Treating ADHD

How do know you if you have ADHD?

You may be the one to notice that you are bothered by something or are having problems, but it may also be your parents or teachers at school who notice this. The first action often taken is visiting a general practitioner or the Youth Care Agency (Bureau Jeugdzorg). If they think that you might have ADHD, you will be referred to a psychologist and/or psychiatrist. By conducting interviews and tests, they will examine where your problems come from and how you can be helped. It is possible that your problems are related not only to ADHD, but also to other things. For example, you may also have a tendency to become angry or afraid quite quickly. The psychologist or psychiatrist will write a plan with you and your parents for how they are going to help you. Sometimes other problems as well as ADHD are treated too.

Will it go away?

ADHD never actually goes away completely, but treatment can help you learn to deal with it better.
And, it is possible that you will not have many problems with it when you are an adult. Almost half of those with ADHD do not have many problems with it when they get older.  That is also partly because everyone develops their own tricks and techniques for dealing with things.


When your problems are better identified, you and your parents can find good support and solutions so you can feel better.

There are several types of support and treatment:

For yourself

  • Psychologist: A psychologist can sit down with you and draw up a plan. You will regularly go and talk about how things are going and together will think of solutions for the things you are struggling with.
  • Psychoeducation and motivation: You learn about what exactly your problems are and how they come about. This helps you deal with them better and gain more self-confidence. You also talk about the advantages and disadvantages of treatment and what will happen if you change your behaviour.
  • Behavioural therapy: Behavioural therapy can help you learn to deal with ADHD. This means that you learn how best to act in various situations. You learn to think more about what you do and how to get on better with other children. This doesn’t mean that the behavioural therapy is making you less hyperactive or that you learn how to concentrate better. Therapy like this can happen in groups or on your own.
  • Medication: It may be that you and your parents will also have a discussion with a doctor/psychiatrist about whether you also need medication. If you are given medication, you will be given pills every day to keep you from getting too hyperactive and to help you calm down. This medication needs to be taken every day. Some medicines last for about 4 hours, others last for 7 hours and some others keep working for 9 to 12 hours. There are also useful tools to make sure you don’t forget to take your pills, like a mobile app or a weekly pill box. It is important to examine which medicines work the best for you. Keep in mind that all medication can have adverse effects too, which means that you may actually begin to experience other problems. These adverse effects might only be temporary.
  • Brain training or diet: Nowadays there are also special computer games and programmes to train your brain. Braingame Brian and Cogmed are examples of these. You can also train your brain with neurofeedback. It can sometimes help if you follow a special diet. It still isn’t entirely clear whether brain training and diets really help children with ADHD. University researchers are still looking into it. That is why they are not used as often as medication or behavioural therapy, for example.

For your parents

Parent training: Parent training teaches your parents what they can do to help you. For example, they can make sure that your day runs according to a fixed schedule. These parent groups allow parents to learn from each other too. For example, they can share tips and tricks for works well for them at home.

For other people around you

During the week, you spend a lot of time at school. That is why it is important that people at school also know what the problem is. You and your parents could also talk about the best way for your school to help you. Sitting in a quieter spot in the classroom or doing shorter exercises, for example. It may be that they will allow you to work at a different pace than your classmates. Sometimes, it may be better for you to go to a special school.
If you are at secondary school, it may be that you have trouble planning your homework or starting your revision in time for a test. If so, you could have some homework guidance.

Would you like to know more about ADHD?
You can also check out (Dutch).

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