I have several questions regarding treatment options for adults with PDD and ADHD. My brother was diagnosed with PDD-NOS and ADHD when he was five years old. He did not receive pharmacologic interventions, but received intensive Occupational, Physical, and Speech Therapy. He is now 24 years old, and has done incredibly well. He currently attends college at the Art Institute of California in San Francisco. He does, however, continue to struggle with communication, organization, and initiating tasks. He also requires special services in college to help him with handling his coursework.
My father was listening to a report the other day which mentioned new pharmacologic treatments for adults with ADHD. After listening to the report, my dad was hopeful that some of the recent pharmacologic interventions could help my brother as an adult with ADHD and PDD.
My questions are as follows:
(1) Are there any pharmacologic treatments available for adults with PDD and ADHD?
(2) If there are pharmacologic treatments available, what are the side-effects to these treatments?
(3) If pharmacologic interventions are not appropriate or unavailable, what types of interventions would be best for adults with PDD?
Your best bet is to consult a psychiatrist regarding which psychotropics could be of benefit to your brother. In broad terms, stimulant medications (such as adderall) frequently reduce the severity of symptoms of ADHD. These medications have been studied for decades, and established as a generally safe and effective means of managing symptoms. However, stimulants are far from perfect. Many times people have to try more than one stimulant to find one that works well and has tolerable side effects. A psychiatrist can help you decide if medication is indicated.
Some individuals with PDD or autistic spectrum disorders can receive benefit from antidepressants to ease anxiety and rumination, while others may find that drugs such as risperdal make it easier to think clearly. Medications are an exciting option, but most studies indicate that a combined approach of both psychotherapy and medication offers the best chance of long term benefit. A psychologist or other mental health professional can help your brother learn strategies for coping with the transition to an appropriate level of independence.
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