Adult ADHD (cont.)
Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD
Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) facts
- What is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?
- What are causes and risk factors for adult ADHD?
- How prevalent is adult ADHD?
- What are symptoms and signs of adult ADHD?
- How is ADHD in adults diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for adult ADHD? What medications treat adult ADHD?
- Are there any home remedies for adult ADHD?
- What are complications of adult ADHD?
- What is the prognosis of adult ADHD?
- Is it possible to prevent adult ADHD?
- Are support groups available for those with adult ADHD?
- Where can people find additional information on adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?
- Adult ADHD FAQs
- Find a local Psychiatrist in your town
What is the treatment for adult ADHD? What medications treat adult ADHD?
Nonmedical treatments for ADHD in adults include education about the disorder, engaging in an ADHD support group, and skills training that addresses a number of issues, like employment, organizational, parenting, financial, and time-management skills. Some adults with the illness may benefit from cognitive behavior therapy, which is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on helping the individual change thinking patterns that may interfere with their functioning.
Similar to the treatment of ADHD in children, adults often benefit from being prescribed a stimulant medication. Perhaps the oldest prescribed stimulant for the treatment of ADHD is Ritalin. However, given the longer days that teens and adults have compared to young children, stimulants that last much longer are usually prescribed in adults. Examples of such medications include long-acting preparations of methylphenidate, like Daytrana patches, Concerta, Quillivant, and dexmethylphenidate (Focalin-XR), as well as the long-acting amphetamine salt Adderall-XR. Long-acting stimulants also include lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse). However, adults who have a more variable schedule, as in college students who may take day classes some days and night classes other days, may prefer shorter-acting stimulants like amphetamine salt (Adderall) and dextroamphetamine sulfate (Zenzedi), or methylphenidate preparations, like Focalin and Metadate, so they can vary the time they take the medication without being concerned that they'll have trouble sleeping at night. While modafinil (Provigil) is used to treat sleep attacks (narcolepsy) and is also a stimulant, some studies indicate a potential use in the treatment of ADHD while others do not demonstrate its effectiveness.
Some adults may need to take a nonstimulant medication for treatment of ADHD. For adults whose symptoms early in the morning or late in the evening are an issue, stimulants may not be the optimal medication treatment. For others, side effects like low appetite, insomnia, tremors, squelched exuberance, less frequently tics, and rarely hallucinations may make it unwise for the person to take a stimulant medication. Stimulant treatment of people with ADHD who have no history of drug abuse tends to contribute to a decreased likelihood of developing a substance-abuse problem later on. Those who have a recent history of alcohol or other drug abuse may consider avoiding the small but present addiction potential of stimulants. Long-term effects of addiction to Adderall or other stimulants may be serious, including stroke or heart attack. For individuals who either experience suboptimal effects, side effects, or significant side effects of stimulants, nonstimulant medications like guanfacine (Tenex or Intuniv), clonidine (Catapres or Kapvay), or atomoxetine (Strattera), or treatment with the specialized delivery system of the prescription supplement phosphatidylserine-omega-3 (Vayarin) may be in order.
People who suffer from ADHD are at higher risk for developing mood problems during adulthood. They may therefore benefit from medications that have been found to be helpful for people who have both ADHD and depression or anxiety, like bupropion (Wellbutrin) or venlafaxine (Effexor).
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