usually parenting programs can either be individually or group delivered, they are usually for a fixed number of sessions between 8 and 12 sessions and they usually introduce parents to different ways of thinking about how they can relate to their child, they focus quite often on relationship building, on effective communication, on the use of praise and on strategies to manage unwanted behaviours, such as how to manage aggressive behaviour, how to manage non-compliance, how to encourage and motivate children to fit in better into the family and also perhaps to engage better at school.