Written by Dr. Valentina Quintana MD on
October 13, 2021
Reading Time: 8 minutes

Medically Reviewed by our Medical Affairs Team

Written by Dr. Valentina Quintana MD on:

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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder. ADHD causes sufferers to become unorganized, impulsive, and hyperactive.

ADHD medication can often be the best treatment for ADHD or ADD because it helps people stay focused and get organized. There are many different types of ADHD medications with different side effects and benefits.

Stimulant ADHD medication is most effective when treating adults who do not have anxiety or depression issues. Non-stimulant medications are good for adults with depression and anxiety, but they may not help people with focus.

If you have ADHD, read on for the best medication treatments to help your ADHD symptoms.

What is the best medication for ADHD?

The main medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is stimulant medication. This type of medication can treat symptoms faster and longer than non-stimulant medications.

Medications for ADHD can be taken in different ways. This includes pills or under the tongue. They can also be taken through transdermal patches on the skin. There are also injections for people who have trouble swallowing pills.

What are the 2 major drugs used in ADHD?

There are two main categories when it comes to ADHD drugs. These are stimulants and non-stimulants. These medications for ADHD work by helping the brain communicate with itself better.

Stimulants are the most commonly prescribed medications in children with ADHD. There are two major stimulant medications used in ADHD treatments.

These are methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta) and amphetamine salts (Adderall, Vyvanse). These medications target ADHD through the neurotransmitter dopamine. By increasing this chemical in the brain, it makes it easier to focus.

Stimulant medications are short-acting. This means that the patient will have to take their medicine 2-3 times per day. Sometimes they are longer acting and can be taken once a day.

Non-stimulant medications are less prescribed for ADHD. These medications are best for patients with ADHD who also have anxiety or depression.

They may not be as effective at improving focus. ADHD medications that fall into this category include atomoxetine (Strattera) and guanfacine.

Non-stimulant medications work by increasing norepinephrine in the brain. ADHD medications like Strattera should be taken in the morning because they can make some people sleepy. Guanfacine is usually prescribed for ADHD patients who also have tics or Tourette’s syndrome.

Is ADHD medication worth it?

Medications can be very helpful to decrease ADHD symptoms. They can also have some disadvantages. ADHD drugs are quick-acting, but they do not last very long.

ADHD drugs are also only effective while you take them, so sufferers must remember to take their medication every day.

Medication is not a cure for ADHD, it is simply a way to make symptoms more manageable and easier to handle in daily life.

ADHD Medication for Kids

There are several different medications that can help children with ADHD stay focused at school and home. Treatment plans will always include close monitoring of how the therapy is going, and what changes you will need to make.

Methylphenidate and amphetamine salts are both ADHD medications. They are used to treat children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. They have been approved by the FDA. These are both stimulant meds.

Methylphenidate comes in different sizes and durations. Short-acting doses of methylphenidate come in Quillivant XR, which lasts for six hours.

There are also 12-hour dosing options like Metad CD 20mg capsules, as well as 24-hour doses such as Ritalin LA ADHD. These can be used to treat ADHD.

Amphetamine salts come in short-acting drugs like Adderall and long-acting drugs such as Vyvanse. They can also be used to treat ADHD.

ADHD Medication for Adults

Adults require medications that are longer-acting than those given to children. Adults can take two sorts of ADHD medicines. Short-acting ADHD medications work with a duration of action of fewer than 12 hours.

Long-lasting ADHD medicines with a duration of action of up to 24 hours. Many forms of medication are available for adults.

ADHD Medication for Adults with Anxiety

Living with ADHD may cause anxiety, which can make it harder to treat. Medications for ADHD and anxiety can help ADHD sufferers feel less anxious and better able to handle stress. Psychostimulant medications may make untreated anxiety worse in patients with ADHD.

Different medications can be used to treat ADHD. These are called non stimulant medications and they work as well as stimulant medications. Some common antidepressants may also effectively treat co-existing anxiety and ADHD. They can be used alone or with behavior therapy.

A doctor may recommend CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy) to help with ADHD. Doctors found that some of the drugs used to treat ADHD can make anxiety worse for people who already have anxiety problems.

A healthcare professional should focus on the most severe disorder with the greatest degree of disability. If anxiety is caused by ADHD, treating the condition may help alleviate it.

A doctor will figure out which medicine is right for this case if anxiety is not linked to ADHD. One medical expert might want to deal with anxiety first, while another might want to treat both problems together at once.

ADHD Medication for Adults with Depression

Many people with ADHD also have depression. Studies show that 9% to 38% of children with ADHD also have depression. This presents a problem for therapists because they can’t treat one condition without addressing the other. It is hard to treat both conditions at once because major depression can make the symptoms of ADHD worse and it may reduce success in treatment.

Adults with ADHD and depression can take ADHD medications that have a mood-stabilizing effect. Adults who suffer from ADHD and depression may benefit from medications that have a calming effect. ADHD drugs for depression can help with focus and organization, too.

In a small sample of clinical trials, the medication fluoxetine and methylphenidate were used to treat ADHD. These medications can also be used if someone has a mood disorder like depression.

The efficacy and safety of the combination were investigated. The patients had been taking 17 to 60mg of methylphenidate every day for at least a partial response.

