Adult Attention Deficit Disorder Medications - A Look at the Available Medication Options

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Adult Attention Deficit Disorder Medications

There are several different types of adult attention deficit disorder medications that may be prescribed to treat the symptoms of the disorder. The most commonly prescribed medications are stimulants. There are also non-stimulant options, though they may not work as quickly as stimulant medications. In some cases, adults cannot take stimulants because of certain health conditions or because of problems with substance abuse, so for them, non-stimulant drugs are a good option. Antidepressants may also be prescribed as the sole treatment for the condition, or in addition to other attention deficit disorder medications.

Stimulants for Adult Attention Deficit Disorder

Stimulant medications, such as, Ritalin, Concerta, and Adderall are the most commonly prescribed medications for adults with attention deficit disorder. These stimulant drugs work quickly and often dramatically to treat the most problematic symptoms. Almost immediately after taking the medications, adults become more alert, less anxious, and more organized. They are also more able to concentrate and have fewer problems with impulsivity.

The most commonly reported side effects of stimulants for adult attention deficit disorder include insomnia and changes in appetite. These appetite changes can result in rapid weight loss, and is one reason that some adults cannot take stimulants. Adults who have had problems with substance abuse may not be able to take stimulants either because they are a controlled substance. The effects of stimulant drugs do not last all day, so for adults who work long hours, they may not be a good option.

Non-Stimulant Treatments for Adult Attention Deficit Disorder

For adults who cannot take, or choose not to take stimulant drugs, there are other options available. Straterra is the only non-stimulant drug that is approved by the FDA for treating the symptoms of adult attention deficit disorder at this time. It offers the same benefits as stimulant drugs, but it does not begin working as quickly. It can take weeks to see the full effects of the drug, but when this happens the benefits last all day. Since taking Straterra does not pose a risk of substance abuse, it is a good option for some adults.

Sometimes, antidepressants are prescribed to treat the symptoms of adult attention deficit disorder. Some will increase concentration, though they do not always work as well as other treatments for the disorder. They are sometimes prescribed along with other attention deficit disorder medications because they can help patients deal with the depression and anger issues that can co-occur.

Finding the Right Treatment for Adult Attention Deficit Disorder

It can sometimes be difficult to find the right treatment for adult attention deficit disorder, so the process may involve trial and error. The treatment will depend on the severity of the disorder and whether or not the patient has a history of substance abuse. How patients react to the medication is another factor that helps decide the proper treatment. Some adults with attention deficit disorder respond well to stimulant medications, while others may not be able to handle the side effects. Not every medication will deliver the same results to every person, so finding the right treatment option often requires a lot of patience. The good news is, there are many different adult attention deficit disorder medications out there to choose from.


MedicineNet: Medications to Treat Adult ADHD:

American Academy of Family Physicians: Adult ADD: Evaluation and Treatments in Family Medicine

Mayo Clinic: Adult ADHD - Treatments and Drugs