Questions To Ask An Adhd Specialist
Consulting with an ADHD specialist or an experienced psychiatrist can help you understand the pros and cons of medication. Here are some questions to ask:
- What ADHD treatments do you recommend?
- Can the symptoms be managed without medication?
- What medications do you recommend and what are the side effects?
- How effective is medication for ADHD?
- How long will the medication be necessary for treatment?
- What factors will influence the decision to stop medication?
For Parents: Helpful questions about ADHD medication
When deciding whether or not to put your child on medication, Jerome Schultz, Ph.D., ADHD expert, says to first consider the following questions:
- Has my child been helped by non-medication approaches? Self-calming techniques, deep breathing, and yoga can often help children with ADHD.
- Has the school tried to teach my child to be more attentive and less active?
- What is the decision to put my child on medication based on? Is it the result of behavioral observations over time and in different settings, such as in school and at home?
- When is my child at their best? Fishing with an uncle or playing video games? Help the physician understand how pervasive or selective the problem is.
- Does my child have other conditions that can be mistaken for hyperactivity? Children exposed to toxic chemicals or who have undiagnosed learning disabilities and low-level anxiety disorder may demonstrate similar behaviors.
Source: Family Education Network
The Pros And Cons Of Adhd Drugs For Children
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In the last 30 years there has been a twentyfold increase in the consumption of drugs like Ritalin and Adderall for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder aka ADHD.
Over this time there have been many studies and even conflicting information to determine the positive benefits and side effects children experience while using ADHD medication.
It is important that parents try to understand the full picture of using meds to help their child with focus, attention, and behaviour issues so they are able to make an informed decision.
The Cons Of Non Stimulants
Like stimulants, non stimulants have a number of side effects to consider. Here are the most common side effects experienced by those taking non stimulant ADHD medication.
-Drowsiness and fatigue
-Mood swings and changes
It is possible to have a bad experience with taking non stimulant ADHD medication as well, and, like with most prescription medication, the severity of side effects depends on the dose size and varies from person to person.
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The Benefits Of Adhd Medication
Many studies have shown that Attention-deficit drugs increase concentration in the short term. If a child is having trouble in school or at home, the drugs will typically have a rapid response and produce results.
The use of medication is also very easy to administer with very little effort required by either the parent or the child. The costs also appear to be relatively low usually at approximately $50.00 per month depending on the type and quantity of the medication, with some costing much more.
These are some of the main reasons why using ADHD medication can be beneficial. However this is not the complete picture. There are also many potential pitfalls to using ADHD medication.
Adhd Drug Holidays And Adjusting Medication
There may be times when the prescriber suggests adjusting your childs medication. That may happen when the dosage or timing of the drug is causing side effects, or if it isnt working well. The prescriber might also suggest taking a drug holiday during school breaks or weekends.
- Find out when ADHD medication needs fine-tuning.
- Learn why some prescribers suggest ADHD drug holidays.
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Antidepressants For Adult Adhd
Sometimes, antidepressant medications are used to help treat ADHD in adults. Antidepressants have a number of different benefits such as raising levels of brain chemicals involved with mood and attention. Through these effects, antidepressants can help with problems like inattention, aggression, and impulsivity.
ADHD and depression have a large overlap. Studies show that up to 53% of adults with ADHD also experience depression. Antidepressants may be a particularly helpful treatment if you have both of these conditions because they directly treat the symptoms of both.
Things To Know About Adult Adhd Treatments
Before we get into the pros and cons of each treatment option, there are a few things you should know about ADHD treatment overall.
First, there is no one ADHD treatment option thats the best one.Again, different treatments work for different people. There are some treatment options that have more evidence behind them, which well point out. You are the expert on your own life, and should talk to your healthcare provider about the options youre interested in and why.
You may need more than one treatment.Its very common that people with ADHD combine treatments. For example, you might take medication and go to therapy and make some lifestyle adjustments. You dont have to choose only one. A combination often works best.
You might have to try different treatments before finding the right fit.Especially when it comes to medications, some adults with ADHD find that the first one they try doesnt work or causes too many side effects. If this happens to you, dont give up. There are lots of different treatment options out there, and just because one of them wasnt for you doesnt mean that none of them will be.
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Adhd Medication For Kids: Is It Safe Does It Help
- By Ellen Braaten, PhD, Contributor
ARCHIVED CONTENT: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date each article was posted or last reviewed. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is one of the most commonly diagnosed psychiatric disorders, with prevalence rates around 3%-4%. Medication is frequently used to treat the symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity that are associated with the disorder. Its a developmental disorder, meaning that the symptoms start in childhood, before the age of 12. The symptoms can impair functioning in school and at home, and interfere with forming and keeping friendships.
