5 Things to Consider Before Taking ADHD Medication

What to consider before taking ADHD medication

ADD and ADHD are some of the most medicated mental diagnoses in the world and particularly in the United States. Pharmaceutical medications have the advantage of having a doctor monitor their use. However, they also have the danger of having a doctor prescribe them. This is to say that even if the doctor prescribes the medication, you still have a responsibility. This is to take the responsibility of taking medication seriously. While we think taking medication is helpful for many people with Attention Deficit Disorders, these are 5 things to consider before taking ADHD medication.

1. Advice from Your Doctor

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First and foremost, it is essential to seek professional medical advice regarding ADHD medication. While the experts at Special Strong are licensed personal trainers with a close understanding of ADHD, they are not medical doctors. We emphasize the importance of discussing your or your child’s symptoms candidly with a healthcare professional before considering ADHD medications. Your doctor may suggest alternative treatments that could be effective before resorting to medication.

Consider Diet and Exercise

Before opting for ADHD medication, there are several factors to consider, especially concerning diet and exercise. Research suggests that lifestyle changes can significantly impact ADHD symptoms. A balanced diet and regular physical activity may help manage these symptoms effectively. Therefore, incorporate these elements into your daily routine and monitor any improvements before turning to medication.

The Role of Teachers and Doctors

Unfortunately, many teachers pressure parents to medicate their children for ADHD. Some doctors might also respond to such suggestions by quickly prescribing ADHD medications. This reaction often comes without a thorough assessment of other potential interventions. Hence, it’s crucial to communicate openly with your doctor about your habits, routines, and diet. Providing this information allows your healthcare provider to consider all possible alternatives that might be beneficial.

Alternatives to ADHD Medications

Your doctor might determine that other treatments could be tried before starting ADHD medication. These alternatives can include behavioral therapy, counseling, or lifestyle changes. Understanding these options can help you make an informed decision. Your healthcare provider can guide you through the pros and cons of each alternative and help you choose the best course of action.

In conclusion, while ADHD medications can be effective, they are not always the first or only solution. Consulting your doctor, considering lifestyle changes, and exploring alternative treatments can provide a comprehensive approach to managing ADHD. This ensures that you or your child receive the most appropriate and effective care.

2. Medication Side Effects

The side effects are the number one reason to take pause before accepting a prescription for ADHD medication. While this medication may help you or your child focus, it can also cause:

  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Withdrawal Symptoms (When Dosage Wears Off)
  • Irritability
  • Bowel Irregularity

Some of these side effects such as nausea and headaches will go away once your child has been taking their medication for a few days. Others like a decrease in appetite may never go away completely. The side effects can vary based on your exact prescription and dosage and may also change when paired with different lifestyle changes. It’s important to have all the information upfront before considering taking any kind of medication.

If the side effects continue for more than a few days, you will need to consult with your doctor. He may be able to adjust the dosage, or he may have to try a different medication. Doctors use one of two different types of medication. They can use methylphenidates such as Concerta, Focalin, Metadate, or Ritalin. At the same time, they might prescribe amphetamines such as Adderall, Dexedrine, or Vyvanse. Be sure you talk to your doctor about these side effects and feel comfortable about your child taking these medications.

3. Your Long-Term Goal

Having a goal in mind before taking medication can really put things in perspective. Consider whether you want medication to be a long- or a short-term solution for your Attention Deficit Disorder. After trying all the life changes and other holistic alternatives, you may find that you are your best self when you’re taking your ADHD medication. If used as prescribed, medication can help people with ADD and ADHD live perfectly healthy, happy lives.

Not everyone who starts using an ADD/ADHD medication has to remain on them for the rest of their lives. Some are able to use their medication as a way to focus as they embark on a journey toward a healthier, more focused “me.” Having a goal in mind can be helpful when making this big decision.

4. Your Diet

Far too many New Year’s resolutions to lose weight keep falling steadily by the wayside. It’s easy to see that a change in diet is one of the toughest personal changes to make. Even if the habit or routine were easy to break, sugar addictions can keep us coming back for more. However, you may consider a change in diet before accepting a prescription for medication.

Research has shown that including certain foods in your diet while removing others can help. There are many foods and ingredients used in foods that are either known or thought to affect ADD/ADHD.

Check out some of our previous blogs for diet suggestions:

5. Your Exercise Routine

A sedentary lifestyle may be an aggressor for your hyperactivity and part of the reason you have trouble focusing. Before taking medication, consider starting a consistent exercise routine. Exercise improves overall physical health, as well as brain activity, focus, and self-confidence.

