It is no surprise that the current Covid-19 pandemic has turned our lives and daily routines upside down. Adolescents with ADHD who are locked down at home with their parents and siblings are particularly vulnerable, frustrated and unable to cope well. Social distancing, associated with the pandemic preventative measures can be distressing. Changes in normal routines, such as, inability to continue with hobbies and socializing with friends, can increase the risk of exhibiting disruptive behaviours, short-temperedness, sleeping problems, depression, anxiety and stress. These issues can lead to family conflicts in the home.
While most clinics are closed as a result of the lockdown, parents can still access their physicians or other healthcare providers for advice if needed, by telephone or telemedicine. Follow up appointments, reassessment of treatments and medications can be done this way as well. There are a few ways parents can manage adolescents with ADHD at home, if they are unable to get face to face support.
Continue to boost adolescents' self esteem by encouraging them to engage in activities such as, charitable work, hobbies, finding enjoyable ways to help others, and participating in online courses.
Family members, including siblings, should chip in to help their teen stay organized with routines and avoid distractions from TV and computer games. Incorporate fun family exercise routines into the lockdown home environment.
Parents should avoid increasing medication dose when increasing stress and imminent crisis is observed. Give prescribed medications correctly and at scheduled times. Request extra supply of medications from your pharmacist, in case of any unforseen circumstances. Avoid giving sedatives for sleeping problems.
Talk to adolescents with ADHD and ask about their feelings. Explore for any concerns they may have. Encourage them to continue doing prescribed therapeutic exercises and relate them to the lockdown experience. Help them sleep better by setting up a routine of regular sleep-wake pattern. Create a quiet, soothing and comfortable bedroom atmosphere.
Contact your physician or health care provider if teen complains of chest pain, palpitations,or breathing difficulty, as well as when symptoms of Covid-19, such as, runny nose, dry cough, sore throat are suspected. Avoid giving ibuprofen.
Confinement within the home environment for the adolescent with ADHD can increase the risk of disruptive behaviours and family conflict. Parents who know and have guidance on managing emerging stress and crisis in their child, are able to gain control and maintain their child's health and a healthy family life during this Covid-19 lockdown.