A Full List of ADHD Medications

Guanfacine or Intuniv Tablets

This is a full list of medications that are currently used for treating ADHD.  There isn’t much like this online, so hope it helps.

It’s written in plain English with (we hope!) a sense of humor.  At the end, we go over some common questions.

If it helps you, we’d really appreciate your helping getting the word out by sharing this page’s link with someone.

For those who are concerned they might have ADHD, see an ADHD Test Made for Adults.

Note: Focalin and Concerta and several other medications are not given an entry of their own

One Ritalin Pill

#1 Ritalin

Extremely popular – almost a synonym for ADHD – Ritalin has been a star since it was made in the 1940s and named after a chemist’s love, “Rita.”

Ritalin’s technical name is methylphenidate.

Ritalin acts on dopamine and norepinephrine, to block reuptake from the space in between cells.  This increases the amount of time they stay there, which means that they activate signaling pathways for longer periods of time.

And that means greater focus, motivation and attention.

With therapy, up to 70% of people with ADHD experience significant benefit from Ritalin.  The effects can be amazing, allowing normal living for some – to repeat, it is a powerful medication that can make normal living possible for some people.

One of the biggest downsides to  instant release Ritalin – and all the stimulants – is that the benefits only last a matter of hours, from 3-6.  This can mean you have to take several doses a day, which can be inconvenient.

That said, there are longer release forms which provide symptom relief for much longer periods of times, as long as 12 hours or such.

While the most effective treatment for ADHD, stimulants like Ritalin can have their fair share of side effects, however, including anxiety, weight loss, and potentially even psychiatric issues like triggering mania or psychosis.  Additionally, they can cause heart problems in at risk people.

Because Ritalin has a high potential for addiction and abuse, it has the highest restriction possible while still being widely used – it’s a Schedule II drug.

Pros: With Adderall, Vyvanse and so on, the most effective chemical treatment for ADHD

Cons: Potentially serious side effects, schedule II, figuring out dose schedule can be a pain

Variants: Concerta, Focalin, Metadate, Daytrana

Blue Adderall XR Pill

#2) Adderall

Adderall has become extremely popular for treating ADHD since its introduction in 1996.  It is a mix of several amphetamine salts and like Ritalin is a highly effective treatment.

Some studies have shown that Adderall may be slightly more effective than Ritalin at treating some of the ADHD symptoms.  This advantage is not established, but probably has to do with a slightly different mechanism of action. One dose of instant release Adderall, however, may last as long as two doses of instant release Ritalin.

Adderall may also have a slightly different side effect profile than Ritalin.

In terms of chemical action – Adderall not only blocks the reuptake of dopamine and norepinephrine through cellular pumps, it also goes inside the cells and reverses the pumps.  So instead of letting those chemicals in, and taking them away from “outside” the cells, it kicks them out.

Reversing the pumps may lead to the build up of free radicals, but no major study has analyzed whether this happens or has a clinical impact.

Adderall has the same downsides as Ritalin, and is also schedule II.

Pros: Among most effective treatment for ADHD

Cons: Potentially serious side effects, schedule II, dosing can be a pain

Variants: Adderall XR

Vyvanse Pills

#3) Vyvanse

Vyvanse is a miracle of advertising and repackaging.  Fundamentally, it’s nothing more than Dexedrine, which has been around for a long time and developed a bad reputation due to its over-use as a diet pill.

That said, there is something quite good about Vyvanse/Dexedrine – it’s made only from the d-type of amphetamine with none of the the l-type.  This is important because it’s quite possible that the d-type is more effective and/or has less of the side effects of the l-type.

Adderall, by contrast, is a mixture of d and l-amphetamines, which means that it more may have more of a kick as well as more or different side effects.  This mix may mean that Adderall may provide more of a “punch” so to speak.

That said, Vyvanse has its fair share of side effects, and none of the stimulants are entirely safe drugs.

The good things about Vyvanse include its quite long lasting effect, possibly up to 12 hours, and its somewhat less susceptibility to abuse.  It is as effective as Adderall and Ritalin for treating ADHD.

Pros: Among most effective treatment for ADHD

Cons: Potentially serious side effects, schedule II, dosing can be a pain

Guanfacine or Intuniv Tablets

#4) Intuniv

Intuniv is a treatment that was initially used for lowering blood pressure and has  recently become more fashionable for treating ADHD, a use for which it was recently approved. Intuniv is pretty much the opposite of the stimulants, which raise blood pressure and stimulate the body.

If it does the opposite of traditional treatment, why might it work?  The key is that Intuniv acts as an alpha-2 agonist. While activation of these receptors lowers blood pressure, it may also serve to activate certain areas of the brain, especially the prefrontal cortex, meaning better focus and attention.

Intuniv is like a stronger Strattera, but hopefully avoids the problems of the stimulants, and may even be useful in combination with them.  There are problems, of course. As this blog has noted, some of the trials which led to its approval had a shockingly high rate of people fainting – something like 5/262 participants fainted.

That is not a good side effect. Additionally, treatment with Intuniv just falls short of sending ADHD into “remission.”

Other issues possibly include depression and blood pressure problems.

Pros: Non-stimulant, may be moderately effective

Cons: Possibly serious side effects like fainting, less effective than stimulants.  Very new and untested.

Variants: Clonidine, Guanfacine, Intuniv



Bottle of Strattera

#5) Strattera

Strattera used to be “the only non-stimulant treatment approved for ADHD” until Intuniv came onto the market in 2009.

Like Ritalin, Strattera also works on the norepinephrine chemical and prevents its removal from the space in between cells.  Despite a similar mechanism of action, it does not have work immediately, however.  It can take up to 8 weeks for Strattera to show its full benefit.

Strattera is supposed to provide all day coverage taken just once, but one study showed that taking a dose in the morning and at night provides the best release.  This is still a significant advantage over the stimulants.

The history of Strattera is somewhat interesting – it was initially tested for use in depression, but didn’t seem to do much.  Researchers thought that its effects on norepinephrine might have benefit in treating ADHD, and they were right.

Similar to the antidepressants, Strattera does increase your risk of becoming suicidal, which is why it has a black box warning.

The studies show that Strattera works, some say even as well as Ritalin.  But those claims to efficacy seem somewhat overstated, with many people saying that Strattera is not so effective.

Strattera is worth a try when stimulants fail or are not a good idea (say you have serious anxiety or past psychosis), yet it also has some of their nasty side effects.

Pros: “Non”-stimulant, long term coverage

Cons: Suicidal ideation, may not be as effective, expensive, long time to take effect




Provigil Pills

#6) Provigil or Modafanil

There’s quite a buzz around Provigil, generic modafanil.  It keeps enough of the amphetamine like behavior of Adderall to provide the kick needed to treat ADHD, while having a host of other chemical behaviors that, some argue, may make it less addictive and less risky.

Provigil, for instance, is only schedule IV, as opposed to the highest restriction placed on Ritalin and Adderall.

That said, we don’t know a lot about it.  Provigil may play with the dopamine receptor like Ritalin – or it might not.  It might just increase levels of dopamine by some other mechanism.  This is important because the way it interacts with dopamine may determine its potential for addiction.

Other chemical behaviors of this drug?  Hold your breath – it possibly has GABA, serotonin, adrenergic, histaminergic and glutamanergic effects.  That’s like half of the neuro-transmitters currently in vogue, and some of them theoretically cancel each other out!  (While there are hundreds of neurotransmitters, because of how little we know, we basically pretend there are only about 10.  Hopefully, as we learn more, we will get even more effective treatments with fewer side effects.)

Provigil is used, in part, for sleep apnea, narcolepsy and has been proposed for schizophrenia, which is stunning, considering that traditional stimulants cause psychosis, not treat it.

As of now, however, Provigil is not approved for treating ADHD, although it seems to have decent efficacy in treating it.  (Some studies have shown similar efficacy to Ritalin, one – from the manufacturer itself (!) – showed no efficacy, and so on).  A major study trying to approve it for ADHD in children failed when a significant amount of children developed skin rashes.

