ADHD is a behavioral disorder, diagnosed both in children and adults. Feature of ADHD in children is a disorder of situational adaptation, characterized by hypersensitivity, impulsivity and violation of attention in various situations.

ADHD symptoms in adults are identical to ADHD symptoms in children. However unlike children, adults are able to adapt to ADHD. So, this neurological disorder does not affect the social activity of adults as negative as the social activity of children.

To treat ADHD non-stimulant ADHD meds and meds, stimulating central nervous system (CNS) can be prescribed to children and adults. Given that  ADHD in adults is very often associated with other neurological disorders (for example, insomnia), adults can be prescribed ADHD meds in combination with other meds.

List of ADHD meds

ADHD meds for adults and kids are produced by several pharmaceutical companies. So, at regional pharmaceutical markets they can go on sale under dozens of different trade names. It should be noted that ADHD meds for adults and ADHD meds for kids may contain the same pharmaceutical ingredient, the only differences between them are dosage form and price.

For example, a new ADHD medication Quillivant, containing an active substance Methylphenidate went on sale in 2012. Indication for the use of oral suspension Quillivant is ADHD treatment in children from 6 up to 12 years. Although, oral solution Methylin which also contains Methylphenidate is sold at pharmacies for over 10 years and is prescribed for ADHD treatment not only in children over 6 years but also adults.

Oral ADHD meds, containing Methylphenidate (tablets, capsules) are also available for sale under trade names: Metadate, Concerta, Equasym and Ritalin. Noteworthy that Methylphenidate is one of the few ADHD meds for children and adolescents, which is available in transdermal patches and chewing tablets (Daytrana patch and Daytrana pills).

Hypersensitivity to pharmaceutical substance Methylphenidate can be diagnosed in adults and children. So, they can be prescribed other ADHD meds. Lisdexamfetamine can be prescribed as an alternative to one of the most prescribed ADHD medicine Methylphenidate.

Like Methylphenidate, Lisdexamfetamine is a CNS stimulant. Therapeutic efficiency of these ADHD meds is almost identical. However, unlike to Methylphenidate which is available in different dosage forms, Lisdexamfetamine is produced only in capsules for oral administration.

Lack of alternative dosage forms of Lisdexamfetamine significantly limits its use in pediatric patients. After all, if a child refuses using usual oral ADHD meds, parents should discuss with the doctor the possibility of replacement oral tablets and capsules for chewing pills, solution, suspension or transdermal patch.

If a child or adult experiences nervousness, insomnia or other side effects from CNS when using CNS stimulants for ADHD treatment, the taken meds can be replaced by non-stimulant ADHD meds. The most modern non-stimulant medicine for ADHD treatment is Atomoxetine. This medicine is available for sale for over 10 years under trade name Strattera.

Advantage of Atomoxetine over CNS stimulants is that the risk of headache and insomnia is almost absent after its oral use. However, like in the CNS stimulants, side effect of non-stimulant ADHD meds can be a decreased appetite. So, they should not be used in children, adolescents and adults with anorexia.

Regardless of patient’s age, it is necessary to assess the functions of cardiovascular system before to start using ADHD meds. If cardiovascular side effects (tachycardia, increased blood pressure) occur in the period of using ADHD meds, one should stop ADHD treatment and consult a health care professional.

Treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) usually involves taking medication.

A few different types of medication can be prescribed, depending on a person’s exact symptoms.

In addition to medication, people with ADHD may benefit from counseling to improve their behavior or social skills.

Parents and other family members may also participate in counseling to help develop strategies for dealing with potentially problematic situations.

While there’s no cure for ADHD, proper treatment can help control or reduce many symptoms, often leading to better performance at school or work — and an improved quality of life.

Stimulants for ADHD

Stimulants are the most commonly prescribed drugs for ADHD. They’ve been used for more than 50 years.

Stimulants have a calming effect on children with ADHD and can last for 4 to 12 hours.

They may cause side effects, such as stomachache, irritability, decreased appetite, and insomnia.

Some stimulants may increase the risk of developing heart or psychiatric problems.

