Medication for Attention Deficit Disorder

Medications are often prescribed by physicians to help stabilize brain activity or make it more “normal” functioning. They are the same for adults and children. Common stimulant medications that have shown the most effective ADD results are Adderall, Ritalin and Dexedrine. Cylert and Desoxyn are two other popular prescriptions.

Ritalin, the most popular medicine prescribed for ADHD, has been prescribed for over 40 years and is reported by some healthcare professionals as being “safer than aspirin.” Research with ADHD children shows that Ritalin, when taken in the correct dosage, helps most, or some 70 percent, largely decrease their ADHD behaviors.

The exact role that all of these stimulants play is still being uncovered; however, research definitely shows that they help most ADHD recipients lead better lives with major improvements.

There is a downside, though. The medical community and the FDA say that these stimulants are safe in their respective prescribed doses. However, the downside is that: there is extra paper work for the healthcare professionals; short-term (one-month supply) prescription regulations; and FDA and licensing issues with regards to people seeking these just to get controlled substances for other (unethical) reasons.

Notable is that in general, people with ADHD report feeling calm when taking these medications instead of feeling “high” (like an addict trying to gain a prescription would desire). And adults with ADD who have history of substance abuse often report an end in their desire for abusive substances when they are medicated for ADHD.

Research shows that some antidepressants may be helpful for the management of several ADD symptoms (also for persons suffering co-existing mood disorder and anxiety symptoms) if the stimulant medications are not effective. Popular antidepressants are Desipramine, Effexor, Imipramine, Nortriptyline and Wellbutrin.

If none of these are effective, others may be tried or combinations of the above treatments at different dosages, depending upon the individual case. Negative side effects to watch out for include: getting the jitters, headaches or stomach aches (Pepto-Bismal or Zantac is often recommended for stomach aches).

Image: NIH