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Know your ADHD/ADD medicine

Do you know the pros and cons of ADHD medication?

Did your health care practitioner give an overview of how ADHD medication works?

Do you know that ADHD medication doesnt cure ADHD and that it can only masks the symptoms?

Is medication a magic cure for ADHD?

Many people think that ADD/ADHD treatment is all about medication. But it’s important to understand that medication for ADD/ADHD doesn’t work for everyone.

In cases where medication works, it may not solve all the problems or completely eliminate the symptoms. Medication for ADD/ADHD often improves attention and concentration, it typically does very little to help other symptoms of disorganization, poor time management and memory issues.

How does ADHD medication work?

The primary action of medications used for ADD is to facilitate release and to inhibit reuptake of dopamine and norepinephrine at neural synapses of crucially important executive functions. Improvement produced by stimulants generally can be seen within 30 to 60 minutes after an effective dose is administered. When the medication has worn off, ADD symptoms generally reappear at their former level.

Stimulants do not cure ADD; they only alleviate symptoms while each dose of medication is active. In this sense, taking stimulants is not like taking doses of an antibiotic to wipe out an infection. It is more like wearing eyeglasses that correct one's vision while the glasses are being worn.

What do you need to know about the medication used for the treatment of ADD/ADHD?

* Medication for ADD/ADHD is more effective when combined with other treatments which address emotional and behavioral issues.

* Everyone responds differently to ADD/ADHD medication. Some people experience dramatic improvement while others experience little to no relief.

* The side effects differ from person to person and, for some, they far outweigh the benefits.

* Finding the right medication and dose takes time.

* ADD/ADHD medication should always be closely monitored.

* If you choose to take medication for ADD/ADHD, that doesn’t mean you have to stay on it forever.

* ADHD medication can control the symptoms but it is not a cure.

What are the side-effects of stimulant medication used for the treatment of ADHD?

The side effects of stimulants may include reduced appetite, headache, a “jittery” feeling, irritability, sleep difficulties, gastrointestinal upset, increased blood pressure, depression or anxiety, and/or psychosis or paranoia. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should talk to your doctor.

How do doctors arrive at the stimulant medication and its dosage for the treatment of ADHD?

Doctors try 2 to 3 different stimulant medications, and work closely with a patient to find the correct dosage.

After several different medications are used without success, they consider it a "treatment failure."

How does ADHD stimulants work in adults with ADHD?

When a person takes stimulant medication for ADHD, the medication changes the level of a chemical in the brain called dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter that plays a critical role in attention and focus.

When you take Ritalin, Adderall, or any other stimulant medication for ADHD, it helps increase the dopamine in your brain to an optimal level—a level comparable to that in the brain of a person who doesn't have ADHD.

It does that by blocking the action of something called a dopamine transporter, a molecule that removes dopamine from the neural pathway.

So changing the level of dopamine in the brain definitely changes the way it functions while you're taking the medication, which is the whole point in taking it.

How does the stimulant medication work for children in the treatment of ADHD?

It's important to know that the stimulant medications prescribed for children in the treatment ADHD are short-acting, meaning that they do not stay in the body for an extended period.

Whether the child takes them once a day or three times a day, they are basically out of the child's system when he wakes up in the morning. That means that they stop working when he stops taking them.

Any possible side-effects, like loss of appetite or trouble sleeping, also stop when he stops taking the medication.

How much percentage of people find ADHD medication useful?

It is estimated that 80 to 90 percent of people find significant reducation of ADHD symptoms with medication.

Between 10 percent and 20 percent of people with ADHD are not helped by medication.

Does ADHD medication become less effective over time?

This is a subject of disagreement among clinicians and researchers. For many children the same dose (adjusted for growth) continues to work for many years.

But in other kids the medication doesn't work as well after the first few months, and they need an increase in dosage to continue getting the same results.

Does ADHD medication change a child's personality?

ADHD medications should not change a child's personality. If a child taking a stimulant seems sedated or zombie-like, or tearful and irritable, it usually means that the dose is too high and the clinician needs to adjust the prescription to find the right dose.