These drugs come as a pill, capsule, liquid, or skin patch.

Some common stimulants used to treat ADHD include:

  • Adderall (amphetamine)
  • Ritalin (methylphenidate)
  • Concerta (methylphenidate)
  • Focalin (dexmethylphenidate)
  • Daytrana (methylphenidate patch)
  • Metadate (methylphenidate)
  • Methylin (methylphenidate)
  • Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine)
  • DextroStat (dextroamphetamine)
  • Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate)

Nonstimulant Drugs for ADHD

Nonstimulant drugs are sometimes used along with, or as an alternative to, stimulants.

The first nonstimulant for ADHD was approved in 2003.

Nonstimulants may have fewer side effects than stimulants and can last up to 24 hours.

Common nonstimulants include:

  • Strattera (atomoxetine)
  • Intuniv (guanfacine)

Strattera carries a black-box warning because studies show that children and teens who take it are slightly more likely to develop suicidal thoughts.

Antidepressants for ADHD

Antidepressant drugs are sometimes used to treat ADHD.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning in 2004 stating that the use of antidepressants in children and teens may rarely lead to an increased risk of suicide.

Antidepressants prescribed for ADHD include:

  • Wellbutrin (bupropion)
  • Tofranil (imipramine)
  • Aventyl (nortriptyline)
  • Norpramin (desipramine)

ADHD Counseling

Children and adults with ADHD may benefit from counseling. Common forms of counseling include:

Behavior therapy: 

This is a form of counseling in which children or adults with ADHD learn behavior-changing strategies and skills for dealing with difficult situations.


 This type of treatment allows children and adults with ADHD to talk with a psychologist or psychiatristabout their issues and learn ways to cope with their symptoms.

Family therapy: 

This form of therapy helps parents, spouses, or siblings deal with the stresses of living with someone with ADHD.

Parenting skills training:

 This therapy helps parents come up with ways to guide their child’s behavior.

Social skills training: 

This form of therapy helps children with ADHD learn appropriate social behaviors.

Home Remedies and Lifestyle Changes

Making certain lifestyle changes at home may help create a better environment for children with ADHD.

These changes may involve:

  • Following a regular schedule for meals, naps, and bedtime
  • Keeping all areas of the home organized and uncluttered
  • Avoiding distractions (such as TV and cell phones)
  • Using simple words, eye contact, and clear commands when giving your child instructions
  • Finding ways to boost your child’s self-esteem (such as sports or other extracurricular activities)
  • Avoiding overwhelming situations that may trigger symptoms
  • Showing affection frequently
  • Using “time-outs” or appropriate consequences as discipline methods

Natural Remedies for ADHD

Some people believe that alternative therapies can help improve ADHD symptoms.

While there are anecdotal accounts that certain treatments may help, there aren’t enough studies to prove that any of them work.

Before trying any treatment, talk to your doctor to make sure it’s safe.

Alternative treatments for ADHD may include:

Dietary strategies: 

Diets that have been tried for ADHD symptoms typically involve eliminating sugar, wheat, milk, eggs, food colorings, or food additives.

But there’s not enough research to show that avoiding certain foods helps improve symptoms.

Vitamins, minerals, or herbal supplements:

 Some people believe that certain vitamin regimens can reduce symptoms.

But there’s no evidence that any supplemental vitamins, minerals, or herbs are effective, and taking “mega-doses” of vitamins can sometimes be harmful.

The safety of many herbal supplements has also been called into question.

Essential fatty acids:

 Some people believe that taking omega-3 fatty acids — such as those found in fish oil — can improve symptoms by helping the brain function properly.

Researchers are still investigating whether these fats can help children with ADHD.

Yoga or meditation:

 Regular yoga or mediation is often used to help children with ADHD relax and develop self-discipline.


 This treatment involves having a child focus on certain tasks while connected to a machine that shows brain wave patterns.

More research is needed to determine whether neurofeedback is a viable treatment option for ADHD.


  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder; National Institute of Mental Health.
  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Understanding ADHD: Information for Parents; org.
  • About ADHD; Children and Adults with ADHD.
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children; Mayo Clinic.

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