ADHD Treatment – Medications, Behavioral Therapies, and Lifestyle Changes
Medications are a widely-used way to treat attention deficit disorder (ADHD). Medication can help reduce symptoms like impulsivity, distractibility, and hyperactivity; however it also has potential side effects; thus those living with ADHD typically use a combination of medications, behavioral therapies, and lifestyle modifications in order to manage their symptoms.
Stimulants that increase brain levels of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine may help control some symptoms associated with ADHD. Common stimulants for ADHD include methylphenidate (brand names Ritalin, Concerta, Daytrana, Focalin), dexmethylphenidate, and amphetamines.
They come in both short-acting and long-acting forms that you take once or twice daily. The short acting medications last four to eight hours, while the longer acting medicines stay active in your system up to 16 hours.
Non-stimulant ADHD medications work differently than stimulants do. Drugs like atomoxetine (Strattera), clonidine (Kapvay) and guanfacine (Intuniv) don’t increase dopamine levels in the brain like stimulants do. While they may not work as well, non-stimulants can still be tried if stimulants don’t help or aren’t suitable for you or your child.
In addition to medications, behavioral treatments can also be employed to address the core symptoms of ADHD. These include therapy, parent training and neurofeedback – in many cases leading to reduced medication dosage or even stopping use altogether.
Antidepressants can be effective for treating core ADHD symptoms, but they also have potential negative reactions. For instance, some antidepressants may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts among adults aged 18-24 years.