Medication is an effective treatment for the symptoms of ADHD. Commonly prescribed medications include: Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall, Dexedrine and Strattera. Strattera is the only non-stimulant medication that has been approved for ADHD. Most of these are available in short term and extended release. There is also a patch for the treatment of ADHD. Although medication is effective in reducing symptoms, it is not a cure and should be used in conjunction with a complete treatment plan and be monitored by your physician.
When deciding if medication is right for you, it is important to take the following into consideration:
Family Lifestyle - will you need medication all day or do you want medication you can take only when needed for focus and concentration?
Family Beliefs - How does your family feel about medication. Are they against it, where you will feel uncomfortable discussing it with them? Is this something that will be a factor in your decision?
Family Medical History - Is there a history of heart disease? This should be discussed with your physician.
Personal Medical History and Current Medications - Will medication negatively interact with your present medications? Do you have any conditions that may interfere with your ability to take medications for ADHD?
Coexisting Conditions - Will other conditions be affected by your medication?
Cost - Do you have insurance that will cover the cost of the medication? Is there a generic version that would be more affordable?
Thoroughly discuss the above options with your doctor. Let them know about any concerns you may have. In addition, you may want to ask the following questions:
How do the different ADHD medications work and what are the differences between them?
What is the name of the medication, and the dosage that is being prescribed?
How will the medication make you feel? What results should you expect?
What is the best way to track the effectiveness?
How should you take the medication? How often is it to be taken?
Are there foods, drinks, vitamins or over the counter medications that should be avoided when taking the medication?
Will it matter if medication is taken with food or on an empty stomach?
What are the side effects? What side effects require that you call the doctor? What side effects require that you stop taking the medication immediately?
Will the medication have an impact on blood pressure or heart rate?
Are you able to have any alcoholic beverages while on the medication?
Once you receive your medication, you should take the time to read the insert included with the package. The more you understand about your medication, the more you will be able to manage symptoms, keep track of effectiveness and determine if this particular medication is right for you.
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.