So we don’t know how well it works.  And Provigil is also extremely expensive, so playing around with it can rack up a bill.

Expect interesting things from this drug and its half-dozen chemical actions.

Pros: May be less addictive, may be as effective as stimulants, schedule IV

Cons: Expensive, new, not-approved for ADHD, not enough long-term use data


Wellbutrin Bottle

#7) Wellbutrin

Wellbutrin is a strangely behaving antidepressant. It’s an alternative treatment for ADHD, although not approved for that use like Strattera, and has been shown to be better than placebo for treating ADHD.

That said, Wellbutrin has only a modest benefit for ADHD, with some studies showing that it works to some degree and others showing that it doesn’t really work that well.

What it does is act as an inhibitor of reuptake of norepinephrine and dopamine – to some degree.  It also mimics them somewhat, which is interesting. Chemically, Wellbutrin is eventually converted by the body into some form of amphetamine, which might explain why it has some impact for ADHD.

So it isn’t the best treatment for ADHD, but it is used not-rarely.

Side effects can include extreme anxiety. We’re talking potentially about really bad anxiety. That said, in addition to making you less depressed, Wellbutrin might just help you stop smoking – which is another of its uses.

Pros: Moderately effective, full day coverage

Cons: Extreme anxiety, not as effective as stimulants, turns into amphetamines eventually – so may have similar problems


Tricyclic Antidepressant Structure

#8) The Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCA)

The tricylcic class of antidepressants has been shown to have significant benefit in treating ADHD, although not as strong as the stimulants.  They are not so often used because of their serious potential for cardiac toxicity among other side effects.

The TCA’s benefit for ADHD  is separate from their potential antidepressant effect.  This is highlighted by the fact that reduction of some ADHD symptoms, especially behavioral, may start occurring in less than a week, as opposed to the 3-4 weeks it takes for the antidepressant effect.

(It’s an important distinction to make because you could feel like the King of Morroco but still have significant ADHD symptoms.)

They are many drugs in the TCA class.  Of them, desipramine may be the best for ADHD, then imipramine.

That said, it is possible that other issues like antagonistic behavior may emerge with treatment, meaning that you exchange one set of symptoms for another.  On the other hand, treatment with TCAs may provide almost full-time coverage.  You don’t need to take 5 doses a day, for instance, as may happen with some forms of Ritalin.

Note that newer antidepressants, especially the selective serotonin reuptake inihibitors like Prozac and Zoloft have not shown similar efficacy or benefits in treating ADHD.  This may be due to their more specific behavior, and lack of effect on norepinephrine.

Pros: Modest efficacy, long term coverage

Cons: Heart toxicity, overdose possibility, possible new symptoms, not as effective as stimulants


Risperdal tablets

#9) Risperdal

Risdperdal is a very popular tranquilizing antipsychotic.  It blocks dopamine receptors in the brain, reducing the activity of dopamine.  Careful readers may wonder if that is its chemical action, then how can it treat ADHD?

The answer is most likely because Rispderal and its family of medications, the antipsychotics, are tranquilizing and can induce a sense of calm.  This can be useful at night in addition to standard treatment to help fall asleep.

Use of antipsychotics as sole treatment for ADHD, however, is not a standard medical choice.  It does, however, happen, which is unfortunate.  Remember, Risperdal has been approved for treatment of agitation and aggression in autistic kids.  Its sedative effects may make it attractive for treating kids who have ADHD and are a handful.

The risks are significant.  Long term use of Risperdal may lead to permanent movement disorders, extreme weight gain, and diabetes.  And long term use of antipsychotics may make concentration and attention problems worse.

Pros: Sedating, may help fall asleep, may help gain weight

Cons: Long term side effects.  Is pretty much the exact opposite of traditional ADHD treatment

Variants: Any anti-psychotic class tranquilizer


People exercising

#10) Exercise

Exercise is extremely helpful for people who have ADHD.  Within healthy moderation, it has no side effects – though people taking stimulants should be careful – and can honestly be said to be nature’s treatment for ADHD.  It relaxes the mind and body, increases concentration, and improves mood.

One kid used to be a handle in school, but when his teachers agreed to let him run around the schoolyard when he got restless, did OK.  That kid?  Winston Churchill, one of the greatest British leaders ever.

Exercise won’t provide complete relief from ADHD symptoms and it is not a substitute for medication.  But for people who have ADHD, it can make life that much better.

Other Drugs of Interest: Pemoline or Cylert – a schedule IV drug with moderate ADHD efficacy.  Withdrawn in US from market due to toxicity to liver.  Desoxyn – basically methamphetamine, not used often because it is essentialy the same as the street drug “meth,” which has very bad associations

Choosing Between Ritalin, Adderall and Others

One of the most common questions people have about ADHD treatment is, What’s better?  Ritalin or Adderall?

The answer?  There is no clear advantage any one class of treatment has over the other.  Dr. Tuckman, a clinician who has treated hundreds if not thousands of patients and is Vice President of the world ADD Association has this to say:

Roughly 1/3 of people with ADHD will respond best to an amphetamine type medication like Adderall or Vyvanse, roughly 1/3 will respond best to a Ritalin type medication like Ritalin and Focalin, and roughly 1/3 will respond equally well to both.

Dr. Tuckman also emphasizes how important it is to have patience.  He says that is actually quite lucky to get the right dose on the first try and that often you just have to try several doses out until you hit get it right.

Instant Release or Extended Release?

Most ADHD medications come in the instant release or extended release form.  An instant release pill will typically last 3-5 hours, while an extended release typically lasts 8-12 hours.

It is our increasingly strong opinion that extended release medications may have superior results than instant release.  This is due to smoother drug release and less need to take medication.  You wake up and take a pill and don’t have to take another one at work or at school.

Instead of having spikes of drug level, there is a smooth, continuous release over the course of the day.

Some studies have shown that a significantly higher amount of people will respond to extended release treatment than to instant release.  Also, some studies have shown that people prefer extended release treatment to instant release.

And in theory, extended release formulations may reduce the risk for tolerance.

That said, 8-12 hours of activity does not cover the whole day.  Some clinicians will prescribe an instant release to be taken at night to provide coverage for the whole day.  The risk, however, is that this might cause insomnia.

On the effects of a proper dose

At the right dose, an ADHD medication should have minimal impact on how you feel.  It changes how you experience things, how you perform, but shouldn’t change who you are or make you feel weird.  The right dose is often very subtle in its effects.

The following is not uncommon – that someone is on an ADHD medication, feels it isn’t doing anything, but when other people are asked, they see a major change.

As such, the best person to judge if a medication is working is someone who spends a lot of time with you and doesn’t have ADHD him or herself.

Because the person taking the medication might not feel it at the right dose – finding the right dose can be a bit tricky.  Doctors have different approaches, but the one that feels safest is to start at the lowest and carefully work the way up from there.

Related Articles:

  1. What are the long term effects of Adderall?
  2. Is there a physical test for ADHD?
  3. What sucks and what rocks about ADHD
  4. How does Vyvanse Actually Work in Your Brain?

171 thoughts on “A Full List of ADHD Medications

  1. My 7 year old daughter has Adhd just found this out a couple of months ago.im just wondering in what kind of med’s i can but her on ones that well work the most and less harm to her body.im getting very upset about her she never seats still and allways talkes when other people talk.And her schooling is being effected by this please help. THANKYOU

  2. HI, neer been tho this site before but wanted to see what was out there. I am 48 and knew i most likely had ADHD for a very long time. A freind formally tested me for hoots so i can be formally labeled lol . Excercing helps alot, did 2 hours/day 4-6 days a week on top of bicycling/hiking. Becasue i have a business, have less time so my staff bullied me to try COncerta. Does nothing for me but nausea and $200/mnth. **** The best medicine to calm my fast paced brain i discovered by accident afer I had back surgery recently. Percoset worked better then anything else but i only took it for about 5 days after surgery. I need something that calms my brain down like that and get back to the gym as well. Any suggestions? This is a side comment – I am a Veterinarian and hate when i hear parents use ADHD as an excuse for ‘bad’ behaviour or grades becasue some of the smartest successful people i know have ADHD (was actually a benefit at one time becasue we could do more farm work/hr compared to average people lol. Yes, yard work/farming and the like is excercise so throw kids outside on bigwheels)..

