Putting your child on medication for ADHD is a personal decision. While ADHD drugs are very effective, they might not be right for all kids and families.
Whether you’re thinking about ADHD medication for your child, or your child already takes it, there’s so much to know. How do the different ADHD medicines work? Will they cause side effects? Having answers can help you make sure your child is getting the maximum benefit from ADHD treatment.
This guide can help you make informed decisions as you’re considering or managing ADHD medication.
Types of ADHD medication
There are a few types of medicine for ADHD, and not all of them work in the same way. Working with the prescriber, your child may need to try more than one type to find the one that works best.
Learn about the different ADHD medications your child’s prescriber might recommend.
ADHD medication side effects
Get key information on ADHD medication side effects.
Who prescribes ADHD medication for kids
There are many types of health care providers who can prescribe medication for ADHD. Your child’s prescriber will also monitor your child to make sure the type of drug and the dosage and timing are working well for your child.
Learn about the types of professionals who prescribe medicines for ADHD.
ADHD medication and the brain
The various ADHD medications don’t all work in the same way. But they all work to reduce ADHD symptoms by improving how different areas of the brain communicate.
Understand how ADHD medications work in the brain.
ADHD drug holidays and adjusting medication
There may be times when the prescriber suggests adjusting your child’s medication. That may happen when the dosage or timing of the drug is causing side effects, or if it isn’t working well. The prescriber might also suggest taking a “drug holiday” during school breaks or weekends.
- Find out when ADHD medication needs fine-tuning.
- Get information on switching between stimulant and non-stimulant medication.
- Learn why some prescribers suggest ADHD drug holidays.
Talking to your child about ADHD medication
It’s important for kids to know about the medication they take for ADHD. Understanding why they need it and what to expect helps them learn to self-advocate. It also prepares them to assume more responsibility for treatment as they get older.
ADHD medication abuse
As kids get older, they may face peer pressure to share or sell their ADHD medication. Some kids may also misuse their medication to get a “boost” during crunch times, such as exams. And in rare cases, misuse can turn into abuse.
There are ways you can address this risky behavior, however. Get important information on ADHD medication misuse and abuse.
Non-medication treatment for ADHD
ADHD medication doesn’t work for all kids. And some parents may decide it’s not right for their child. Whether your child does or doesn’t take medicine for ADHD, you may wonder what other treatments exist.
Deciding on ADHD medication for your child
It can be tough to decide whether to have your child try ADHD medication. You may be getting a lot of input from other people — some helpful and some not. Weighing all the factors and hearing from parents who’ve already gone through it may make the decision-making easier.
Use this list to consider all the factors. And read what one mom wishes others knew about parenting a child with ADHD.
Understood is not affiliated with any pharmaceutical company.
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About the author
About the author
The Understood Team is made up of passionate writers and editors. Many of them have kids who learn and think differently.
Stephanie Moulton Sarkis, PhD is an ADHD/ASD expert and a best-selling author.