Treatment for ADHD can be varied. There are behavior modification programs, counseling/therapy and medication. In addition, if you have co-existing conditions, such as depression or bipolar disorder, you may have treatment plans for them as well. How then, can you determine if a treatment is working for you?
Before beginning any type of treatment, you should create an overall treatment plan with your medical professional. Because ADD/ADHD symptoms appear differently in each person, this plan should be individualized to target the symptoms that are causing you the most problems in your life. Treatment plans often have a combination of medication, behavioral strategies and for some, counseling or coaching is helpful.
Medication also reacts differently, and what works well for one person may not be effective for another. Many times finding the correct dosage and medication is a matter of trial and error. Physicians will often begin with low doses of medication and increase only if needed.
The existence of co-morbid conditions is also a factor when creating a treatment plan. Generally, disorders such as depression or bipolar are treated first. Once you have learned to manage these conditions, the ADD/ADHD is treated. Some doctors prefer to treat all conditions simultaneously, feeling that you will not be able to function optimally unless all disorders are treated at one time. However, a good rule would be that you should begin treatment on the condition that is causing the most disruption to your life. You will need to discuss this with your doctor when beginning any type of treatment.
If you do choose to take medication, carefully read the insert that comes with your prescription. Learn about the possible side effects. You should know which side effects are common, which should disappear after a few days or weeks and which side effects require you to contact your doctor immediately. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about possible interactions with other medications (including over the counter medications) or food that you should be aware of. For example, citrus fruits can slow down the absorption of some medications and should not be eaten (or drank) within one hour before or after taking the medication. To get the best results from your medication, be sure to follow the instructions for your specific medication.