    I do have a client with mental issues (OCD,depression on drugs) whose husband has mental issues (codependant alcoholic, abusive) and she complained to me how her child of 4 has serious mental problems (cussing/ temper tanturms & seeing dad beat mom/both screaming/drugging) and she can’t get free mental treatment ; i told her to stop breeding mental disease becasue kids have nature and nurture both going against them. Adopt a dog instead :)

  3. ”  Desoxyn – basically methamphetamine, not used often because it is essentialy the same as the street drug “meth,” which has very bad associations”

    This is – quite literally – the most imbecilic statement I’ve read in 2012. Think about what you’re saying. Essentialy (sic), you’re saying the substitute ‘meth’ the DEA is fighting a turf war over in Mexico in order to poison and kill millions of children who become dependent on the addictive qualities (the reason it *has* to be illicit, obviously; easier to control poison when it’s an unregulated controlled substance) ***is the same*** as actual methamphetamine (no addiction, no selling bodies for crack), which is FDA-approved for the treatment of ADHD in children. It’s a lifesaving medication which – by all accounts – is the single most effective treatment for ADHD (overwhelmingly raved about on ADHD forums). 

    2nd in your class, David? This is what passes for LOGIC at Harvard these days? What is wrong with you. You’re going to be responsible for the mental health of patients who trust you. And this is your idea of cognitive reasoning? 

    You’re ethically obliged to be more intelligent than this. Or you shouldn’t be allowed near a patient. Hah. I just realised you obviously haven’t heard of the American Medical Association’s recent admission that the most widely sold drug in history is – effectively – CRIMINAL FRAUD, worse than placebo, responsible for the deaths of many.

    Bet you’re looking forward to prescribing some placebos in your lab coat? 

  4. To Thomas: Thank you for sharing. You are so mature and bright for 1 6. Btw, have you read ‘I am not stupid, lazy or crazy’? You may enjoy it.

  5. Wanted to share our sorry after reading some posts. I am a 31 year old bipolar mom with ADHD. I cannot take ADHD meds as they trigger my mania and make me psychotic. I dropped out of highschool with a 4.0 GPA in advanced placement classes, was homeless and abused many substances until getting pregnant with my first child. I now have one extremely bright child with all my symptoms but no diagnosis as he excels academically. As he is not struggling we have gotten by with counseling. His older brother however has severe ADD. In first grade he could not read, write, recognize colors, numbers, hold a conversation. He also had a severe studder, ate boogers and humped everything in front of him. Adderoll was recommended by our pediatrician. He immediately stopped humping, studdering and began conversing and making friends. Within two Weeks he went up six reading levels,became a math whiz and we discovered he is colorblind. His only side effect was decreased appetite, which was fine as he was 20 lbs overweight. In his case as it greatly impacted his ability to learn and socialize he needed meds. My other son mainly needs coping skills which we are addressing without meds. I think it is custom for each kid. Now we are struggling with a med change and a teacher blaming us thus my research continues. Hope this helps someone.

  6. This article is woefully inaccurate. Nobody should present themselves as informed when their info is this sloppy. I will provide details if you email me.

  7. started taking ritalin when i hit tenth grade, went from straight F’s, to straight A’s, but the bad thing was loss of appetite and communication skills. I was in the drug for a year, and during that year my mom observed me on the drug and said i seemed like a zombie. In a since she was rite, i did very well in school but i was no longer myself. So she took me off the med, she said she would rather have me and my personality than a zombie with straight A’s. Im 28yrs old now, and the one thing ive noticed about my new medication, adderal, im more my old self when i take it, it doesnt mess with my appetite, and it in no way makes me a zombie, i actually interact more now than i did when i was on ritalin. Adderal has a mix of being wide awake alert and responsive, and a mix of relaxation as well, as a result of the switch i guess the real result would be that i still retain just as much knowledge as the drug ritalin resulted in. To me, adderall is a great learning medication just like ritalin, but i prefer adderal, and if you do have panic attacks like i do, being an iraq veteran, talk to your doctor about a benzodiazepine such as klonapin(what im on), or valium, xanax is the best ive heard at bringing u down at night as well as controlling panic attacks. Thank You For Reading…..MIKE

  8. My daughter has ADHD and had been on medication for about 2 years. We tried Concerta first which did nothing. Then we tried adderoll and it worked wonders. She went from needing a tutor to making straight A’s and a great student! Then the doctor suggested Adderoll XR, which only seemed to work for about 2 or 3 hours. So, we went back to regular Adderoll. After about a year and a half, we tried Vyvanse which didn’t seem to help as well so I went back to the Adderoll again. After a couple of months, I could’t take it anymore. So, I talked to the doctor about other options again and since the adderoll seemed to help the best and she wasn’t old enough or weigh enough for a higher dose we added Intuniv. Now, she acts normal. The Adderoll helped with the concentration and the Intuniv helped with the hyper activity. 

    Before having her medicated I tried therapy, exercising, and a different diet. Nothing worked. Medication was a my last resort, but has made a huge impact in her life. The only side effect to the Adderoll was weight loss, but the Intuniv has made her gain weight, so she is back to stable.  If your child has ADHD and you have tried everything else, talk to your child’s pediatrician. 

  9. I look back on my elementary years and it makes me sick to know that my mom fell for the “your kid has ADD” trend. I wish I was never prescribed half of this junk. I formed tics and began to not eat. I would have wild melt downs when the drugs were wearing off. I highly recommend EVERYONE to rethink about your child being forced to take an ADHD pill and be sucked into this sicking lie of greed these medical companies have. Stay strong and remember that kids have LOTS OF ENERGY!! you most likely did too when you were a kid!!!! Too many kids have been diagnosed ADHD and it’s disgusting to think of how many DONT!!! Would you give your child illegal drugs like Meth that alter the brain?? Probably not. Then why would you give your child a potent drug that can permanently altering their neurons like these ones listed above? These medications should only be used for severe.. and I mean extreme severe which most diagnosed children aren’t!

  10. I grew up from the age of 6 thrugh high school on medications for adhd. i started off taking ritalin three times a day but the dose was smaller through out the day then i took concerta and ended with adderral and i really feel like concerta did well. after about a year of being on adderrall i told my mom i wasnt going to be taking it anymore because it made me feel like a zombie and i just wasnt myself on it

  11. Shamika-

    My son has had issues with weight loss also. The doc put him on Cyproheptad 4mg to increase his appetite. He has gained weight and is growing taller again. He stopped growing because he wasn’t eating, not because the Vyvanse stunted his growth. The doc said he has started puberty, so everything was good except the weight. I know it’s overwhelming to put your child on another med, but my son is thriving and happy. Untreated, ADHD can lead to bigger problems when they are teenagers.

    Please forgive my earlier post that got quite lengthy also!

  12. I completely agree with Garrett Foster. I am 44 years old and newly diagnosed with ADD after being unsuccessfully treated for depression. Please do not consider medications a bad thing. I am also the parent of a child with ADHD. Because I was an “A” student in school and not hyperactive, the signs were missed and I have overcompensated my whole life for the ADD. I have developed debilitating fibromyalgia and my family life has suffered significantly. After the death of my mother, I was unable to get out of bed for weeks. Untreated, ADD/ADHD can cause significant damage to the rest of your body. When asked if I would allow my child to take medication for ADHD, I replied, “I would not deny my husband insulin for his diabetes, why would I deny my son medication for his MEDICAL condition?”
    It is very scary to put a small child on meds, but you are trying to help them cope with their condition. We did try behavior therapy and it helps, but you can not control the medical part with behavior therapy. My son is doing very well on Vyvanse. I am still trying to figure out the right med and dose for myself. I have been researching the differences in ADD-inattentive and ADHD and am realizing there is a big difference in the way they are treated with medication. (dosage wise) Please remember that people with ADD/ADHD can not read long articles. It’s best to keep them short and to the point. Thank you.
    I would hate to see someone suffer as long as I did when there is help available..