You could start by taking walks or going on bike rides, perhaps buy a treadmill. You might consider becoming involved in martial arts at a local Dojo. The idea is simply to get you up off your backside and moving.

One of the best things you can do is get a gym membership. With a gym membership comes access to a wide variety of exercise equipment to use. Most have a walking track for those days when it’s raining, too hot, or too cold. More importantly, the right gym membership comes with access to a personal trainer. They will work with you to create a complete exercise regimen based on your specific needs.

Remember, you don’t have to jump in with both feet. In fact, your trainer will start you off slowly with a selection of exercises. As your abilities and stamina increase, you may be able to take on more challenges. The right gym and trainer can be the perfect natural way to manage ADD/ADHD and one of the best things to consider before taking ADHD medication.

If you are interested in exploring this option before (or while) taking medication, sign up with Special Strong to starting seeing a difference today.

The Importance of Proper Knowledge Before Taking ADHD Medication

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that often requires medical intervention for symptom management. However, before embarking on any ADHD medication regimen, it is crucial for individuals, caregivers, and healthcare professionals to possess comprehensive knowledge about the medications, their potential benefits, and associated risks.

Informed Decision-Making:

Making an informed decision about ADHD medication involves understanding the various types of medications available, their mechanisms of action, and potential side effects. It is essential to recognize that ADHD medications, such as stimulants (e.g., methylphenidate and amphetamines) or non-stimulants (e.g., atomoxetine), affect individuals differently. Factors like age, overall health, and coexisting conditions should be considered when determining the most suitable medication.

Understanding Potential Benefits:

Proper knowledge allows individuals and their caregivers to have realistic expectations regarding the benefits of ADHD medication. These medications are designed to improve attention, impulse control, and hyperactivity. Knowing what to expect can help individuals set realistic goals and track progress effectively.

Managing Side Effects:

When being treated for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), managing side effects is a critical aspect of the medication process. As with any medication, ADHD drugs can trigger side effects, but being informed about these potential reactions would allow a patient to identify and manage them sooner.

Some common side effects associated with ADHD medication include loss of appetite, sleep disturbances, mood changes, headache, dry mouth, and stomach upset. Some of these effects may eventually fade as your body adjusts to the medication but others can persist. It’s essential to learn about these side effects so that when they do occur, you understand what’s happening and can also report the effects accurately to your healthcare provider.

Additionally, being informed about rare, more serious side effects is also crucial. These may include cardiovascular issues such as increased heart rate or high blood pressure, and mental health problems like depression or suicidal thoughts. If such side effects occur, it’s vital to contact a healthcare provider immediately. The earlier these issues are identified, the sooner the treatment plan can be adjusted to alleviate these side effects.

Monitoring Interactions and Precautions:

Given the nature of ADHD medications, they can interact significantly with other substances including certain foods, drinks like caffeine, and other medications. This understanding is crucial for the safe and effective management of ADHD symptoms.

ADHD medications can interact with everyday substances like caffeine, potentially escalating symptoms of nervousness, anxiety, and heart issues. In terms of food interactions, certain ADHD medications can be affected by the acidity of foods and drinks, changing how the drug is absorbed by the body. For example, consuming acidic foods or drinks (like citrus fruits or juices) can decrease the effectiveness of some ADHD medications.

Medicinal interactions are also significant and need to be tracked closely. Always inform your healthcare provider about any medication, supplement, or over-the-counter drug you are taking. Certain combinations can either nullify the effect of the ADHD medication or intensify it, leading to undesired side effects.

Compliance and Adherence:

Proper knowledge fosters medication compliance and adherence. Individuals and caregivers who understand the importance of following prescribed dosages and schedules are more likely to experience the full benefits of treatment. This knowledge also helps individuals recognize when adjustments may be needed, promoting proactive communication with healthcare providers.

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Long-Term Management:

ADHD is often a chronic condition, requiring long-term management. Proper knowledge empowers individuals to actively participate in their treatment plans, making informed decisions about adjustments or changes over time. Understanding the potential for tolerance or changes in efficacy can aid in developing a sustainable and effective long-term approach.

In conclusion, the decision to take ADHD medication is a significant one that should be based on thorough knowledge and consideration. By prioritizing education and open communication with healthcare providers, individuals and their support networks can ensure a more successful and well-informed journey in managing ADHD through medication.

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