Choosing The Best ADHD Medication For Your Child

Are you thinking of choosing the best ADHD medication for your child? Having a child diagnosed with ADHD can be a trying and stressful experience, but it doesn’t have to be! In today’s society there are many options available for children and adults diagnosed with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder. There are many different ways of treating ADHD, with or without medication, or both, and, if you as a parent, decide to go with the medication route, you need to be properly informed on all the up-to-date drugs available and which one suits you and your child the best. Consider the fact that the majority of clinicians agree that the combination of psychotherapy, social skills and medication has been proved as the best method of treating ADHD.

What is ADHD?
What is ADHD?

What is the best medication available? When talking about any type of medication the customers usually look for the best treatment outcome with as minimum side effects as possible. Factors such as short-term or long-term usage play a vital role as well. Unfortunately, many drugs available in the pharmaceutical industry nowadays do have side effects and one needs to be very careful and does extensive research in order to find the prescription that fits best.

Why Stimulants?

Many people find it surprising that the majority of ADHD medication involves the use of stimulants. Parents might think that their children are already stimulated enough and find it suspicious that a big number of prescription drugs for ADHD are, in fact, stimulants. As Jacobs & Wendel said, the reason why stimulants work so well with ADHD is that they “impact on the neurotransmitters in your child’s brain that are responsible for attention and motivation.” So the medication doesn’t necessarily excite an already excited brain, but in fact it stimulates the parts of the brain that are not as activated for those who have been diagnosed with ADHD. Stimulants affect norepinephrine and dopamine, two major neurotransmitters of the nervous system. Dopamine is largely responsible for what you pay attention to, while norepinephrine controls wakefulness, alertness and clarity.

In recent years, however, there have been many new non-stimulant alternatives that are currently slowly earning their place beside previously approved stimulant medication. In fact, according to Jacobs & Wendel, “many experts believe that Strattera, a non-stimulant drug recently approved for treating ADHD, will eventually replace stimulant drugs and become the standard treatment for the disorder.”

Jacobs & Wendel say that the most common drugs that are prescribed for ADHD to this date are stimulants and they include “methylphenidates like Ritalin or amphetamine compounds like Adderall.” Different types of stimulant drugs are very similar to one another but they do have some differences, including how long they last, how quickly they begin to work, how long they remain in the blood etc. Your doctor will try different types of medication in order to provide you and your child with the best option. A big factor in choosing the right medication includes the side effects that a given drug produces in the consumer’s organism. Many side effects have been found with the use of stimulants including headaches, nausea, anxiety, dizziness, decreased appetite and subsequent weight loss, insomnia etc.

Up to this date clinicians prescribe these stimulant drugs a lot more often compared to other non-stimulants, however, many worry about abuse in the case of stimulant drugs and the recreational use of prescribed ADHD medication among those not diagnosed with the disorder. Obtaining the drug has become a lot easier in recent years than it was at first and it has become a real problem especially on college campuses due to the drug’s ability to provide focus and attention.

If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, do not despair but look for different options and different medications and through trial and error, and a combination of both medication and therapy you will be able to find the right fit!


Jacobs, C., & Wendel, I. (2010). Choosing the Right Treatment. In C. Jacobs, & I. Wendel, The Everything Parent’s Guide to ADHD in Children : A Reassuring Guide to Getting the Right Diagnosis, Understanding Treatments, and Helping Your Child Focus (pp. 142-157). In An Everything Series Book. Avon, Mass : Adams Media.

Jacobs, C., & Wendel, I. (2010). Treating with Medication . In C. Jacobs, & I. Wendel, The Everything Parent’s Guide to ADHD in Children : A Reassuring Guide to Getting the Right Diagnosis, Understanding Treatments, and Helping Your Child Focus (pp. 157-178). In An Everything Series Book. Avon, Mass : Adams Media.

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