  13. I have read all of ur posted and everyone have some good point. my son have adhd and he Is on vyvanse 20mg he take 1 every morning and It work for 12hour also my son is doin good in school now. The only thing I dont like about this med is that my 8year old loss a l*t of weight do any one no about any good med that goin to make him gain is weight back 

  14. I thought this article might have been written by someone that knows jack shit about ADHD.

    And then I saw #10 – HA-HA.

    Sure, I’ll go excercise every day, as soon as the planets are aligned and I’m both able to force myself to get off my ass to exercise, AND I remember to do it on a daily basis.

  15. Hi, im a 16 year old highschool student and i was diagnosed with ADD of the inetentive type (“lazy”) and i just wanted to share my experience with ADD medication and try and help give some of you concerned parents out there a perspective from the “childs” point of view. I was originaly seeing a phyciatrist for depression because my school counsler thought i was depressed which ill admit i was a little but the problem seemd deeper then that to me. After discussing my problems with my phyciatrist,(problems being: zero motivation to do anything to the point where getting up in the morning was an intense struggle, terrible trouble concentrating on things from minor tasks like doing the dishes or more major things like sitting down and getting homework done without getting easily distracted) he sent me to get a phyciatric evaluation test done which finally revealed the real problem. I had ADD and they described it as an inetentive type meaning it appeared as if i have zero concern about school when really an inbalance of chemicals in my brain were making me feel this way so my doctor perscribed me 10mg of ritalin2xs daily after a month of taking the ritalin i noticed a VERY insignificant change, it was helping me concentrate a little but it was almost unoticable(especially to my teachers on account of my grades where still slipping)and it didnt give me the energy boost i needed to get me up in the morning after talking to my doctor again and telling him about the problems with the ritalin he perscribed me 20mg adderall XR and i noticed an imediate change in my overall attidue towards school and an incredible improvment with my energy and in my ability to get myself out of bed in the morning. In my opinion theres nothing wrong with putting a child on medication if it means helping them, that doesnt mean you should get your child on a medication and assume the problem is fixed. ADD/ADHD can be a tricky, complicated disorder to treat, you have to remember that every child is different and one medication that works good for one child might not work at all for another, so somtimes treating ADD succesfully can take many doctor appointments and many perscription changes to figure out the drug the fits to your childs specific needs. you have to take into account your childs age, wheather or not your childs hyperactive or inetentive, and the weight and height of you child to determine specific drug and dosage. but it is also your job as parents to keep an eye on you kid(s) and watch for any abnormal behavoir and sit down with you kid(s) every now and then and discuss how they feel and if they are having any problems that theyd like to talk about. you should never be forceful with these kinds of things, discuss with your child wheather or not they feel the need to be on medication and itd be best to describe to them exactly what ADD is and how it effects them cause this stuff can be very confusing a frustrating for children especially younger ones. I feel itd be best to wait untill your child is mature enough to understand the situation  and be able to recognize wheather or not a medication is helping the situation or making things worse…. as a teenager I wish that my parents would have tried to be involved in my acedemics a little more when i was in elementary school because i feel that my ADD didnt develope until about 4th grade(age 10) around the same time my grades started seriously slipping and it took 5 years and a nervouse breakdown at school to get my parents to realize that i wasnt just lazy and that i actually needed medical help. so as a teenagers advice to you parents i would suggest getting your child a phyciatric evaluation every couple of years if possible, just to make sure you can catch the problem as soon as possible cause the sooner you find the problem the easier it will be to correct it
    So i guess thats all the advice i have to share im sorry for the long drawn out unorganized explaination(the true work of an ADD patient :p) and i hope i helped some of you mas and pas out there its nice to see so many concerned parents working together to help their children better themselves and i hope you all succeed  

  16. My son was diagnosed with ADHD however he does not have the hyperness, but is strugling in school. He’s very good in science and spelling. He’s having trouble in math and compehending. I feel like the Dr’s aren’t really concerned. He’s currently on Aderall XR and I’m not real impressed with it. When I look up Ritlin , concerta cocmes up. Is this the generic brand for Ritlin?

  17. Hi everyone! My son was 8 in August and was diagnosed with ADHD in early September. Originally he was put on 5mg of Ritalin 3x a day to increase to 10mg 3x a day in a week. My husband and I noticed great changes in his focus and behavior right away but when he moved to the 10mg dose his dreams were becoming “real” at his mid day dose. Now he has changed to concerta and is at 18mg. I have read all of the side effects, warnings and potential for long term effects and I’ll admit it’s got me concerned. My son is a healthy child except for having asthma and eczema. My question is who’s kiddos have been on this and should I really be this worried? Thanks!!

  18. I’ve posted here before and wanted to remind those who are choosing to work with medication for their growing children…my kiddo had a pretty substantial growth spurt this year (especially since we did the drug holiday over Summer).  He grew several inches taller and gained between 23-25 lbs.  Anyway, while he stayed with Daytrana, after he explained his challenges to his pediatrician, she upped the size of the patch which contains a little more medication which does help him get through the entire day’s activities.  As they grow, they need adjustments to their meds.  What worked last year or the year before may not work this year with this year’s demands and extra-cirricular activities.  Don’t guess at new dosages yourself but do bring it up to your child’s doctor for review.  Our doctor even used questionnaires back in elementary school that she had me deliver to my son’s teachers, coach, music teacher, etc. so everyone’s perspective could be included in her active monitoring of his ADD and how he acted at 10AM vs. 2:30PM and we learned that extended release didn’t work but that two doses of “regular” medication evenly spaced through the day better met his needs.  Also, don’t be embarrassed to hire a tutor or advocate for your child.  This is their big chance to enjoy learning and make good study habits without shouting, yelling or being told they’re lazy.  Please support them any way you can.  Not all the schools are cookie cutter and you can add a lot of learning to what they are “assigned” to learn at school.  We’ve found that our son learns so very much on field trips which complement what he is learning in his classroom.  Meds can be helpful but they don’t excuse us from being active and advocating parents.  I wish the best to all in finding those extra hours in the day…for some of us and especially those of us with ADD, it may mean that we give up some of the things we love – at least for a while – but, it will be worth it for our kids in the long run.  They’re only with us a short time.  Sleepless in Colorado…

  19. I want to add my personal story and thoughts to this stream. As an educator and as a parent of a child with ADHD I do think that medication can be helpful but I think it should be done at the lowest dose possible. I only want my child, really anyone’s child, to be able to focus and feel successful in school. I do not agree with ADHD medication to MAKE a child behave – for the most part I think teachers can implement behavior plans and reward systems to help. Only if a child is severely impulsive should you look at meds for behavior – in my opinion. However, I also think one should consider the amount of anxiety that often accompanies ADHD. My son, without his meds, is highly anxious to the point o tears with homework and tests. He also has great diffiuclty understanding the consequences of his behavior without meds. He only takes 5 mg of generic Ritalin once a day. No side effects in the last year and half. I plan to keep him on a low dose as he learns to control his ADHD. I find it very difficult to teach a child to recognize and control the symptoms if they are not first on medication in order to truely feel and understand the difference. I will add as well that when attempting medication, not only do you need to take the class of medication into consideration, you also have to look at whether or not XR will work. XR did not work for him. Finally, academically, the low dose has made a huge difference. Within just the first 2 weeks of Daytrana (our original medication that insurance did not cover) his grades improved from 50’s to 80’s. I remember studying every day of the week to learn spelling and the frustration that came with it when he still could not pass and then the excitement and relief after meds when he started passing. Homework time was much more pleasant, shorter, and tearfree after meds. I really feel like my son would have been a potential drop out without meds because in first grade he already hated school. 3 years later, he has stopped saying that he hates school and has learned to read. We have a 504 plan in place to meet his ADHD needs (extended time, frequent breaks, etc) because medication is not the only answer and I will not increase meds to try to eliminate all symptoms. As I already mentioned, I think that a low dose of meds to simply improve focus is enough. His teachers have been very cooperative and I have been fortunate to have teachers who truely understand ADHD. I know not everyone is as fortunate. Because of that, I would recommend that if you feel like your child needs some minor accomodations in the classroom, you should request consideration of a 504 plan for your child; a legal document (not part of special education) that will require teachers to meet your child’s needs – not your child meet the cookie cutter. :)

  20. @ Jennifer
    I think you are right that too much is expected of kids now. I also agree that kids get into trouble for being kids.
    My son is only 5 and he is on medication. He was getting into to trouble all the time at school. My wife and I took him to a Neurologist. These Neurologists get into it a lot deeper than the family doctors do and they specialize in the brain which is very important to me since that is my childs brain they are messing with.
    With Concerta, the only caution that I can give you is if your child is playing an active sport (football, basketball, soccer) talk to your doctor about another medication. My nephew dropped to his knees on the football field with chest pain. His doctor told him that it was very common to have these kind of issues with Concerta while playing a sport like football.

