For many people, wearing glasses helps them focus. Similarly, ADHD medications help people with ADHD focus. Medication helps with distraction, focus, and behavioral control. Medication does not cure ADHD. But to make it work more effectively, it can ease the symptoms of ADHD while you or your child takes it

Medication for ADHD

What are types of medication for ADHD?

ADHD medications include stimulants and stimulants. Health care providers often also prescribe antidepressants.


Stimulants are the most common type of prescription used by healthcare providers to treat ADHD. Despite its name, stimulants do not work by increasing your motivation. Instead, it works by increasing the levels of chemicals (neurotransmitters) in your brain called dopamine and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters play an important role in your ability to focus, think, and motivate.

Stimulants are considered as controlled substances which means they have the potential to cause abuse or substance use disorders. However, it is safe to use stimulants under the care and supervision of your provider. Before giving you a stimulator, your provider may order an electrocardiogram (ECG) to rule out previously undiagnosed heart rhythm problems.

There are two types of stimulants:

Immediate release (short acting): You usually take this stimulant when you need it. It can last up to four hours. People with ADHD can often experience what is called a “crash” or “rebound effect” when they come off short doses of stimulants. It usually involves a drastic drop in energy levels and usually leads to severe hunger.

Extended-release: You can usually have these stimulants only one time a day. Some last six to eight hours, some up to 16 hours. Long-acting ADHD medication can cause fewer “highs” during the day and reduce the need for additional doses at school or work.

Many people supplement the extended-release medicine taken in the morning with the mid-afternoon dose immediately. This additional dose can help provide coverage from day to evening after the previous dose has run out.

Drug classification groups drugs according to similarities, such as active ingredients or approved uses.

Non Stimulants

Non-stimulants are prescription drugs, but not controlled substances like stimulants. This means you are less likely to abuse or become dependent on them. It works by increasing the level of norepinephrine in your brain.

You will not sense the full assumption of this medication till you take it on a regular basis for three to four weeks. However, these medications can help improve your focus, concentration, and alertness. One can have it only for a one day.

Your healthcare provider may prescribe non-stimulants for a number of reasons, including:

  • Stimulants are ineffective.
  • They have the unbearable effects of stimulants.
  • They want to pair it with stimulants to increase their effectiveness.
  • There are currently no stimulants to treat ADHD. These drugs are mainly norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors or alpha-2 adrenergic agonists.


The FDA has not specifically approved antidepressants for the treatment of ADHD. The most common drug classes are norepinephrine-dopamine and tricyclic reuptake inhibitors.

If you have a mental health condition like depression or anxiety, it can help in combination with stimulants.

How does the medication work?

Neurotransmitters consist of dopamine and norepinephrine. Increasing the amount of these neurotransmitters helps improve ADHD symptoms, including:

  • Increased focus.
  • Reduce hyperactivity.
  • Control impulsive behavior.
  • Managing executive dysfunction.

ADHD medications affect everyone differently. The first ADHD medication may be the right one for you or your child to try. This may not be effective or may cause disturbing effects. Or you may be taking the right medication but need a higher dose.

Tell your provider about all medications you or your child are taking, whether prescription or over-the-counter. Also, tell your provider if you drink caffeinated beverages or take supplements (and how much per day). Combining certain medications can have harmful effects on the body.

Your Physician should try some alternate medications and the quantity of dosages to find out what works best for you. After examining the condition your health provider would predict the amount of dosage and its results.

Dosage and its quantity

How to determine the starting dose of medication?

The doctor will have a blend of both analyze and personal assumptions to regulate the amount of dosage of medication you should start with. Specific factors to consider when choosing a starting dose include:

  • How old is the patient
  • Medical history
  • The condition of your ADHD symptoms
  • Thrive
  • Height and weight can also be a factor in some cases

How can we assume that the dosage is too high?

Depending on your medication, the most common sign of an overdose is when you start experiencing significant, severe, or debilitating side effects that don’t go away after a week.

Medicines that stimulate general symptoms in very high doses are listed below:

  • Significant increase in anxiety or depression
  • Feeling “hardwired” especially at night
  • Severe insomnia
  • A new method
  • extreme sensitivity or agitation
  • hallucination
  • It works and has no significant wear and tear
  • Now you don’t feel like yourself, the “light” is gone

Titrating Medication

What does titrating medication means?

Titration means gradually changing the dose over time to see how your body responds to the drug. Targeted dosing means you get the therapeutic effect and the fewest side effects. Medications can also be titrated.

What changes can be seen during Titration process?

During the titration process, your doctor will start with a low initial dose and discuss side effects and benefits each week to decide on the next dose.

During this procedure, your doctor will discuss it with you that whether the medication dosage has:

Not providing sufficient therapeutic benefit: Your symptoms are not sufficiently relieved

Serious side effects:  The severe kind of side effects

Overreaction: Control the symptoms so overwhelming that you no longer feel yourself

If the drug does not have the desired effect after two to six weeks of the treatment, your doctor may change the drug and try again.


Drug treatment in adults with ADHD and co-occurring mental disorders

About two-thirds or three-quarters of adults with ADHD will have at least one other mental disorder in their lifetime. Other disorders include personality disorders, anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, bipolar disorders, and substance use disorders (SUDs). Once diagnoses are made, clinicians and adults must determine which diagnoses to treat and in what order.

Pharmacological control in adults with ADHD and co-existing conditions is also lacking. Treatment decisions of medical professionals and individuals will be guided by previous therapeutic and clinical experience, extrapolation from the clinical experience of others, and a rational empirical approach to individual clinical responses.

It is mainly associated with substance use disorders, major depressive and bipolar disorders, psychosis, and homicidal or suicidal ideation. For example, treating depression with bupropion can also help with ADHD. On the other hand, some medications for major depression and bipolar disorder can make ADHD symptoms worse. SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), which do not directly treat the symptoms of ADHD seem to be successful in treating people with co-existing depression who are also taking stimulants for ADHD.

Moreover, It should also be noted that medication for ADHD can affect co-existing disorders. For example, psychostimulants can make untreated anxiety or bipolar disorder worse. Adults with substance use disorders and active substance use are at greater risk for stimulant abuse. However, as mentioned earlier, successful treatment of ADHD can reduce the chance that an individual with ADHD will eventually develop SUD..

Ask your doctor or healthcare professional about the specifics of any medication. New medications are being developed and studied every day to treat ADHD. Likewise, researchers continue to study the use and effectiveness of medications previously used to treat other conditions in ADHD.

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