Im a psychologist and I dont prescribe medication, but despite that fact, parents often ask me, Should my child with ADHD be on medication? followed by, What are the downsides of medication? and then frequently follow up with, Arent there too many kids on medication anyway? A study published last fall in BMJ can help parents and professionals with answers to these questions in terms of the drug methylphenidate, in particular.
How To Get Medication For Adhd
The only way to get medications for ADHD is by getting a diagnosis and prescription through a healthcare provider. If you want to talk to a professional about which ADHD meds are best for you, Frida can help. Take our ADHD self-assessment and learn more about how the experts at Frida can guide you through a diagnosis and get you a treatment plan with medications delivered right to your door.
Many people with ADHD try out different medications over time to determine what is best for them. Its also possible that your needs will change over time depending on various factors such as significant life changes like a new job or becoming a parent. Just know that it is completely normal to try different medications and stop and restart as needed. You should always do what’s best for you and your needs in consultation with your healthcare provider.
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Common Side Effects Of Snri Medication For Adhd
The most common side effects of SNRIs for adult ADHD:
Constipation and upset stomach
Fatigue or feeling sluggish
This isnt a complete list of the possible side effects. Tell your healthcare provider about any symptoms that you experience after starting any medication and be sure to always disclose any medications and supplements you may be taking along with prescribed medications.
The Pros Of Non Stimulants
Non stimulant medications have all of the same benefits that stimulant ADHD medications do. Due to the improved school performance, and in some cases overall quality of life, many parents decide that medication is a beneficial tool for their child to manage their condition. A pro to non stimulant ADHD medication that stimulant medication lacks is that it can often be used when stimulants cause too many side effects and/or are ineffective.
Should You Give Your Kid Adhd Drugs
Correction: An earlier version of this story inaccurately identified Glen Elliott as director of the Childrens Center at Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute. That was a previous position. Elliott now is the chief psychiatrist at the Childrens Health Council in Palo Alto, Calif. The story has been corrected.
To medicate or not?
This decision is stressful for parents who see a child struggling with ADHD but who worry about tampering with brain chemistry.
Web sites offer wildly mixed messages about ADHD meds, studies show conflicting data about whether they work, and doctors dont always agree. Some friends and relatives cant imagine how you could drug your child, while others wonder why you would reject something that might help.
But clinicians who treat ADHD say the decision is often fairly straightforward.
I recommend medication when something causes a child to be unable to thrive in his environment, said Glen Elliott, author of Medicating Young Minds: How to Know if Psychiatric Drugs Will Help or Hurt Your Child.
Elliott, the chief psychiatrist at the Childrens Health Council in Palo Alto, Calif., is familiar with the dilemma parents face: His son struggled with ADHD in high school and finally opted to use a stimulant occasionally in medical school.
Timothy Wilens, chief of child and adolescent psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, said he weighs factors such as age, severity of symptoms and how the symptoms affect the childs outlook.
Factors Driving Adhd Medication Vacations
The most common reasons cited for taking a medication vacation were:
- 55%: Appetite suppression
- 54%: School-only
- 42%: Discomfort with meds
- 42%: Other side effects
- 42%: Annual break
- 38%: Assessment
My child says he cant be himself when he is on medication, said the mother of a 14-year-old boy with ADHD. He is at an important time in his life, figuring out who he is as a person, how to be respectful and responsible, and he wants to learn these things without the medication.
Of the caregivers who have given their children a medication vacation:
- 42% did so in summer
- 31% did so in winter
- 58% consulted with the prescribing physicians first
Because it was summer, we had more flexibility in our schedule so we could live with more chaos, said the mother of a 15-year-old girl with ADHD. She didnt have expectations put on her that would require a higher level of attention.
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Better Control Over Thoughts
For me, there have been quite a few benefits Ive experienced taking ADHD medication. The biggest positive change Ive noticed has been in my control over my thoughts and attention. When I dont take my medication, it feels like my thoughts are constantly ping ponging all over the place. I often cant even finish a thought before another thought has jumped in and taken over. ADHD medication feels like it slows my thoughts downbut in a good way. I can give individual thoughts more attention and act on them without irrelevant ones distracting me first.
There are many ways that having better control over your thoughts, not having them bouncing all over the place, affects day to day life. Some of them are a bit surprising.
More Productive, Less Forgetful
Since I have better thought control when Im taking my medication, Im able to be more productive and less forgetful.. Its really hard to get anything done when you cant stick with a thought or a topic. You might think about how you need to take the pizza out of the oven but before you even get out of your seat to do it, another thought has popped in to distract you. Before you know it, you find yourself outside pulling weeds while the pizza turns to charcoal.
When you can slow those thoughts down into a more meaningful pace, youre better able to stick with the time to get the pizza out thought and keep it from burning. You can also start something AND FINISH IT before moving on to something else.