  21. Ok here are my views on ADHD meds.  I have a 12 year old son who is currently taken Concerta.  He started it when he was 9.  He has always had problems at school with behaving, paying attention, easily distracted…..ect….I ignored these problems because I didn’t want my child on meds.  The main reason that I had trouble with even bringing it up to the doctor was because my other son (who is no 14)  had been put on meds previously.  While seeing the psychiatrist I expressed my concerns with different types of medications and we decided concerta would be a good fit for him.  Well the concert worked for a few hours a day and she decided to put him on something else in the afternoons to get him through the day (ritalin).  I wouldn’t give it to him.  I felt betrayed by the doctor because this was one of the meds that I didn’t want my son on.  So at the end of the school year we took him off of the medicines all together. He has never been on medicine for ADHD again.  With this child I honestly believe that he was just a little immature at the time.  He has been evaluated since and has not been diagnosed with ADHD since.  Back to my 12 year old.  By the time he got to 4th grade he hated school, he was labeled a BAD kid, was making horrible grades, and arguing with adults.  He had a wonderful teacher that year that called me often and expressed her concerns.  I took him to the doctor and he was diagnosed ADHD he has been on concerta ever since.  The dosage has went up over the years, but it works really well for him.  He is excelling in school and rarely gets in any trouble.  The only side effect he suffers from is loss of appetite.  I can maintain his weight by feeding him foods high in protein and having dinner a little latter when the meds have wore off.  I really don’t have anything bad to say about the experience with my 12 year old.  

    Now my 8 year old is starting meds today for ADD.  I still waited a little bit before talking with his doctor about some things that have been going on with him.  He has a cognitive learning disability (short term memory loss)  He is getting extra help in the classroom now and seems to be doing better.  I’m hoping with the addition of meds that he will really be able to excel.  

    In closing I think that society look at the behavior of kids has changed.  I think they expect more out of kids now days.  They get in trouble too much for just being kids.  I think there are too many kids on meds that honestly don’t need them either because of doctors, parents, or teachers trying to make their lives easier.  I think the bottom line is to do what is in the best interest for the kids to make sure that they succeed in live.

  22. DiagnosedDiabetes at age 15,plus later in life……… at age 42…ADHD, Poor grades growing up, Consintration DIFFICULT, RUE & INTERRUPTED (still struggle) Dico-booberated….can not finf or remember where I just laid down items, or daily schedule. Or what I’m headed to the store for.
    SHORT term memory ……limited.

    18 years AGO A WONDERFUL MD, PHd. FINALLY LISTENED to my symptoms, & other health ISSUES………Along with COMPLEX COMPONENTS of JUVENILE DIABETES, 45 yrs NOW.

    DUE TO MY NEDICATIONS I AM able to KEEP MY BLOOD SUGARS REGULATED, & other health conditions under control & SO-O-O far kept OUTof a HOSPITAL FOR ANY COMPLICATIONS.

    Have 3 adult children, & my husband 2 grown also. 8 total GRAND.

    I am having a difficult time accepting our health cares STEREO TYPING PATIENTS & putting innocient PATIENTS IN WRONG CATIGORIES. I JUST realized there is no real taskforce, OR ADVOCACY for VICTIMS of RESEACH PROGRAMS, HIPAA VIOLATIONS, & COMMUNITY HEALTH PROGRAMS.

    If anyone has reliable patient victim referral info……….please email it.

    NO Patient or DIABETIC should be misrepresented, denied referral MD’s Or the right to be heard legally, or access to federal, & state policies. PUBLIC POSTINGS 24-7 of WARNING OF CHANGES OF POLICIES, in offices & other policies.(GOV., STATE, COUNTY, CITY.)

    Patients get DROPPED, if they are LATE, FORGET APPT. don’t pay bills on time (POLICIES NEED PUBLIC ATTENTION. for the sake of DIABETES HEALTH & SAFTEY.

  23. I am 35 yrs. old and have read almost all of the comments on here…I was shocked to read that one message telling Erik they disagreed with how he felt about ADD…I have had this since I was a child, my parents didn’t put me on medication, I was so bored in school, couldn’t concentrate…to make it short, I wish I would have been put on meds to treat my condition so I could have done good in school and done better with life changing decisions when school was done. but since i was so bored in school i didnt choose to go on and that really bothers me…we only get one chance at life and if we dont do it right there are no chances to go back and fix things…so I would NEVER ignore ADD and let your child go through school as i did, I remember I had a science test and the info. on the chapter was very interesting to me and I read it and because of my interest, i got the highest test score the next day and I never studied again. I look back and realize all this stuff now..at that time i didn’t know why i beat the whole class..I didnt know why i couldnt concentrate..my parents did, and ignored it. I could have been very successful and became something great, not that its too late for me but I wish I would have had the chance to do it back in school when a person makes life choices..so parents w/ children who have this problem, please dont waste their days…they are smart, sometimes smarter than average, thats why it is hard to concentrate…Give them the chance they deserve, each person in this world is differant and unique…

  24. @Erik
    I understand how you feel about the school being a cookie cutter style that seems to want all kids to be the same. You have to remember if you and your ex-wife are unable to agree on what to do it is only going to hurt your son. There are many different levels and types of ADHD and you can not be sure where your son is unless you have had him checked by a neurologist. A neurologist may tell you that the school system is full of it and your son is just being a boy or they may tell you he has an extreme case of ADHD with violent tendencies and if you son is not medicated he will not make it through a normal cookie cutter school system. He is your son and if he is like mine it looks like he will really excel in sports. With help from you and your ex-wife along with possibly a little help from a professional your son may not need to be medicated for long. My son was put on medication this year and we are hoping to have him off of meds and to be able to control himself in two years.

  25. @Erik
    Here are a couple of books I would recommend:

    1) Learning outside the lines (I really like this book, not too sure how practical it will be for you but inspirational nonetheless- I highly recommend it!!)
    2) Delivered from Distraction/Driven to Distraction (Again, HIGHLY recommended!!)
    3) ADD Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life
    4) You mean I am not Lazy, Crazy or Stupid






    If you end up getting that Amen book I would be very interested in hearing about what you think. I looked at it briefly in Borders shortly before I got diagnosed but chose to shy away from it in favor if the books I mentioned above.

    Regarding your last comment- could not agree more. ADHD sucks, it really does. It has made my life unbelievably difficult largely because everyone around me denied that I had a problem other than laziness and disorganization, But it comes with some significant benefits if properly harnessed. My advice: get your kid going on a really good system of organization early! New habits can be hard to fun,. especially when they require work, but old habits are very hard to break!

  26. @ Ben
           Thanks, I will purchase and read this book.  You know, unlike the school officials and my ex-wife, I see my son’s ‘difference’ as an asset that will enable him to excel in a world expects only equivalency.  The struggle is only in making him fit into their cookie cutter school system…   Thanks again!

