While African-American children are not receiving medication for their diagnosed ADHD, it appears as if their parents are more likely to opt for psychotherapy, according to a recent study published in Pediatrics. However, psychotherapy treatments are sometimes inconsistent.
According to the study, conducted by Janet Cummings, PhD and her team, African-American youth with ADHD were likely to receive psychotherapy than white children diagnosed with the disorder.
That being said, African-American youth were less likely to have adequate follow-up visits with medical professionals to manage their ailment.
The study noted that many parents are not seeing an immediate benefit or noticing side effects that cause them to discontinue their child’s medication. Parents are encouraged to do their research. Some parents choose alternate ways to combat ADHD symptoms, such as medication or activities that encourage concentration – like karate, and some choose to stop treatment because of the side effects. Still, there are a small group of parents who avoid medication out of fear or misinformation.
According to Board Certified Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Dr. Erikka Dzirassa, there is a greater stigma associated with mental illness in the Black community, often causing parents to make assumptions and not trust medical professionals. There is also evidence that the disorder is being underdiagnosed in the community. A 2013 study found African-American children were less likely to be diagnosed with ADHD compared to otherwise identical white children.
Parents should be aware of ADHD warning signs and advocate for their children. They are also encouraged to maintain treatment once a diagnosis is given. If they decide not to provide medication, it is imperative for their children to remain in therapy.
Read more at NBC News.