ADHD in Young Children: Use Recommended Treatment First

Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry recommend behavior therapy over medication as first-line treatment for young children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently analyzed healthcare claims data for young children insured by Medicaid between 2008 and 2011 and young children insured through employer-sponsored insurance between 2008 and 2014, finding that approximately 75% of young children with ADHD received medicine as treatment. Only about 50% of young children with ADHD in Medicaid and 40% with employer-sponsored insurance received psychological services, which may have included behavior therapy.