The PROs and CONs of ADHD Medication

In the last few decades, the number of people taking some form of ADHD medication has increased astronomically. This increase is not necessarily an indication that more people have ADHD. It is more the result of better diagnostic skills and increased knowledge about this condition. In many cases, parents and teachers who have no problem telling parents their kid needs to be medicated. While medication may be indicated in many cases, it should not necessarily be your first choice.

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ADHD medications, such as Ritalin and Adderall, have been known to decrease symptoms such as inability to focus and motivation. Some people with ADHD may find that their symptoms will not dramatically improve without taking medication. However, many others with the diagnosis may find that routine exercise and a change in diet will help. To help you decide which path is right for you, here are the PROs and CONs of taking ADHD medication.

Finding the Right ADHD Medication

The most challenging part of finding the right ADHD medications for you or your child is determining the right dosage. If the doctor prescribes the right dosage, you or your child will become more focused and less hyperactive. On the other hand, if he prescribes too much of these medications, it can significantly increase unwelcome behaviors.

Along the same train of thought, no two people with ADHD are likely to respond to the same medication in different ways. Some might work well while others either don’t work or they have the opposite effect of the one desired. At the same time, not everyone reacts the same way to different versions of the same medications. There are several different release formulas for these and many other medications.

The term “release” indicates the speed at which your bloodstream absorbs the medication. Short-acting medications enter the bloodstream almost immediately and have a lifespan of approximately 4 hours. Long-acting medications enter your bloodstream slowly over several hours and may last for up to 14 hours. If one type of medication or release mechanism doesn’t work, your doctor will try switching them. He will continue doing this until he finds a medication and method of release that works.

The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

The PROs of ADHD Medication

There are two major categories for ADHD medications: stimulants (amphetamines) and non-stimulants (methylphenidates). Your doctor may recommend one or the other, depending on the symptoms of ADHD you or your child are experiencing. These categories are:

Stimulants (Amphetamines)

Stimulants – such as Adderall, Eveko, and Dexedrine work by stimulating specific brain cells. These cells will then produce more norepinephrine, dopa, and dopamines. These “chemicals” help your brain to focus and help you or your child to ignore the distractions of daily life. These stimulants account for approximately 70 to 80 percent of all ADHD medication prescriptions.

Non – Stimulants – such as Concerta, Focalin XR, Quillivant, and Ritalin help to boost norepinephrine levels. Your doctor may recommend these if stimulants don’t work. The benefits of using either of these types of ADHD medication are similar. Taking this into consideration, we have lumped the PROS all together in one simple list to make things a little easier.

  • Reduced Procrastination.
  • Motivation increases.
  • Afternoon drowsiness lessens or diminishes altogether.
  • Productivity spikes.
  • Social life tends to improve.
  • Performance in school or work improves.
  • Impulsivity decreases.
  • Attention span expands.
  • Focus lasts for longer periods of time.
  • Hyperactivity lessens.
  • Thoughts slow down to a manageable pace.

You may find that taking medication is the thing that can help you cope with your ADHD symptoms the most. Many aspects of the medication directly counteract hyperactivity, racing thoughts, inability to focus, short attention span and procrastination or demotivation. If you’re considering taking ADHD medication, first learn about the CONs or the side effects, and then schedule a consultation with your general physician.

The CONs of ADHD Medication

The CONs of taking ADHD medication are apparent in the numerous known side effects. It’s important to note that you will most likely not experience every side effect. If you feel that some of these are manageable then you may not consider any of them to be strong enough CONs to keep you from taking the medication. We have consolidated these side effects into one comprehensive list for you.

Side Effects of Stimulant ADHD Medication

  • Feeling jittery
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and upset stomach
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Accelerated heartbeat
  • Involuntary movements (tics)
  • High blood pressure
  • Weight loss

Side Effects of Non-Stimulant ADHD Medication

  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Nausea and upset stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Mood swings
  • Weight loss

Something else to note here is that the side effects may not last forever. Some of them, if not all of them, may drop off or stop after your body becomes used to the new medication.

Treatments for ADHD

Whatever you decide, you should pair your decision with high-quality supplements and exercise. Regular exercise not only improves the symptoms of ADHD but also improves the side effects of ADHD medication. Team sports, boxing (hitting a punching bag) and core-strengthening exercises have all been shown to help our clients deal with their symptoms. Not only are they less restless, less fidgety and more focused, but they also build self-confidence, balance, and endurance because of their exercise routines.

If you’re ready to try exercise as a way to manage your ADHD symptoms or ADHD medication side effects, reach out to Special Strong. We specialize in helping children and adults with ADHD and other special needs, improve their lives through fitness. Sign up for private training sessions or one of our local group classes today.



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