  27. @ Eric..  As a parent with ADHD and as an individual with ADHD.. I would read this book.. it has many different techniques for parents and teachers to help with ADHD children.. I felt I knew alot about ADHD, but until I read this book I knew Nothing.   //www.amazon.com/Healing-ADD-Breakthrough-Program-Allows/dp/0425183270    Dr Amen is “the leading authority” on ADHD, He is a pioneer in the field.

  28. I just noticed the time on my previous post. I just posted it 5 seconds ago. That’s how long it took me to get it “done.”

  29. I just sat here and (tried to) read all of these posts, and some of you brought tears to my eyes.
    I am 36 yrs old, and I am “Mom” to 2 little girls, ages 3 & 5.
    When I was 6 or 7, my pediatrician told mom that I had ADHD, and recommended I be put on Ritalin. She grew up in 1950’s RURAL America, and would not medicate me. And I wonder all the time- would I be suffering so much now if she had? Would it have made any difference?
    My best friends’ 9 yr old was diagnosed with this, and that is when I started to look into the disorder. I read an ADHD pamplet and it was like a light bulb lit, a siren went off and all the pieces finally fit. When I first went to the dr. I was a total mess. And had been for a while. I was “diagnosed” with depression-again, and prescribed Celexa. While it did make me less emotional, it had no effect whatsoever on my lack of focus, short attention span, disorganization, fidgeting & pacing, boredom, intrusiveness….you all know what I mean. I was getting really close to the point of not wanting to be around myself, and it was blurting this out, I think, that made her listen to me when I told her-again-that I AM NOT DEPRESSED! I knew that I had ADHD, I just nedded her to confirm it.
    Finally, she gave me the quiz in the DSR-IV, or DSM-IV, or whatever that book is called. I have every single symptom in every category. Every single one. I started rattling out examples of my behavior every time she read off a symptom. And then she finally got it. And now I am on Adderall.
    I was worried at first because you hear alot of bad things about it being abused and addictive, but if kids take it, why couldn’t I? She only wants me to take one dose a day, which makes me feel decent for the first few hours of the day. So I cut them in half and took the halves about five hours apart, which made me feel Not Quite Decent, for the majority of the day. It just wasn’t enough medication.
    I’m only taking 10 mg per day. but anyway, she switched me to the XR, which is more consistent, but still not really strong enough, and it’s hard to fall and stay asleep now. She also tried me on Welbutrin, before the XR, but in addition to, the instant release Adderall, and it CAUSED me to be depressed. I took myself off of it, and haven’t cried for no reason since. It made me crazy…
    Anyway, I definately feel better ON medication, because without it, I barely function. And I can function now, I’m still un-focussed, disorganized, scatter-brained, I guess? (I haven’t proofread this post, so you can probably see that for yourself.) I still lose time, and I still feel like I’m racing to catch up to something.
    On the upside- while I still jump from one task to another, then another- I am more likely to actually complete one of them now, I don’t feel worthless or useless anymore, and I don’t fidget as much as I used to. I set alarms on my cell phone now, to remind me to do things, in case I lose track of time. And that sounds so simple, I know, just setting an alarm- but before the meds, I couldn’t even do that. I would get distracted by something and forget what I meant to do. I have an alarm everyday at 2:45, to remind me to pick up my oldest daughter from kindergarten, because pre-school was a nightmare for me. I almost forgot her twice. And most people don’t understand how someone can forget to do something that they do every single day. Something as important as picking up your child from school.
    I don’t know if I need a higher dose or a different medication. My doc has said that Vyvanse is a viable option.
    I don’t know….
    But I need to finish this post. I’ve left and came back to it 3 times. I was gonna say twice, but then I left again.
    There are so many things that I wanted to mention on here, but they’re gone now. maybe I will be able to post more later.
    I’m sorry this has been so long and still pointless.
    Good luck to us all.

  30. I just finally read what the side effects of risperdal are no wonder ive gained like 20 pounds and now have high blood pressure wth!!! calling shrink tomorrow!

  31. I was one of those guys just like Erik, I did not believe in medication. My nephew was on meds and I thought it was terrible. My son is a handful, he has been diagnosed by a Neurologist to have ADHD. We started him on a stimulant, and he started having headaches. We now have put him on a non stimulant, and it helps. He still has issues listening and controlling himself. I have found that him exercising really seems to help. I can really tell the difference in nights that he has exercised and nights that he has not. We are also taking him to a counselor and she is telling us about a program called positive parenting and also saying that he has to be on a schedule. Working on the schedule and the positive parenting, but excersing and a small amount of medication really seems to be doing the trick. My advise is to see a Neurologist, don’t leave this up to your family doctor. This is our kids mind that is being messed with and I know that my kids mind is important enough to have a specialist.

  32. I am the mom of a 14 year old teen who is a freshman in HS (a year early by his choice).  He has benefited by ADD meds since 2nd grade though I tried “natural” remedies such as flax seed oil for Omegas and counseling/coaching from age 3 through 2nd grade.  Counseling continued but difficult behavioral issues surfaced and with the assistance of my mother who is a skilled special education teacher and physicians who did a lot of reading and researching for our son, we permitted him to try ADD meds in applesauce.  We saw good success but I immediately began to teach him how to read his own body.  I would ask him how his body felt when he took the meds, when off the meds or when he forgot to use his Daytrana patch or whatever the medicine at the time way.  He has tried 3 different meds over the years.  We  have also allowed him to take a med vacation for Summers, especially to bring his weight up as a lack of appetite is a constant struggle although being a teen is helpful for this! He’s now 6’2″ and just added 23 pounds to his lean frame of 120 pounds.  He now communicates with ME and asks me to schedule a visit with his doctor about the efficacy of his meds – a month into this school year he told ME his meds are no longer covering his entire school day (since HS starts so early and adds even more after school activities).  The point is that he now understands how his body works, how the meds affect his personality (sometimes he is a poker face) and when he can leave the meds at home.  Still, he NEVER tells anyone at school and never wants to share his experiences with any kids – he will be stigmatized.  LONG TERM POINT:  There are serious side effects to these meds which require constant vigilance including consistency and communication with a doctor but the medication can assist some kids.  My husband keeps wishing that someday our son will wake up without this but has accepted that view is unrealistic and we rejoice in both small and large successes.  Those first few years took a lot of EXTRA time and love, choose what is best for your kiddo and do not feel guilty as you know your child and what they need.  Don’t forget to ask the kid…they have a lot of insight, even when young and frustrated!

