Use of drug therapy in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): Maternal views and experiences

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Journal Article
Journal of Clinical Nursing, 2008, 17 (20), pp. 2725 - 2732
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Aims and objectives. The aim of this paper is to explore maternal views and experiences of stimulant pharmacotherapy in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Background. The very nature of ADHD means that it exists in a climate of scepticism and doubt. However, parents must make decisions about how to treat their children affected by ADHD. Of the treatments available, the use of stimulant therapy is the most controversial. Design. Qualitative. Method. Snowball sampling was used to recruit mothers (n = 11) of children with ADHD and a narrative-based qualitative methodology was used. Results. Decisions around the use of stimulant medication for children with ADHD were difficult for these mothers. Detailed findings are presented under the themes of: Ambivalence and confusion: everybody would be down on me like a ton of bricks; Influence of the media: so much bad publicity; Deciding against medication: you're changing their whole personality; and, Deciding for medication: he's just been wonderful. Conclusions. While these mothers revealed that they were discriminating in selecting information to guide their decision-making, many of their friends and family were influenced solely by media reports. Mothers experienced misgivings from family and friends who were sceptical about the need for medication and the implications and ethics of administering stimulant medication to children. Relevance to clinical practice. Nurses and healthcare professionals have an important role in providing accurate and current information for parents and families and should be aware of the pressures parents are under when making decisions about treatments for their children with ADHD. © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
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