There is no cure for ADHD and children with ADHD will carry their condition on into adulthood. While adults do learn to cope with their disorder and can often cover it, symptoms are still present, particularly when certain situations are unavoidable, like loud or distracting places.
Treatment during both childhood and adulthood can help decrease ADHD symptoms. This can help increase social, academic, and employment functionality. With other treatment options like counseling, children who have ADHD can grow into successful adults that understand their condtion.
What is Guanfacine?Guanfacine, also known as Tenex and Intuniv, is a norepinephrine receptor subtype. Its chemical make-up can help to improve attention problems in individuals with ADHD by modulating specific receptors in the brain. However, this is not the primary use of Guanfacine.
Originally, Guanfacine was manufactured and marketed as a cardiovascular drug that helped to lower cholesterol in patients that have hypertension. It has helped patients manage their high cholesterol in both short term and long term studies.
The lack of a stimulant quickly made Guanfacine a popular choice among some parents and individuals for the treatment of ADHD. Because stimulants are very addictive and can be easily abused, many parents and individuals are hesitant to use them for the treatment of ADHD, despite the fact that they are often safe and effective for ADHD sufferers.
Benefits to Using Guanfacine for ADHDGuanfacine actually strengthens the prefrontal cortical network connections, which helps to regulate behavior and attention span. It can help patients sleep better at night, which is a common side-effect experienced with ADHD stimulant medications. In animal testing, Guanfacine seemed to decrease distractibility, improve response inhibition, improve working memory, and increase attention control. These benefits have also been observed in humans that have used the drug to treat ADHD. The drug has also been shown to work as an effective treatment for other psychiatric disorders, such as PTSD and anxiety.
Guanfacine Side EffectsJust like most drugs, there are some side-effects that can accompany ADHD treatment with Guanfacine. The most common symptoms experienced by those taking Guanfacine were drowsiness, gas pain, loss of appetite, dizziness, headache, depression, diarrhea, fatigue, and nasal congestion. These symptoms are often mild to moderate.
Rare side-effect can include more serious conditions like shortness of breath, chest pains, blurred vision, swelling in the hands or feet, skin rash, or yellowing of the skin or eyes. These conditions should be discussed immediately with your doctor if they occur.
Other side effects that can take place include tingling in the hands or feet, impotence, vision changes, ringing in the ears, mental and mood changes, dry mouth, decreased sexual desire, changes in taste, and leg cramps. Tachycardia or bradycardia can also occur in some patients, particularly those that have certain cardiovascular conditions. If any cardiovascular symptoms are experienced, it is important to talk to your doctor immediately.
When Guanfacine Isn’t EnoughIn some cases, Guanfacine is not enough for proper treatment of ADHD. It must be paired with a stimulant to help increase the efficacy. It should also be noted that the medication should be paired with other forms of non-medication treatment. Counseling or similar types of treatment can help a child cope with their disorder and learn how to deal with their condition in the future.
Exercise can also help with ADHD treatment. In the brain of a person with ADHD, dopamine levels, a chemical in the brain, is lower than that of a person without ADHD. Exercise helps to increase this chemical, helping the individual naturally decrease their ADHD symptoms.
Diet may also play a role in ADHD treatment. In some studies, certain foods have shown that that they may help decrease or cause an increase in ADHD symptoms. If you think that diet could play a part in your ADHD treatment, discuss diet options with your physician.