ADHD stands for the attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder, which is the most common mental disorder diagnosed among children. A patient with ADHD experiences difficulties when it comes to focusing on a task, sitting still and self-control. These patients are usually unable to follow directions, hyperactive and unable to focus on finishing a given task. Unfortunately, there are no treatments that can cure ADHD fully; however, there are lots of treatment options. We want to focus on the numerous ADHD medications out there, especially on the most popular ones including Adderall, Ritalin, Focalin and many others.
Overview of ADHD Medications
You may wonder why there are so many different ADHD medications. What you need to understand is the fact that the Food and Drug Administration requires that all of the medications are given different names according to their form or release mechanism. So you have medications in the form of capsules, pills, patches and so on, and you also have medications that are released immediately or after a certain period of time – minutes or hours. That is how we have different medications being used to treat ADHD. All of these medications are prescribed by a doctor, according to the diagnosis of the patient. Your child might be prescribed Adderall, Vyvanse, Focalin, Concreta, or Ritalin which are the most popular drugs being used to treat ADHD. The most common ADHD drug currently is Adderall because of the fact that it works effectively and it is well-tolerated among most users with little to no known side-effects.
The ADHD medications are prescribed in order to increase the patient’s ability to focus, maintain that focus and complete as much work as possible and engage in the everyday activities as possible despite the presence of the disease.
How Do They Work?
When we talk about ADHD medications, we are actually talking about a group of stimulants. This drug group is meant to, as the term suggests, stimulate specific cells in order to increase the production of the needed neurotransmitters. In this case, the stimulants achieve greater production of the neurotransmitters whose levels in the brain are affected by the presence of ADHD which causes a certain neurotransmitter deficiency. The key neurotransmitter which these medications stimulate to increase its production is norepinephrine along with dopamine and serotonin.
One thing though is the fact that stimulants are often abused by athletes and students all around the world. In fact, stimulants are the second most abused drugs by college students. That is because of the fact that these drugs have the ability to increase the focus, energy levels, and even athletic performance. But they often underestimate the effects of these medications and suffer the side-effects that follow afterward.
Benefits of ADHD Medications
1. Better Wakefulness
ADHD medications have been proven to be able to not only improve the cognitive functions of the patients but also, increase their energy levels. In fact, increased energy levels are the second most common beneficial effect after improved cognitive functions that these patients have reported to experience due to their use of ADHD medications. The use of Adderall, for example, has been showed to cause better results than the use of placebo at increasing energy levels.
2. Less Impulsiveness
Take Adderall as an example. This drug has been scientifically proven on numerous occasions to be able to reduce the aggressive behavior and impulsiveness among ADHD patients and reduce their hyperactivity at the same time. In fact, Adderall might be the best ADHD drug to do so, as compared with other medications from this group of drugs.
3. Reduced Depression & Improved Mood
By improving the levels of dopamine and serotonin, the ADHD medications act to improve your mood. Any depression and anxious feelings that you might be dealing with are also eliminated with the use of ADHD medications.
4. Improved Social Skills
Due to the symptoms of ADHD, most of these patients fail at connecting with other people around them socially. However, the ADHD medications are here to help once again, improving the social skills of these patients. The ADHD medications also work to improve the patient’s general behavior and academic performance so that they can engage in normal, everyday life as much as possible.
5. Sharply Increased Focus
With the use of ADHD medications, not only is your focus improved, but you are able to engage in a state of sustained attention or vigilance, which as you may know is described as an ability to focus on a certain task and maintain your focus on that very same task for a prolonged period of time. This is one of the most common reasons why Adderall is abused by many college students in their attempt to pull an all-nighter and prepare for their exams.
Unfortunately, there are mild to severe side-effects that can be expected to develop with the use of any of the ADHD medications. These side-effects usually mean that you are not taking the proper dose or that the chosen medications are not compatible with you and your health condition and if so, another must be chosen. If you notice any of the following side-effects, please do consult your doctor right away:
- Allergic reactions
- Blurred vision
- Nausea and vomiting
- Extreme levels of energy
- Changes in heartbeat
- Chest pain
- Weight loss
Please notify the doctor if you are currently pregnant or breastfeeding, suffering from heart problems, have a history of drug abuse, heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease. You probably are not the best candidate to take ADHD medications if you are suffering from any of the previously mentioned conditions.
Please notify the doctor if you are taking any other medications at the moment. The ADHD medications can easily interact with the other medications that you are taking at the moment and certain side-effects can easily develop, endangering your health and even threatening your life.
The chosen dosage is individual for each patient, depending on the severity of the symptoms, the general health condition, the age, the sex, and many other factors. It also depends on the form of the medication (tablet, patch, capsule, liquid) and its release mechanism. It is important to follow the prescribed dosages since most of this group of medications are known to cause dependence with withdraw symptoms after the use is discontinued due to any reason.
There is a variety of ADHD medications to choose from. These stimulants create an opportunity for ADHD patients to increase their focus, improve their mood, reduce any depression symptoms and even help with their problems with hyperactivity. Unfortunately, they do come with a few unwanted side-effects. There are quite a few alternates to common ADHD medications, and one should choose to take a more natural route if possible.