How Do You Know if a Treatment is Working?

Health Writer

Each person with ADHD may have different symptoms. One may have extreme inattention and struggle with the ability to pay attention during conversations or during a teacher's lesson. Another may see impulsiveness as the major obstacle in their life.

Since there is no test to determine if ADHD is present, it stands to follow there is no definitive way to know if a specific treatment is effective. This, therefore, is a subjective evaluation of treatment. What works for one person, may not work for another.

How then is someone to figure out if a treatment is working for them? How are they to know if a treatment, whether it be medication or behavioral strategies, should be changed or not?

One way people with ADHD can measure the success or non-success of their present treatment is to keep a simple daily log:

Write down between 5 and 10 major symptoms or behaviors that you see as obstacles in your daily life and those that you would like to see improved. These can be things like:

  • Forgetful
  • Lose items
  • Interrupt others while talking
  • Hard time paying attention to conversations

Once you have decided on the areas you want to improve, make a chart with one row for each area to improve. Along the top should be seven columns, one for each day of the week.

Decide on a way to measure how you did in each area. This can be by scoring each with a number from 1 to 5 (with 1 being not so good and 5 being good) or as simple as a + or - sign.

Complete a new chart for each week.

By completing the charts each week, you should be able to see whether there has been improvement and if so, in what areas. This information can be shared with your doctor to determine how well your treatment is working.