Patients were divided into groups with different doses of fluoxetine. Some people had a higher dose than others. None of the patients got hurt. This is good because it means they can try this again in their study with more patients.

ADHD Medication for Adults with Bipolar Disorder 

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder has similar symptoms to bipolar disorder. These conditions are often misdiagnosed for one another.

Despite all of that, it’s still unclear why bipolar disorder and ADHD frequently co-occur together. One explanation is that shared genetic and biological factors may be partly to blame.

There has been limited research for the best treatment options. The current treatment is based on doctor observation instead of a specific set of guidelines.

Doctors tend to think that it is best to treat bipolar disorder before treating ADHD. Once the patient’s bipolar symptoms are controlled, then the ADHD can be treated with medication.

Bipolar disorder and ADHD are usually treated in different ways. Bipolar disorder usually includes a mixture of medication and therapy. ADHD on the other hand is often just treated with medication, usually stimulants.

A study was done in 2016 that found that Ritalin may be a safe choice for people with ADHD and bipolar disorder who take mood stabilizers.

How effective is ADHD medication?

Medications are very effective at treating ADHD symptoms. ADHD has been found to affect about eight percent of adults throughout the United States.

Studies show that stimulant ADHD drugs can be helpful for kids with ADHD. They reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity, which are things children with ADHD struggle with.

Stimulant medications may also make it easier for students who have stress or anxiety related to schoolwork. They can help them focus on their work.

ADHD drugs can cause side effects. Some of the side effects are that people might get dizzy, feel sick, or lose weight. The side effects could be serious if you stop taking the ADHD medicine quickly after taking it for a long time.

ADHD Medication Side Effects

All classes of medication for ADHD have the possibility of side effects. These side effects include insomnia, weight loss or decreased appetite, and nausea.

The most common ADHD medication side effects include rapid heart rate. Side effects may also lead to more serious ADHD symptoms if the medication is stopped suddenly after being taken for a long time.

Adverse effects of ADHD medication are more common than first thought. Many people may not find out about them until it’s too late.

Stimulant medications can cause cardiovascular issues. These drugs can cause high blood pressure. This can lead to a stroke or seizures, if taken in large doses for a long time without medical supervision.

Stimulant medications may also interact with other substances like alcohol or illicit drugs. This can increase your risk of serious adverse reactions. Drug interactions have the potential of causing serious consequences.

With all of these medicines, adverse effects are always a possibility. Some children with heart problems may have more severe side effects when they take ADHD drugs. They need to see their doctor before taking these drugs. The doctor will do a checkup and get their health history.

The majority of ADHD medications’ adverse effects are not life-threatening. However, any side effects should be reported to your child’s doctor.

You need to work closely with the doctor or prescriber to find the medicine that works best for your child. Keep an eye out for indications that your child’s medication may require fine-tuning. If you have any questions, talk to your doctor.

Is medication the best treatment for ADHD/ADD

There are other treatments for ADHD that work well in combination with medication. Neurofeedback has been shown to be effective at reducing impulsivity associated with ADHD.

Neurofeedback is a form of ADHD therapy that uses EEG biofeedback to help the patient learn how to control their brain waves. This can make it easier for people to control their ADHD symptoms.

Neurofeedback therapy is a good option for kids with ADHD and poor impulse control. It helps them learn how to control their ADHD symptoms on their own.

Behavioral therapy helps people who get nervous when it comes to schoolwork. They teach you how to do your work in small steps. Then they then accomplish one task at a time. This treatment may also help patients who suffer from symptoms such as low self-esteem or an inability to focus.

Other treatment options may include the following:

Does ADHD medication help with motivation

Medications may help ADHD patients refocus their energy. They then can accomplish tasks related to school work or job-related goals. Medication for ADHD does not help patients increase their motivation to work hard on projects.

Medication may make it easier for ADHD sufferers to focus and stay on task. Medicine will not motivate patients who suffer from low levels of self-esteem or a lack of interest in daily activities. ADHD medications help ADHD patients focus on the task at hand.

How do people get addicted to ADHD medication?

People with ADHD often take stimulant medication. It helps them stay focused on tasks at hand without losing concentration. People with ADHD often rely on medication to do things. They may have trouble doing activities like going grocery shopping, preparing supper, and cleaning the house.

Studies show that people with ADHD are not more likely than those who don’t have an ADHD diagnosis to abuse prescription medications. ADHD medication dependency is not a common problem.

Should I take ADHD medication?

Only you can decide whether or not taking medication to help manage your ADHD symptoms is the best choice for yourself or your child.

The FDA has approved these types of medications because they have been shown to be effective at managing the symptoms of ADHD.

Symptoms include poor focus and impulsivity. You should get a full medical exam from your doctor to evaluate your symptoms.

If you are worried about the side effects of prescription medicine, talk to your doctor before taking it. Medications can cause side effects. These are often things like insomnia, weight loss or decreased appetite, dizziness, and nausea.

Medication may also lead to more serious ADHD symptoms if the medication is stopped suddenly after taking it for a long time.

Concluding Thoughts

If you’re living with ADHD and feeling like your life is slipping away from you, it’s time to take charge. You can start finding relief by filling out this ADHD consultation request today.

Our medical experts will look at your symptoms and make a customized treatment plan for you so that you find relief and get back on track to living a full life!

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