Dealing With Side Effects
Most children and adults taking medication for ADHD will experience at least a few side effects. Sometimes, side effects go away after the first few weeks on the medication. You may also be able to eliminate or reduce unpleasant side effects with a few simple strategies.
Loss of appetite. To deal with reduced appetite, eat healthy snacks throughout the day and push dinner to a later time when the medication has worn off.
Insomnia. If getting to sleep is a problem, try taking the stimulant earlier in the day. If you or your child is taking an extended-release stimulant, you can also try switching to the short-acting form. Also avoid caffeinated beverages, especially in the afternoon or evening.
Stomach upset or headaches. Dont take the medication on an empty stomach, which can cause nausea, stomach pain, and headaches. Headaches can also be triggered by medication thats wearing off, so switching to a long-acting drug may help.
Dizziness. First, have you or your childs blood pressure checked. If its normal, you may want to reduce your dose or switch to a long-acting stimulant. Also make sure youre drinking enough fluids.
Mood changes. If medication is causing irritability, depression, agitation, or other emotional side effects, try lowering the dose. Moodiness may also be caused by the rebound effect, in which case it may help to overlap the doses or switch to an extended-release medication.
The Changing Nature Of Adhd
ADHD is developmental in nature, meaning that the condition looks different at different ages. Symptoms of hyperactivity may become less obvious as someone grows older. Many teens and adults appear calmer, but they feel restless and distracted inside. The Inattentive presentation usually lasts from childhood to adulthood, and includes ongoing executive function challenges, such as forgetfulness, disorganization, and problems in concentrating. It is common that, over time, and with a longer history of symptom identification, a professional can properly diagnose ADHD and rule out common co-existing mental health disorders, like bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety.
A missed diagnosis is disappointing to the patient, and, in your own case, it has resulted in fear and mistrust of medical treatment.
Now that you have received a proper diagnosis, it is understandable that you are hesitant to use medication as a sole treatment for ADHD. You are looking for treatments that will complement medication. ADHD medication is effective in reducing the symptoms of attention deficit, but it is not a standalone treatment. It works best with other treatment approaches, such as talk therapy, coaching, behavior modification, and educating yourself about the condition.
Psychosocial Treatments For Adhd And Co
Although pharmacotherapy is the cornerstone of treatment for ADHD, a variety of psychosocial treatments can be employed in combination with medication to optimize the long-term management of this chronic disorder. Unfortunately, little controlled research has been undertaken on psychosocial treatments for adults with ADHD. Data on treatments for children are not likely to be directly relevant, given that those interventions typically emphasize parent training100 and, in some cases, show no additive benefit of psychosocial treatment to patients receiving stimulant pharmacotherapy.101
An important element of the treatment of ADHD is psychoeducation. Having the patient learn about the disorder and its pervasive effects on their functioning can help to set the stage for developing an effective therapeutic alliance. Providing educational literature or referrals to community education/support groups, such as Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder or the Attention Deficit Disorder Association , can be very useful for patients and families in gaining understanding about the disorder.
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How Can I Prevent Getting Addicted To Adderall
- Medically Reviewed
Adderall is a stimulant medication that is used to treat conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy. It works by improving mental alertness, concentration, and attention. However, while its an effective treatment for certain disorders, its a medication that is often abused for its effects. Its a popular drug among high school and college students who use it as a study drug to allow them to concentrate and study for longer periods of time. Its also abused by people who want to lose weight or to be able to drink more alcohol and remain alert.
Understanding Adderall Abuse And Addiction
The stimulant Adderall is commonly abused for the reasons mentioned above. It provides users with increased energy and feelings of confidence and concentration. Using the medication for reasons other than prescribed indicates abuse, and abuse can quickly lead to addiction.
Over time, using Adderall can lead to a physical dependence. Often times, with Adderall and other addictive drugs, users will develop a tolerance to the medication. What that means is that the users body becomes accustomed to having the medication and need to take more of the drug to produce the same effects they had previously. Abusing Adderall by taking more than prescribed is a slippery slope that can lead to addiction, which can result in serious physical and emotional problems.
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Stimulant Medication Safety Concerns
Beyond the potential side effects, there are a number of safety concerns associated with the use of stimulant medications for ADHD.
Effect on the developing brain. The long-term impact of ADHD medication on the youthful, developing brain is not yet known. Some researchers are concerned that the use of drugs such as Ritalin in children and teens might interfere with normal brain development.
Heart-related problems. ADHD stimulant medications have been found to cause sudden death in children and adults with heart conditions. The American Heart Association recommends that all individuals, including children, have a cardiac evaluation prior to starting a stimulant. An electrocardiogram is recommended if the person has a history of heart problems.
Psychiatric problems. Stimulants for ADHD can trigger or exacerbate symptoms of hostility, aggression, anxiety, depression, and paranoia. People with a personal or family history of suicide, depression, or bipolar disorder are at a particularly high risk, and should be carefully monitored when taking stimulants.
