Medication can Help ADHD Adults Improve Parenting Skills, Study


Parenting skills of adults suffering from ADHD can be enhanced with medication, according to a new study by the Penn State College of Medicine.

"Parents with ADHD are at increased risk to engage in problematic parenting techniques, including inconsistent disciplinary practices, making ineffectual commands and diminished use of praise," said James Waxmonsky, associate professor of psychiatry, in a press release. "Having a parent with ADHD also decreases the chances that children with ADHD will respond to typically effective medication or counseling treatment."

For the study, researchers surveyed 20 parents of children aged between 5 to 12 years, in which both the parents had ADHD. They examined parents to determine their optimal dosage of lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse).

In the first phase of the study, parents and children were involved in typical parenting tasks that included a homework component and a non-academic portion. In the homework task, parents helped children to complete schoolwork, while the family played together in the non-academic task. Then, the parents completed some questionnaires.

During these tasks, parents either received lisdexamfetamine or a placebo.

At the end of the first phase, researchers found that parents on lisdexamfetamine were less likely to make negative statements toward their children during the non-academic component. Children displayed less inappropriate behavior during the homework task when their parents received lisdexamfetamine.

In the second phase, parents had a 50 percent chance of remaining on active medication or a 50 percent chance of being switched to placebo for the remainder of the study. They completed the same parent-child interaction tasks as in the first phase.

Here, the researchers found that parents on lisdexamfetamine delivered fewer instructions, responded more frequently to their children and praised their child more often than those on placebo. Parents on lisdexamfetamine spoke less than parents on placebo, during the homework task. They were less dominant than those on placebo during the non-academic task. Plus, children of parents on lisdexamfetamine engaged in fewer inappropriate behaviors during the homework task.

"In the laboratory setting, lisdexamfetamine treatment of parental ADHD was associated with significant reductions in children's negative behaviors and improvements in parenting behaviors found to be adversely impacted by ADHD," Waxmonsky said.

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