What is the most effective treatment for ADHD

What is the most effective treatment for ADHD

What is the most effective treatment for ADHD

Standard treatments for ADHD in adults typically involve medication, education, skills training and psychological counseling. A combination of these is often the most effective treatment. These treatments can help manage many symptoms of ADHD, but they don’t cure it. It may take some time to determine what works best for you.What is the most effective treatment for ADHD


Talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks of any medications.

  • Stimulants, such as products that include methylphenidate or amphetamine, are typically the most commonly prescribed medications for ADHD, but other medications may be prescribed. Stimulants appear to boost and balance levels of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters.
  • Other medications used to treat ADHD include the nonstimulant atomoxetine and certain antidepressants such as bupropion. Atomoxetine and antidepressants work slower than stimulants do, but these may be good options if you can’t take stimulants because of health problems or if stimulants cause severe side effects.

The right medication and the right dose vary among individuals, so it may take time to find out what’s right for you. Tell your doctor about any side effects.

Psychological counseling

Counseling for adult ADHD generally includes psychological counseling (psychotherapy), education about the disorder and learning skills to help you be successful.

Psychotherapy may help you:

  • Improve your time management and organizational skills
  • Learn how to reduce your impulsive behavior
  • Develop better problem-solving skills
  • Cope with past academic, work or social failures
  • Improve your self-esteem
  • Learn ways to improve relationships with your family, co-workers and friends
  • Develop strategies for controlling your temper

Common types of psychotherapy for ADHD include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy. This structured type of counseling teaches specific skills to manage your behavior and change negative thinking patterns into positive ones. It can help you deal with life challenges, such as school, work or relationship problems, and help address other mental health conditions, such as depression or substance misuse.
  • Marital counseling and family therapy. This type of therapy can help loved ones cope with the stress of living with someone who has ADHD and learn what they can do to help. Such counseling can improve communication and problem-solving skills.

Working on relationships

If you’re like many adults with ADHD, you may be unpredictable and forget appointments, miss deadlines, and make impulsive or irrational decisions. These behaviors can strain the patience of the most forgiving co-worker, friend or partner.

Therapy that focuses on these issues and ways to better monitor your behavior can be very helpful. So can classes to improve communication and develop conflict resolution and problem-solving skills. Couples therapy and classes in which family members learn more about ADHD may significantly improve your relationships.

Types of ADHD What is the most effective treatment for ADHD

There are three types of ADHD:

  • Predominantly inattentive. People with this type of ADHD have extreme difficulty focusing, finishing tasks, and following instructions.
  • Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive. People with this type primarily have hyperactive-impulsive behavior, like fidgeting, interrupting people, and not being able to wait their turn.
  • Combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive. People with this type of ADHD have a combined display of inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive behaviors. This may include an inability to pay attention, a tendency toward impulsiveness, and above-average levels of energy and activity. It’s the most common type of ADHD.

Talk with your doctor

Effective treatment for ADHD often includes several approaches. These can include medication and one or more types of therapy, as well as behavioral measures that you can put into practice as a parent.

Getting proper treatment can help you manage your ADHD symptoms and feel better.

To learn more about what treatment might work best for you, talk with your doctor. Some of your questions might include:

  • Would medication, therapy, or both help?
  • Would you recommend a stimulant or nonstimulant medication?
  • What side effects from the medication should I be aware of?

What are the best ADHD treatment options?

Medications for ADHD

Medication is often an important part of treatment for someone with ADHD. However, it can be a difficult decision to make.

To make the best decision, you and your doctor will work together to decide whether medication is a good option. If so, ask your doctor whether you need medication during school or work hours only, or on evenings and weekends as well.

You and your doctor will also determine what type of medication might be best. The two main types of ADHD medications are stimulants and nonstimulants.

Central nervous system stimulants

Central nervous system (CNS) stimulants are the most commonly prescribed class of ADHD drugs. These drugs work by increasing the amounts of brain chemicals called dopamine and norepinephrine.

In people with ADHD, these types of stimulants produce a paradoxical calming effect. This results in a reduction in hyperactivity and an improvement in attention span in many people. The effect improves your concentration and helps you focus better.

Common CNS stimulants used to treat ADHD include:

  • amphetamine-based stimulants (AdderallDexedrine, DextroStat)
  • dextromethamphetamine (Desoxyn)
  • dexmethylphenidate (Focalin)
  • methylphenidate (Concerta, Daytrana, Metadate, Ritalin)

Nonstimulant medications What is the most effective treatment for ADHD

Your doctor may consider nonstimulant medications when stimulants haven’t worked for your ADHD, or they cause side effects that are hard to manage.

Certain nonstimulant medications work by increasing levels of norepinephrine in your brain. Norepinephrine is thought to help with attention and memory.

These nonstimulant treatments include:

Other nonstimulant medications can also help with ADHD. It’s not fully known how these medications help with ADHD, but there’s some evidence they help certain chemicals work better in the part of the brain involved with attention and memory.

These other nonstimulants include:

  • guanfacine (Intuniv)
  • clonidine (Kapvay)


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