Potential for abuse. Stimulant abuse is a growing problem, particularly among teens and young adults. College students take this medication for a boost when cramming for exams or pulling all-nighters. Others abuse stimulant meds for their weight-loss properties. If your child is taking stimulants, make sure he or she isnt sharing the pills or selling them.
ADHD stimulants are not recommended for those with:
Signs Of Being Addicted To Adhd Medication
When your child starts abusing their ADHD meds, they have already entered the cycle of addiction. It is vital to help them navigate their way out of it before they start displaying more advanced signs of addiction, like:
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy
- Weight loss or gain
- Problems at school or work
- Irritability or mood swings
- Financial problems
- Withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop taking the drug
If you notice any of these signs, its vital that you seek help for your child right away. The longer they stay in the cycle of addiction, the more difficult it will be to break free.
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Do Adhd Meds Lead To Addiction
While there is no cure for ADHD, there are treatments that can help manage the symptoms. One treatment option is medication. Medications for ADHD can help improve focus and concentration. They can also reduce hyperactivity and impulsiveness. However, there is some concern that ADHD meds may lead to addiction. This concern stems from how medications affect the brain similarly to how addictive drugs work.
It is essential to be aware of the potential risks associated with these medications. If your child is taking an ADHD medication, it is important to talk to their doctor about the risks and benefits of the medication. If you recognize the signs of substance abuse, its time to find your child help with a teen drug addiction treatment program like the ones a The Right Step. Call to learn more and to find a center in Texas near you.
Dont Fear Adhd Medication
Numerous studies have shown an inverse relationship between drug therapy for ADHD and drug abuse. Perhaps the most compelling was conducted recently by Dr. Wilenss team at Harvard. They analyzed data from six studies and found that people with ADHD who received appropriate treatment in childhood were a remarkable 50 percent less likely than their untreated peers to abuse drugs or alcohol in adolescence or young adulthood.
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Stimulant Medications For Adhd
Stimulants are the most common type of medication prescribed for attention deficit disorder. They have the longest track record for treating ADHD and the most research to back up their effectiveness. The stimulant class of medication includes widely used drugs such as Ritalin, Adderall, Focalin, and Dexedrine.
Stimulants are believed to work by increasing dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with motivation, pleasure, attention, and movement. For many people with ADHD, stimulant medications boost concentration and focus while reducing hyperactive and impulsive behaviors.
Questions For Your Prescriber
The FDA has approved a handful of medications to treat ADHD. Experiencing positive benefits of ADHD meds requires that you have the three rights: the right medication, the right dose, and the right timing. When looking for a prescriber you trust, I recommend asking him or her the following questions:
- What type of medication is this? Stimulant or non-stimulant?
- How does this medication work in my brain? How does it help my ADHD?
- What negative side effects are normal with this medication?
- What health monitoring checks need to be done, if any?
- Are there any side effects that would warrant my calling you, or to stop taking this medication?
- How will I know if this medication is working? What differences will I notice?
- When do I take this medication? Does it matter if I take it in the morning or at night?
- Do I need to take this medication every day?
- If I want to stop taking this medication, how do I do that?
- Do I take this medication with or without food? Does it matter?
- How long will this medication take to start working?
- How long do the effects of this medication last after I take it?
- What is the plan for following up and adjusting the dose of this medication?
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Concurrent Associations Between Adhd Medication And Substance
The second set of comparisons examined concurrent associations between receiving ADHD medication prescriptions and risk of substance-related events. At the population level, the adjusted odds of substance-related events were 19% lower among male patients and 11% lower among female patients during medicated months relative to unmedicated months . More importantly, in within-individual comparisons that ruled out all time-invariant confounding effects, patients were less likely to have substance-related events during the specific months in which they received medication relative to months in which those same patients did not receive medication. Specifically, in adjusted models, ADHD medication was associated with 35% lower odds of substance-related events among men and 31% lower odds among women . Table S2 in the online data supplement lists covariate parameter estimates.
TABLE 2. Concurrent Associations Between ADHD Medication and Substance-Related Events
TABLE 3. Sensitivity Analyses for Concurrent Within-Individual Associations Between ADHD Medication and Substance-Related Events
What Are Possible Side Effects Of Adderall
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction:hives difficulty breathing swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using this medication and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:
- fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeats
- pain or burning when you urinate
- talking more than usual, feelings of extreme happiness or sadness
- tremors, hallucinations, unusual behavior, or motor tics or
- dangerously high blood pressure .