  33. HI everyone, I’ve posted in this forum previously and I keep returning to read all the posts. They are all very personal stories. I just want to say thank you all for sharing because it puts my own situation into perspective. My husband and I have been fighting like cats and dogs since my son was very young about his “condition”. He understands that he has ADHD but at the same time he still continues to call him lazy, just not wanting to apply himself. Blah,Blah. What makes me very upset is his lack of understanding or wanting to understand. We’ve been very torn about medicating vs. not medicating and the various school districts that we’ve been exposed to have all tried to “force” it on us. We’ve tried 4 medications(metadate, focalin, concerta, intuniv). They’ve all had bad side effects except intuniv. I’m not saying that meds are a magic bullet because they are not. But if you’ve found the right one, you will know! Your child becomes more positive and productive and raising your kid to do better in life and in school does not seem like you’re rolling a huge boulder up a very steep long hill!! I am very supportive of my child because I feel like I truly understand him but I also have ADHD and I am not medicated and life still seems like it’s an uphill struggle – especially with organizing and time. Seconds and minutes pass into hours for me and if I am not doing something or keeping busy with managing my life, life just passes me by. I cannot do that to my child! I’ve got to keep going. Stay on top – be good parents to your children. Be more free with your love and keep being patient because hearing that you are lazy and stupid DESTROYS a person’s self – whether they are young or not so young! I’ve heard those 2 phrases all my life and after a while, you kind of start to believe it to be true. Do not do that to your kids! If you are feeling overwhelmed, take a break or find someone to support you. If you take it out on your kids, they will end up feeling terrible as they grow and start to believe in what you say in frustration. I can honestly say that from my own personal experience. As far as medication, my son has done better with it than off. I’m thinking of doing the same for myself. The frustration that I feel about raising a child with ADHD and also having it myself untreated just makes life so hard. I love my child, I know everyone loves their kids here too and I can see that the thing with meds is a huge controversy. It’s also a personal decision – if you are unsure, keep trying to find the right one, then try going off the medication and see what the result is. We’ve done that with each med and I noticed that despite the differences, my son is still better on them than off. Yes, I agree ADHD is extremely painful! Not being organized or noticing how time passes just SUCKS
    ! I see that with my boy, he is excellent in math but reading and writing is hard for him and he is only in the 4th grade and without the meds, he acts like I am killing him. Once he went on the Intuniv, he was a little more focused, less angry, made less noises in school, and getting him to wash up in the morning and night was not an all out battle in the trenches. He even made his bed without me telling him to do it the first time he was on this med. Overall, I saw an improvement. ADHD is also something that manifests differently in everyone. While some people can be ultra creative others just get by. The only reason why there is no “cure” for this is because it’s almost like the common cold and you can see by all the posts here that everyone has tried different meds with different effects and their kids are different ages and they are all differnet ages themselves. Sorry for this long post and I have gotten off topic but I hope that by following my thread, there can be more of an understanding rather than a hardcore view of what it is or what it isn’t and how to treat it. The worst thing that a person can do is make the people that have it feel like sh-t. We should all be more understanding and try to fix the situation rather than make it worse. I’ve also at one point did get frustrated with my child, and the look in his eyes when he was doing something that should be easy like the simple task of washing up is heartbreaking because you’re wondering why is it so hard to do when I see other children doing the same thing without difficulty? When you have ADHD it’s just SO hard. Period. How do you tell your mommy and daddy that?Still trying to figure that out. Now that the summer is over and I gave him a medication vacation, he is starting once again to falter, so I’m putting him back on the Intuniv, it’s what works for us. He feels more in control and not so frustrated in school once it gets back into his system. I just hope that I can find my own way with medicating myself because I’m sick and tired of being so frustrated with doing the simple stuff. It’s just depressing and I don’t want my child to feel that way for the rest of HIS life. I hope people understand.

  34. I grew up not knowing I had ADD for 17 years. Once I hit the public school systems I immeditately had social problems, talking issues, I’d lose everything, disorganized beyond belief and could not focus! I was put through hell by my teacher’s because, they would just blame me for not “trying hard enough”. When it was not that at all. I would excell in certain subjects beyond what teacher’s could even grasp (at 9 I had the vocabulary of a senior in high school). BUT my math performance was that of a first grader on a bad day. Now that I’ve gone off on a rant my point is…without being aware of my excecutive functioning issues which plays a MASSIVE part in the issues one must face with ADD. I definitely became depressed with my life because of my low impulse control, inability to focus and overall something in me I just could not understand. My son is 5 who is now only diagnosed on the Autism spectrum, but I do believe he also has ADHD. I can’t for sure say how I will face the choices of medication. It’s unfair to put a child through that confusion, fustration and sadness of themselves. Since he is not diagnosed I am now just doing supplements/diets to help mildly with his symptoms. Being on Adderall and Wellbutrin has changed my life. I don’t have all these crazy side effects of Adderall because I feel it’s what my brain truely needs. NOT just medication to get high, lose weight or make me way more productive because without it my life is hell. Not on it: I accomplish nothing, spend money impulsively, just have no self control, Irritability, sadness, disorganized and I can’t keep a relationship with anyone if I wanted to. I pretty much destroyed my late teen years/ early twenties because I had no clue of what was going on with me. I was just a tornado of wreckless ideas and desicions. Now it’s time for me to fix it (I’m in nursing school), and I will never allow my son to go down the same path I did due to, “just not knowing or being scared” because I’ve did that already and it’s my turn to guide him through this life. He’s brilliant and will be able to accomplish so much. I know he was given to me for a reason, because I’ve already gone through the trials and sadness. But I’ll do all in my power for him not to. His additional issues with his Autism makes it especially hard for us, but he’s a fighter and has been since day one. The acceptance of him for who he is has really been the hardest for me because I just want to wave my wand, and fix him. I didn’t want him to have to go through what I did. Not even remotely. Sometimes I feel even though it seems children with ADD/ADHD are tough kids; I’ve come to realize that they are probably one of the most fragile. Growing up the world is confusing enough, and now adding to confusion/fustration is your own actions. Adding in all these adults being angry at you…and it’s just your brain doing what it thinks it suppose to. Even though I am going into the nursing field- I still feel this deep desire to be an advocate for children with Autism/LD’s because what they and their parent’s go through is NOT FAIR. Eventually when it’s too late society will see that. I’m sure I’ll figure something out and this is just the beginning of my quest. Good luck to all the parent’s and other adults coping with any disability. No matter what you feel you haven’t done; in your own right you’ve probably accomplished so much and be proud of that everyday. What you think you “failed” upon; go back and find a new way to accomplish it because you can and so can your children.

  35. Thank you everyone who posted on this ADD site.  I was  recently diagnosed with ADD.  My current doctor is worthless (Kaiser) and no help from anyone there as well.  I am in the process of cancelling my Insurance since they do not have any theropists that specializ in ADD or ADHD.  They just hand me over to a social worker that has zero training for this condition.  I have been taking Adderall & Wellbutrin combined & it seems to work.  I will let everyone how it has worked.  Good luck everyone..

  36. I see from the list above of the medications for ADHD, you all left off the Daytrana patch. Any reason why this med was left off your list? My son has been on it for about 4 years now and it works great during school hours. It keeps he really focused and controlled, but it does suppress his appetite. However, later in the afternoon or early evening when the meds leave his system, he can become irritable and/or grouchy and of course full of energy again. I only use this basically for his school hours or events that he would need to be less active., afterall kids need to be kids and the outdoors activities during summer helps him use up his energy.

  37. @Erik:

    I disagree with everything in your post. I have ADD- a rather severe case. When I was in elementry school, I consistantly did well. I excelled in all my classes but it was a struggle and it was exhausting. I was always miserable and frustrated by how difficult I found it to focus and study. My parents felt from an early age that I had ADD, but our pediatrician always asked to see my report card. She felt that since I was doing well, I must have not suffered from ADD.
    ADD and academic achievement are not analogous to, say, depression and emotion. ADD is not fun. I hate it. I suffer from OCD as well. I went through an intense episode with OCD and my grades suffered my junior year of high school. I was a basket case. Through therapy, I was able to cope with OCD. But ADD is different. I can’t cope without medication, and it isn’t simply because I never tried alternatives. In fourth grade, I used to schedule study time after school and I exercised daily, but no matter what I would be in tears after trying for an hour to complete a simple assignment be kt because I was bored out of my mind or frustrated because it was literally painful to try to focus on a task for longer than 5 minutes. You don’t take ADD medication to help a C student become an Honor Roll student- you take the medication to treat ADD. ADD is terrible. It does not make me more creative, or witty, or charismatically quirky. It makes me completely miserable. Your child will struggle if his ADD is as severe as mine. ADD is never, ever a good thing.

  38. @Tabatha:
    Hi Tabatha, thats a tough one. I would never pretend that the issue of medicating a child is ever a simple issue. I am a new parent myself (My daughter just turned one in January), personally I am very hesitant to give her any medications for anything even if a doctor recommends it. It seems to me that ADHD is a medical issue, but also has a strong behavioral component. Personally, I would be inclined to find a good counselor for your son and see what they have to say.
    As I learn more and more about ADHD, and particularly as I reflect more and more on my own life, I am beginning to realize that ADHD is a very interesting state of mind, I am beginning to feel that calling it a “disorder” while technically correct, tends to miss some important facts. Particularly, I tend to spend a lot of time at ADDForums.com. One thing that I see there (and this has been corroborated in some of my reading) is a lot of ADHD sufferers possessing a heightened sense of creativity and a strong ability to “think outside the box.”
    I do not know if the science corroborates this or not, but I definitely have always been one of those kids that thinks radically differently from everyone else. Before I ever knew I had ADHD, I used to say that this was the quality that I appreciated about myself most.
    My point here is that when thinking about ADHD- while medication can be very effective, I think it is very important to consider the big picture of ADHD and that is that ADHD seem to me to be an intelligence profile which differs significantly from the norm. For many, this difference affords many great gifts. A counselor, trained in learning disabilities, could help your son read his/her full potential by helping him to overcome the challenges associated with the condition, while helping to identify any gifts which may have come with it. At least that is my current thinking.

