Understanding the Benefits of ADHD Medications

Much of what we read in the mainstream media about ADHD medications has more to do with misuse and abuse than with use by those who truly benefit from these drugs.

Yes, they may be overprescribed by some professionals lacking the knowledge necessary to correctly diagnose and treat ADHD. And yes, some students routinely abuse these drugs to enhance their performance on an exam or particular assignment.

But when used as prescribed by competent professionals, ADHD medications can significantly improve life for those who suffer with the daily challenges of the condition—a fact that is often lost in media reports.

What Can ADHD Medications Do?

For starters, medication cannot cure ADHD, but it can help those who have been diagnosed with the condition manage some of the most challenging symptoms, including the following:

  • Inability to concentrate
  • Lack of impulse control
  • Low frustration tolerance

To complicate matters, ADHD comes in several varieties, making it difficult to recognize, diagnose, and treat properly. Likewise there are various classes of ADHD medications, each designed to help manage different symptoms.

Finding the correct medication can be tricky, which is why we’ve called upon Dr. Timothy E. Wilens, an authority on ADHD medications and the author of Straight Talk About Psychiatric Medications (3rd Edition, Guilford Press) to help break down what you need to know about this important topic. In our article, Straight Talk About Medications for ADHD, Dr. Wilens provides a primer for understanding your medication options along with tips for safe use.

As you explore your options keep in mind that, like all pharmaceuticals, ADHD medications carry risks. For those reasons, it’s important to understand what those risks are, and to work with your medical professional to minimize negative side effects.

ADHD medications alone are not a panacea. But they can be an important and effective option used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that may include behavioral therapy, healthy lifestyle changes, and appropriate educational interventions.

Related Smart Kids Topics

  • Untreated ADHD: Lifelong Risks
  • Comprehensive Treatment for ADHD