Less serious side effects may include:
- hair loss, loss of appetite, weight loss or
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
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Choice Of Pharmacotherapy For Co
The treatment of adult ADHD in patients with SUD has been controversial, as the primary pharmacotherapy for ADHD is psychostimulants and, historically, there has been reluctance on the part of clinicians to use these medications in patients with addictive disorders. However, although non-stimulant medications have been shown to have efficacy for ADHD, these agents have not been demonstrated to have comparable efficacy to the psychostimulants.92 Some authorities93,94 have proposed approaches that emphasize medications with a lower risk of abuse, such as antidepressants or clonidine, before using traditional stimulant medications such as methylphenidate or amphetamine analogs. However, clinical trials of methylphenidate26,67,70,95 and dextroamphetamine72–74,76 for the treatment of either cocaine dependence or ADHD in patients with co-occurring SUD have shown that stimulant medications can be used safely in patients with SUD and have a relatively low risk of abuse under monitored conditions.
While the treatment literature for ADHD in patients with SUD is not well developed, the emerging trend is that medications effective for adult ADHD may be effective for adults with ADHD and co-occurring SUD, but the therapeutic benefit may be less or non-existent if substance use is ongoing.82 Several possible causes of this phenomenon include the following:
The Link Between Adhd And Addiction
An understanding of the basics of ADHD makes for a more informed discussion of ADHD and addiction. At the outset, however, it is critical to note that there is no evidence that one disorder causes the other. However, the two can coexist. A person who is experiencing a substance use disorder and has an ADHD diagnosis is clinically considered to have a co-occurring disorder. In any case of a co-occurring disorder, the best approach is to seek treatment at a rehab facility that can accommodate co-occurring disorders. As a rule, both conditions must be treated at the same time for either to be effectively healed or managed.
Research shows a connection between ADHD and addiction. According to some studies, when compared to the general population, children with ADHD face an increased risk of becoming dependent on alcohol or other drugs when they are adults. The following facts and statistics further support the linkage:
The risks are not environmental alone. Genes and family can also play a role.
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What Is Stimulant Therapy
Stimulant therapy is the most commonly used treatment for Attention-Deficit Disorder/ Hyperactivity Disorder, also known as ADHD.
Stimulants are an effective way of managing ADHD symptoms such as short attention span, impulsive behavior, and hyperactivity. They may be used alone or in combination with behavior therapy.
These drugs improve ADHD symptoms in about 70% of adults and 70% to 80% of children shortly after starting treatment. Improvements include reduced interrupting, fidgeting, and other hyperactive symptoms, as well as improved task completion and home relationships.
Improvements in behavior and attention span usually continue as long as the medication is taken, although benefits in social adjustment and school performance have not yet been shown to endure over the long term.
These medications are not considered to be habit-forming when used to treat ADHD in children and adolescents, and there is no evidence that their use leads to drug abuse. Nonetheless, there is a potential for abuse and addiction with any stimulant medication, especially if a person has a history of substance abuse. Recent research, nevertheless, shows that individuals with ADHD had a lower incidence of substance use disorder if they were medically treated than if they were not treated.
How Do Adhd And Addiction Develop
There are several things that can affect someones chance of developing ADHD or an addiction, including:
Heredity is the most common cause of ADHD. Children with ADHD are 4 times as likely to have a family member also diagnosed with ADHD. Genes also play a role in the development of addiction.
Exposure To Toxic Substances
Researchers have found a connection between the maternal use of tobacco products or alcohol during pregnancy and the development of ADHD in their children. Lead exposure has also been linked to hyperactivity exposure to illicit substances in the womb may result in substance dependency in the newborn upon birth.
Injury to the brain, a brain tumor, stroke, or disease can cause inattention and poor regulation of motor activity and impulses. This is an uncommon cause of ADHD decreased impulse control may also lead to addiction.
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ADHD And Addiction
ADHD can have a negative impact on academic or work performance and may hinder social development. Many people living with ADHD turn to substance abuse as a way to combat these effects. Research has shown that about 21% of boys and men with ADHD and 13% of women and girls with ADHD abuse drugs or alcohol. People with ADHD may be inclined to abuse drugs or alcohol to make up for the lack of dopamine in their brains, as they have lower levels of the chemical than people who dont have ADHD.
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Clinical Management Of Adhd Co
The management of patients with co-occurring ADHD and SUD requires a comprehensive approach to assessing symptom burden and functional impairment. The simultaneous treatment of both conditions is likely to be the optimal approach because ADHD symptoms will interfere with SUD treatment, and substance use will limit the benefit of ADHD treatment.
When using psychostimulant pharmacotherapy for ADHD in patients with SUD, careful attention to the clinical frame and boundaries of treatment needs to be made. It should be discussed explicitly with the patient that the use of stimulant medication carries an inherent risk of misuse or abuse, and that if evidence of such develops, the appropriateness of stimulant use will be reconsidered. Emphasis should be placed on the adherence to the prescribed medication regimen, and that medication should not be taken on an as needed basis. It should be made clear to the patient, and ideally the family, that if it becomes apparent that prescribed stimulant medication is being misused, abused, or diverted, that there is no obligation on the part of the physician to continue treatment. Fortunately, stimulant medications can be discontinued abruptly without dangerous sequelae.