The diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) might be a difficult one to receive. Even though the diagnosis is new, you (or a loved one) have most likely been experiencing symptoms for some time. Although ADHD cannot get cured, there are a variety of treatment methods available. Perhaps you’re ready to see if therapy will assist you. Or are you concerned about whether or not therapy will be effective? To begin, understand that the most effective treatment for ADHD in children is a mix of parent-child behavior therapy, school interventions, and if required, medication. Making good habits such as regular physical activity, mindfulness practice, and limiting screen time a routine also aids in the reduction of ADHD symptoms.
• ADHD Stimulant Medicines
Because stimulants work effectively, act quickly, and have been used safely for decades, they are the most common drugs for treating ADHD. Researchers believe they operate by increasing dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain, which power transmission between different sections of the brain and body.
• Amphetamines vs. Methylphenidates
In 2018, an assessment of 10,000 children and 8,000 adults from 133 clinical studies found that amphetamines were more effective in reducing ADHD symptoms, but methylphenidates had fewer adverse effects. As a result, ADHD experts recommend that methylphenidates get used first when treating children and adolescents, while amphetamines get used first when treating adults.
• Stimulants That Work Quickly vs. Those That Act Slowly
Short-acting and long-acting stimulants are equally effective in treating ADHD. Preference and money are the deciding factors, according to Hadar Swersky.
Short-acting stimulants like Ritalin, Focalin, and Adderall are older, have a good safety record, and come in generic (less expensive) forms. In less than an hour, they begin to have an impact. However, because they are short-acting, they must be taken 2 to 3 times a day for a 24-hour effect, and there may be a significant “wearing-off” period in between doses.
Long-acting stimulants including Ritalin LA, Focalin XR, Concerta, Adderall XR, Mydayis, Vyvanse, and Daytrana patch can be used once a day and do not wear off. They start working in less than an hour, much like short-acting stimulants. However, because there are fewer generics available, side effects might linger longer throughout the day, and drugs are more expensive.
• Stimulants’ Side Effects
Stimulants are chemicals that are strictly regulated, according to Hadar Swersky. They carry the danger of addiction and dependency because they produce a pleasurable “high.” Long-acting drugs are less likely to create this than short-acting pharmaceuticals since long-acting medications are absorbed into the bloodstream more slowly, preventing a “high.”
Stimulants, on the other hand, have been used safely for decades and have proven to be effective. There isn’t much of a difference in adverse effects amongst stimulant drugs, and many of them are minor, go away fast, and maybe rectified with dosage or dosing schedule adjustments.
In children and teenagers, there is also a small but significant risk of sudden cardiac death and heart attack in adults. Before taking atomoxetine, it gets recommended that everyone gets evaluated for cardiac abnormalities.