    @Erik: Boy, isn’t that the question of the century! First off, one of the hardest things for me, with respect to undiagnosed ADHD, has been moral judgments associated with it. What I mean by that is, instead of parents and teachers acknowledging that I had a medical/behavioral problem which could be helped by medication and lead to behaviors which I limited personal control over- it was assumed that since I was such a bright kid (their wording- I promise, I am not trying to toot my own horn here), obviously I could complete my homework if I really wanted to- I was just lazy.
    Laziness is usually assumed to be a choice, and generally carries with it negative connotations. What my parents did not understand was that I actually wanted to succeed- I really did, but my sense of time management was totally messed up (still is, this is one of my major symptoms- people with ADHD often completely underestimate how long activities should take). Coupled with the fact that staying focused on homework took an act of congress for me as a kid (except for science class- I was always about 3 grades ahead, don’t know why but I had no problems with science as a kid). By about 3rd or 4th grade, I gave up and accepted that I was just lazy and was bad a school.
    Now, what could my parents have done differently? First off, they could have sought a deeper understanding of my problems. My Mom did take me to a counselor when I was young because I had problems making friends- but I don’t remember ever following up. She did approach me around middle school or early high school (I think) asking if I had heard of ADHD and wondering if I thought I might have it- but I did not know what it was at the time. She chose not to get me evaluated out of fear that I would be labeled and medicated to death.
    Even if my parents had not chosen to medicate me, I needed help staying organized and on task. I never learned organizational skills at home as a kid- not that I remember at least. I learned that as an adult. I also never properly learned how to study- it was kind of assumed that I would figure it out like most kids. The problem here is that even if study skills are taught in school- kids with ADHD do not learn the same ways that “normal” kids do (at least I don’t). So had my parents sought a deeper understanding, they might have known how best to coach me academically. A counselor could have helped with this as well I am certain.
    Most importantly, my parents could have helped me understand that my problem was not laziness (in fact, as an adult, I tend to pull 14 hour work days. When I am working and not a student I am happiest when working multiple jobs- I love work! I rarely ever veg on the couch and watch TV. My PS3 is collecting dust. As a kid I would read everything I could get my hands on for fun. I started writing software when I was like 9 years old. When I am on academic break, I spend all of my spare time at Starbucks studying books on Logic and Non-Standard Analysis (a theory in Math)- I do not think I am lazy, if anything I need to slow down a bit), my problem was that I thought about things a little differently and needed to adjust the way I approached learning and life to accommodate that. Those moral judgments really go a long way and have far-reaching, often unforeseen consequences.

    That was a really long response! I hope that helps.

  39. @Ryan

    Thank you very much for your [personal] insight. It is very difficult to first accept that your child is different from others, and then try to find your way through all of the “miracle fix’s,” to a solution that will truly improve the life of your child.  I am most intrigued by your statement that you were one of those “really bright children that didn’t apply himself”  How could have your parents [assuming they knew your difference] helped you apply yourself academically?  

    @ Carmen

    There are many books, friends, family members, doctors who are all to eager to tell us how to raise, feed, medicate and otherwise guide the life of our children; but, we must remember that we are parents!  As parents we have only one task…that is to provide our children with thoughtful parenting.  Remember, forty years ago the suggestion we would be getting is to have a pre-frontal Lobotomy…it’s our job as parents to protect our children.  My advice as a parent to a parent…if you’re not 100% sure, don’t do anything until you are!  

  40. I am not really sure about giving my teenage son medication for adhd because of the side affect he feel. He is taking 18mg of Concerta once a day. He says that his neck gets really tight and hurts him and he also complains about really  anxiety. I am really concern about his side affects. He took this medication before and develop tick and was taken off by a doctor. Now we are back to taking medication now that his is a teenager but I dont know if these side affect will wear off or get worst. I am so lost when it comes to all this. 

  41. i just wanted to thank erik for his post. ive been fighting putting my son on meds for 12 years now. he has always made honor roll, excels in every subject imaginable. we have actually switched school districts because of harassing phone calls from a principal demanding i put my son on meds. one visit to the school and the principal clarified EXACTLY where his behavior was coming from. ive always said talk TO him, not AT him and most children with respond positively. my sons is easily distracted…as we all are when we finds things uninteresting. my son also has high functioning autism. im afraid that he wont be the same if i put him on medication. his intelligence floors me! his knowledge of history, different cultures and languages is amazing…he reads everything in site multiple times. we are caucasian yet he first counted in spanish. the topper was checking out at the store when he was 9 and he started speaking in greek to the cashier. i could bable all day and yes i also have adhd, but im worried and confused on what to do. any input or shared experiences with your child i would love to hear.
    and thank you ryan for your help.

  42. @Erik:
    He is excelling in all subjects but yet they want to hold him back?

    As far as medications vs. alternatives, I am not a health practitioner so take my thoughts as the thoughts of a kid that was not diagnosed and treated until adulthood, and as statements of personal experience and reflection rather than advice.

    As I mentioned, I was not treated as a kid, yet I think it is pretty clear I had a problem as a kid. I was always that “really bright kid who never applies himself.” My issue was never motivation per se, and was not laziness (not directly at least), it was ADHD. My parents tried their best but it was not enough. Why? Because they did not understand the nature of my problem.

    Medication is a choice that only you can make. I know for me, I talked at length above (in my comments) about the positive effects of Adderall that I have experienced. It definitely does make me more focused and makes my work easier. It does affect my anxiety as well, although this has largely gone away. I have not taken my Adderall in a couple of weeks; however, because I think I built up a tollerance to it and its effectiveness started to diminish. This coupled with the fact that last quarter I did not handle my stress well which ultimately did me in academically. I have decided to abstain from Adderall from the quarter and focus on my stress and anxiety.

    Ok, so now that I have gotten a bit off topic- here is my point. The fact that you are aware of your son’s condition is already a huge thing IMHO. I truely wish that my parents had made other choices for me. To this day, my Dad is convinced that I do not have ADHD- it really bothers me sometimes.

    If I were you, I would read as many books as I could get my hands on. Hollowell’s books are EXCELLENT (Delivered from Distraction, Driven to Distraction) I highly recommend them. I am generally not an emotional person by nature but his books have brought me to tears before. Another book I like (which may help you understand how to help your son succeed academically, and also another book which had a huge emotional impact on me- particularly the first chapter) is “Learning outside the lines” by Jonathan Mooney and David Cole. There are many books out there particularly targeted at parents of children with ADHD/LD, but I have never read any of them.

    Now, something I would advise. Whether you chose to utilize medication or not, my personal experience with respect to ADHD treatment, has been that medication does not fix everything- at least not for me. Try google searching ADHD coaching (although be careful as ADHD coaches are not required to obtain licenses or anything. Anyone can become an ADHD coach), or see if you can get your son some counseling. It would be a good idea for you to learn about ADHD coaching principles as well since you will, de facto, be a coach for him. I am not suggesting that you should pay $1000 for some internet course or anything like that- at least get a good book.

    Check out the following websites for some good general ADHD resources:

    //www.addforums.com/ (Definitely check this one out)

    I hope this helps. Post back if you need further ideas.

  43. I am very cautious of the use of medications (drugs) to adapt my six year old son into the cookie cutter educational system that he is currently immersed in.  The motivation for medication (coming from my ex-wife and school officials) is behavioral effect on his classmates.  He is excelling in all subjects and the two alternatives I have been offered thus far is “holding him back one year” and “medication” where are my resources for ADHD that include my role as a parent?  What parenting techniques and teaching techniques have been proven to provide success for children?  The side effects of the drugs listed here, quite frankly, scare the shit out of me….

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