A number of types of medication are available to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ADHD medicine works in a number of different ways, all of which revolve around altering the patient's brain chemistry so that he or she can focus more easily. These medications are designed to reduce disruptive and antisocial behavior, allowing people with ADHD to feel more comfortable in workplaces and classrooms.
Stimulants were the first drugs utilized for the treatment of ADHD. While it may sound peculiar to give a stimulant to a patient who appears to be suffering from overstimulation, these drugs actually work by altering levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. The increase in levels of neurotransmitters helps students to focus, giving them longer attention spans, better concentration, and more patience so that they can sit still and complete tasks successfully.
The use of stimulants such as Ritalin®, Adderall®, and Concerta® has been controversial in some circles. Dopamine is closely involved with addiction, and some people fear that ADHD medicine could become addictive and that patients could gradually become less sensitive to it, making it less effective. Doctors have argued that when ADHD is managed with medicine, behavioral therapy, and other techniques that the potential risk of addiction is outweighed by the benefits to the patient on the medication.
Strattera® is an ADHD medicine which is not a stimulant, but is designed to increase the levels of norepinephrine in the brain by inhibiting the brain's ability to reuptake this neurotransmitter. Several antidepressant medications are also utilized in the treatment of ADHD to alter the brain chemistry of the patient. Because many different drugs can be used in ADHD treatment, it is often necessary to try several medications and dosage options to find the treatment which works most effectively for an individual patient. Every brain is slightly different, and may respond differently to medications which change brain chemistry.
ADHD medicine appears to target the prefrontal cortex, providing more patience and impulse control to the patient. These drugs are available in short and long acting versions, with long acting drugs being popular because they keep patients focused all day and reduce the number of times a patient needs to take medication. When people start taking ADHD medicine, they should be aware that it can take some time for the medication to work, and they should report all side effects and discomfort to their doctors, as it is possible to switch or adjust a medication to deal with side effects.