The Pros And Cons Of Stimulant Add Drug Treatments
Multiple studies have shown stimulant medications as the most effective pharmacological treatments for both adult and childhood ADD. Research shows that two-thirds of adults treated with stimulant ADD drugs have a significant reduction of ADD symptoms. The stimulant agents in these medications cause levels of norepinephrine and dopamine to rise in the brain. Experts believe that the normal levels of these neurotransmitters in the frontal cortex result in the increased attention and concentration ability.
Stimulant ADD drug treatment has the potential to cause hypertension in patients, particularly in adults. Doctors must monitor patients with high blood pressure very closely when initiating treatment with stimulant medications. Patients beginning a course of stimulant ADD drug treatment frequently complain about sleep disturbances and insomnia. Although this usually subsides after taking the medication for a couple of weeks, sometimes it does not. Since stimulant-based ADHD drugs are classified as C-II controlled substances, physicians should carefully consider the high potential for abuse when prescribing them to patients with a history of drug or alcohol abuse.
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Stimulant Medication Safety Concerns
Beyond the potential side effects, there are a number of safety concerns associated with the use of stimulant medications for ADHD.
Effect on the developing brain. The long-term impact of ADHD medication on the youthful, developing brain is not yet known. Some researchers are concerned that the use of drugs such as Ritalin in children and teens might interfere with normal brain development.
Heart-related problems. ADHD stimulant medications have been found to cause sudden death in children and adults with heart conditions. The American Heart Association recommends that all individuals, including children, have a cardiac evaluation prior to starting a stimulant. An electrocardiogram is recommended if the person has a history of heart problems.
Psychiatric problems. Stimulants for ADHD can trigger or exacerbate symptoms of hostility, aggression, anxiety, depression, and paranoia. People with a personal or family history of suicide, depression, or bipolar disorder are at a particularly high risk, and should be carefully monitored when taking stimulants.
Potential for abuse. Stimulant abuse is a growing problem, particularly among teens and young adults. College students take this medication for a boost when cramming for exams or pulling all-nighters. Others abuse stimulant meds for their weight-loss properties. If your child is taking stimulants, make sure he or she isnt sharing the pills or selling them.
ADHD stimulants are not recommended for those with:
What Are The Side Affects Of Adhd Medication
There will also be side effects from this medication which will need to be taken into account. These may include loss of appetite, difficulty going to sleep at night, jitteriness, lethargy and inactivity. A rebound effect immediately after the daily dose has worn off often occurs, when the childs symptoms are even more severe than usual for a brief period of time. Most children also do not take the medication after school or on the weekends, so that symptoms experienced at home remain the same.
The long term effects of these stimulant drugs on the brain are also not known.
There has been some media commentary in recent years about ADHD being over- diagnosed in the USA, and also regarding possible over- use of Ritalin and similar stimulant medicines to control the behaviour of these children. Many parents are now seeking alternative ways to help their children without resorting to drug therapy.
Dr Robin Pauc, neurologist and author of Is That my Child?, states that most learning difficulties including ADHD are caused by an underlying developmental delay which occurs at four months of life. At this stage a second wave of nerve cell generation should occur, where spindle cells form in the pre frontal cortex, the front of the brain.
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Why Is Atomoxetine Not A Stimulant
Atomoxetine is the active ingredient in the non-stimulant ADHD medication, sold under the brand name Strattera. This drug is a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. As the name suggests, it works on the reuptake of norepinephrine. Therefore, it is not a stimulant. Also, unlike stimulants that are commonly used to treat ADHD, Strattera is not a controlled substance because it has a low risk of abuse, misuse, and addiction.
The Cons Of Stimulants
Although stimulants can be beneficial, they do have a number of side effects that vary severity from patient to patient. Here are the most common side effects of Stimulant ADHD medication
As mentioned before, the above side effects vary in severity between patients, and their intensity often depends on the dose size. Luckily, non stimulants are often an option for those that have a bad experience with amphetamines.
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Suggestions For Future Studies
First, future studies should clearly state whether the analyses are exploratory or driven by a piori hypotheses about either potential benefit or potential risk . Clarity around the type of research question and hypothesis may guide the data analyses and interpretation of the results.
Second, future studies may benefit from greater standardization of analyses and reporting . The STROBE statement provides a useful guideline for strengthening the reporting of observational studies in epidemiology, including pharmacoepidemiology studies . For studies using within-individual designs, it would be helpful to report the overall number of patients in the study sample, as well as the number that contributes to the within-individual comparison. Improved clarity in reporting is of critical importance for replication studies and meta-analyses.
Third, it would be informative if future studies could, when possible, translate estimates of relative risk into absolute risk for a meaningful period. In many situations, absolute risk gives more relevant information to both patients and clinicians.
Fourth, future studies need to address issues related to selective reporting of findings. A pre-specified study protocol, as it is obligated for RCTs, would be particularly valuable to improve the transparency and interpretation of pharmacoepidemiology studies .