If a child is taking the lowest possible dose that's effective for him, and still gets moody or irritable, some other kind of treatment should be tried. There is a small subset of children who react this way, and it usually happens right away, as soon as they start taking the medication, and goes away immediately when they stop taking it.

In which cases can ADHD medication fail to work?

1. It could be due to incorrect ADHD diagnosis. The diagnosis of ADHD should be reevaluated as there are a number of other conditions which share symptoms of ADHD.

2. In case of correct diagnosis, prescribed dosage may not be sufficient.

3. Some medications take days or weeks to work. If you are taking one of these medications newly, it may simply not have reached its full effect yet.

4. Some medications need to be taken in a special way in order to work properly, such as with or without food, or at specific times of the day. For more information, talk to your doctor.

5. This may not be the best medication for you. Sometimes, a medication may not work for everyone. Don't be discouraged if this happens to you - talk to your doctor. Often, they can suggest another medication or treatment that may work better for you.

6. There may be a coexisting condition. For some, ADHD medication doesn't work effectively because a second, or comorbid, condition is present.

7. Some people cannot tolerate stimulant medications for a variety of reasons in such cases other non-stimulant medications should be considered

8. The problem could be at the subtle level and not at the physical level.

What does Adderall and Ritalin Have in Common?

Both medications are central nervous system stimulants. They speed up the transmission of electrical and chemical signals throughout the central nervous system. They do this by increasing the brain activity of norepinephrine and dopamine — the neurotransmitters linked to ADHD.

Side effects for both medications are similar. The most common are:

sleep disturbances, loss of appetite, dry mouth, anxiety, increased heart rate, irritability, headache dizziness.

Both Adderall and Ritalin are available in short-acting and long-acting formulations. And both are designated Schedule II drugs under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act. This means the drugs can be addictive and have a high potential for abuse.

Which medicine is better out of Adderall and Ritalin?

An exhaustive drug class review of medications used to treat ADHD found there is no conclusive evidence that any one ADHD drug, including either Adderall or Ritalin, works better than the other.

The general recommendation is that if one of these drugs is not as effective because of side effects or performance, the other should be tried. There are some minor differences between the two.


Adderall is a blend of four different amphetamine salts. Like Ritalin, Adderall keeps norepinephrine and dopamine working in the brain. But Adderall does something that Ritalin doesn’t. It makes the cells pump out more of the neurotransmitters.

Adderall has two mechanisms. First, it increases the release of the two neurotransmitters believed to be involved with ADHD. Second, it prolongs their action. Adderall is active for four to six hours. Ritalin is only active for two to three hours. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Adderall is more useful. Some people prefer the shorter-acting Ritalin because they can better control the timing of side effects, such as loss of appetite and sleeplessness.

Know more about Adderall from The Adderall Empire


Ritalin, or methylphenidate, is another stimulant medication. Like Adderall, Ritalin prevents the cells from reabsorbing norepinephrine and dopamine, keeping them active in the brain.

Unlike Adderall, it doesn’t actually increase the amount of the two neurotransmitters. Ritalin takes effect and reaches peak performance more quickly than Adderall.

Know more about Ritalin from Talking Back To Ritalin

Who Should Avoid the Medications Adderall and Ritalin?

These two medications can cause adverse effects and may interact with other drugs. They should be avoided by people with certain conditions or people taking certain medications.

Adderall can worsen problems in people with these conditions or health history:

advanced arteriosclerosis, symptomatic cardiovascular disease, moderate to severe hypertension (high blood pressure), hyperthyroidism, sensitivity to the drug, history of drug abuse, history of agitated states, recent use of MAO inhibitors.

Ritalin can worsen problems in people with these conditions or health history:

marked experience of agitation, anxiety, or tension, glaucoma, motor tics or Tourette’s syndrome sensitivity to the drug, recent use of MAO inhibitors.

This page is dedicated for bring awareness about the medicines used for the treatment of ADHD/ADD.

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