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Is my medication for my ADHD working? How will I know?


Ever wonder why medication is often the first choice in treating Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)? Consider that they are only 20% to 30% effective. The trick is finding which, if any, will work.

Parents face a dilemma when selecting stimulant medication for their child with ADHD. It is key to explore perspectives based on challenges. There must be a balancing act of desirable and undesirable effects.

Small changes are difficult to see. The hope is that symptoms will start to ease. There are landmarks to choose among a variety of options.

  • Better able to complete assigned work (job/school tasks).
  • Going to bed on time.
  • Easily remembering details from conversations.
  • Finishing homework assignments with less support.
  • Waking up on time without altercations.

Stimulants that increase dopamine are often a popular treatment. They boost focus and curb hyperactive and impulsive behaviors. Most common are Adderall, Ritalin, Focalin, and Concerta.

Signs That Show Improvement

There are actions/behaviors that signify successful solutions.

  • Balanced emotions
  • Reduced impulsivity
  • Improved behavior
  • Stabilized energy levels (more even)
  • Level emotional outbursts

Side Effects

It makes it easier to keep energy levels more even. Unfortunately, there are more side effects that go along with stimulant-type medications.

  • Increased heart-rate.
  • Nausea/vomiting.
  • Insomnia (difficulty sleeping)
  • Headaches
  • Irritability as medications wear off

Stimulant medication is the common treatment for people with ADHD. While it is only effective in 20% to 30% of the time, there are always alternatives. Reach out to others (teachers, peers, parents, family). Remember, it takes a village to raise a child.

What are your experiences with ADHD meds?

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