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Getting Your Teen To Take Their Medications Correctly

Being the parent of a child with special needs or a disorder can be complicated enough without having to deal with them not taking their medication properly. A new study has noted that a lot of younger patients with chronic illnesses and conditions don’t properly take their medication, which can drastically influence their education, mental health, and development in life. To increase the survival of these patients and allow them to blossom and grow into thriving adults, this problem needs to be dealt with, and soon. Fortunately, new statistics have shown a way that may help this younger crowd get back on track.

Following Up With The Research

The latest study on this issue and possible preventative measures was led by Dr. Frederick Kaskel, who works out of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine; he was joined by Dr. Oleh Akchurin from Weill Cornell College of Medicine. This study involved looking into the use of medications with young children, and how their mobile phones might be incorporated to help them stay on track and take medicine properly. The study was performed in the pediatric kidney clinic, and what they found there was that the majority of teens trying to stay on track with their medications were mostly following the more traditional pillbox method of adherence. Of the kids surveyed, 93 percent owned a smart phone, but only 29 percent had any knowledge of smart phone applications related to medical use. Many of the teens had a reminder set up on their phones for taking medication, and boys were the highest users of their devices for this purpose. Dr. Akchurin has said the following regarding the study, as quoted by Science Daily: “This study demonstrates that a number of inner city teenagers with kidney disorders are utilizing their cell phones for the management of medication administration even in the absence of organized program promoting such use.”

A secondary stupid overviewed patients of transplants aged between seventeen and thirty, found that those who had a young patient service were four times less likely to have problems with their new organ. Young adult services are usually a team of medical professionals plus a youth worker, who work closely with their patients to assist them in their healing process.

Paying Attention to Attention Deficit

While organ transplant patients may have trouble remembering to take medication from time to time, it seems that a much later problem lies with teens who suffer from attention deficit hyperactive disorder. ADHD is by nature, a disorder that disallows those affected from focusing their thoughts for long periods of time, so it makes sense then that these are the kids who will have the biggest problem remembering their medications. In fact, if a teen could remember constantly to take this medication then it’s more likely that they don’t have ADHD and therefore don’t need the medication anyway.

Most kids want to take their medication and get better, but this isn’t true for all teens. However, if parents assume the worst before getting the facts it could lead to problems, which is why one way that medical professionals urge parents to help their teens is by being understanding and taking things one step at a time. Additude Magazine reports: “Medication refusal, which sometimes occurs during adolescence, may be medication forgetfulness. If parents mistakenly assume the worst — that the teenager is willfully refusing to take the medication — it will set off a power struggle. A teen will tune you out or flush the pill down the toilet to get even.”

Instead of getting angry at your teen when they forget, try making a reminder system. If a mobile phone app doesn’t work you can place your child’s medicine box somewhere they won’t forget it when it comes time to take their meds. On the dining table before breakfast, or near their backpack before school; this helps you not to nag, and helps your child take their pills on their own with only a little help from Mom and Dad.

Communicating For Better Memory

When something goes without discussion, it can sometimes be forgotten entirely, and while you are encouraged not to nag your teen to take their medicine, by incorporating it into regular conversation you can drop hints. You can also ask your teen in a calm way, why they aren’t taking their medication if you feel that it is being done on purpose. If you give your teen the floor to voice their opinions and be heard then they are far more likely to get on board and try when you discuss why they need the medication and how it will help them in the future. Whether the medication is for ADHD, pain relief, a medical disorder, or an illness, speaking with your teen about it can help the situation, but only if the talk stays on their terms. Another way that you can help your kids take their medication is by educating them so that he or she feels knowledgeable about their condition. The parenting teens section of about.com states: “Talk to your teen about the broader, very real issue that having side effects can be discouraging and make a plan to address this possibility. Make an agreement that your teen will let you know if this happens and if it does, recommend tracking the symptoms to monitor how disabling they are and if they seem to diminish after a period of time.”

Don’t ever be afraid to communicate with your child about the way that their medication is helping them. Teens are much more open to taking medical advice when they understand what it means and where it is coming from.

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