Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can take quite a toll on a person’s life as they seek to find a way to become more focused, less distracted, and more organized. People around them can feel like the person with ADHD never quite has things all together, which can make for frustrating relationships at home, work, and with family and friends.
It’s normal for a person to feel somewhat helpless and confused about the best ways to handle their ADHD symptoms. Fortunately there are treatment options that can help alleviate the symptoms of ADHD and arm a person with the tools they need to combat the symptoms of attention deficit disorders.
These interventions include:
- Or a combination of these two approaches
Used properly, medicines such as methylphenidate hydrochloride (Ritalin) and other stimulants help suppress and regulate a person’s behavior, to help them be less hyperactive and distracted, allowing them to better focus. They squelch hyperactivity, improve social interactions and help people with ADHD concentrate, enabling them to perform better in school and at work.
When used with proper medical supervision, medications prescribed for ADHD are considered generally safe and free of major unwanted side effects. They rarely make a person feel “high” or, on the flip side, overly sleepy or “out of it.” Common side effects include appetite suppression, sleep disturbances, and weight loss. Less common side effects include an increase in heart rate/blood pressure, headache, and emotional changes (social withdrawal, nervousness, and moodiness). These medications are not considered addictive, however, they should be carefully monitored in adults because they can be either abused or misused.
It is important to understand that these medications are not a cure-all, but they can be highly effective when used appropriately in the right dosage for each individual. In fact, as many as nine out of 10 adults do better when they are taking one of the most commonly used stimulants. However, in combination with other techniques such as psychotherapy, symptoms may improve even more. Researchers are currently evaluating the effectiveness of medications in combination with these other approaches to determine the best route to take.
Individuals taking any of the medications listed below should see their doctor regularly for a check-up to review the types and timing of ADHD symptoms. The benefits and potential risks of using these medications also should be discussed before the first prescription is filled.
The most commonly used stimulants are: