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BellaOnline's Attention Deficit Disorder Editor


ADD Medication Improves Parenting Skills

Do you know a parent who has Attention Deficit Disorder? Attention Deficit Disorder can have profound impacts on the whole family on a daily basis. Here's a small example. If a child has ADD, he might not bring a permission slip from school for a field trip. If by some miracle the slip makes it home, the parent with ADD will probably put off signing it. Then, the permission slip will be misplaced. After it is ultimately found (or the teacher sends another one) and signed, the slip might not make it back to school. Finally, the child is left behind, if the teacher wants to "teach him about real life." If he has an understanding teacher, one more emergency phone call is made to the home and the parent rushes to the school to sign a replacement permission slip. Either way, members of the family are left feeling ineffectual and irritated.

Parenting kids with Attention Deficit Disorder can be a tough job, especially if the parent also has ADD. A new study from the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center states that "Parenting skills improve in ADHD parents with medication." This small study researched the effects of using the medication called lisdexamfetamine ( brand name Vyvanse) on twenty parents of children who have Attention Deficit Disorder.

Lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse), is a stimulant medication used to treat the negative symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder. The drug was FDA approved in February of 2007. It helps to control impulsivity and can be prescribed for patients ages 6 and older. This drug has been approved for maintenance of ADD/ADHD symptoms for all ages. Lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse) is not indicated for treatment of people who are:
*taking Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs),
*pregnant or breastfeeding,
*having heart problems,
*being treated for high blood pressure or glaucoma.

The research model from the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center using lisdexamfetamine was completed in two stages. The children, who ranged from 5 to 12-years-old, completed a homework task and a non-academic task with their parents, both of whom had Attention Deficit Disorder. These were standardized tasks, meaning all parents did the same sorts of tasks with their children. For one of the tasks the parents were given either the drug or a placebo. In the second task, the parent was given the reverse choice. Then during the second phase of the research protocol, a parent had a 50/50 chance of getting the placebo or the lisdexamfetamine. Whichever choice was drawn was continued throughout the entire second phase.

Overall, what was shown was that parents who took the lisdexamfetamine used better parenting skills while on the drug. Children who interacted with parents who were taking lisdexamfetamine had more positive behaviors. Continuous treatment over time with the lisdexamfetamine helped to improve parenting skills in the laboratory setting.

Researchers observed these behaviors in the parents who were taking lisdexamfetamine:
*They used fewer negative comments.
*Parents made fewer demanding statements.
*The parents used more praise.
*They showed more responsiveness toward their children.

Children who interacted with parents on lisdexamfetamine showed reductions in negative behaviors.

When you consider that the researchers found that about one-quarter of the children who have ADD also have parents who have Attention Deficit Disorder, it is important to help those parents deal with the symptoms of ADD that could negatively impact their parenting. When people are able to effectively parent their children, those children have a better chance of having successful outcomes in all areas of their lives. The converse is also true. More studies need to be completed to see if these results can be replicated outside of a laboratory setting.


Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. (2014, July 30). Parenting skills improve in ADHD parents with medication. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 7, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140730093520.htm

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Content copyright © 2015 by Connie Mistler Davidson. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Connie Mistler Davidson. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Connie Mistler Davidson for details.


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