How Does ADHD Medication Work?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurobiological disorder that affects both children and adults. Its symptoms include difficulty focusing, impulsive behaviour, and hyperactivity. While there is no known cure for ADHD, medication can help manage its symptoms.

What is ADHD Medication?

There are two types of medication used to treat ADHD, Stimulants and Non-Stimulants. Stimulants, such as Ritalin and Adderall, increase the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, which help improve a person’s ability to focus and control impulses. Non-Stimulants, such as Strattera and Intuniv, work by affecting the brain’s alpha-2 receptors, which regulate the release of norepinephrine.

How Does Medication Improve the Symptoms of ADHD?

ADHD medication works by targeting the parts of the brain that are responsible for regulating attention and behaviour. It boosts dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain, which help improve a person’s ability to focus and control impulses. This improvement in brain function allows people with ADHD to function more effectively in their daily lives.

Stimulants:

Stimulants work by increasing the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, which help regulate attention and behaviour. These medications are available in short-acting and long-acting forms. Short-acting forms, such as Ritalin, last for around 4 hours, and long-acting forms, such as Adderall, last for up to 12 hours. The medication is usually taken in the morning to avoid disrupting sleep patterns.

Stimulants are effective in reducing impulsiveness and hyperactivity while improving focus and attention. They work by strengthening the neural pathways in the brain that regulate these functions. Stimulants have been used for many years to treat ADHD, and have a proven track record of effectiveness.

Non-Stimulants:

Non-Stimulants work by affecting the neural pathways that are responsible for releasing norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that affects attention, alertness, and mood. They are typically used when stimulants are not effective or not appropriate.

The non-stimulant medication Strattera has been shown to improve attention and reduce impulsiveness in people with ADHD. It works by blocking the reabsorption of norepinephrine, which increases the amount of the neurotransmitter available in the brain. This increase in norepinephrine allows the brain to regulate attention more effectively.

Intuniv is another non-stimulant medication that is used to treat ADHD. It works differently from Strattera, by targeting the brain’s alpha-2 receptors, which regulate the release of norepinephrine. It improves attention and reduces hyperactivity and impulsiveness, without the side effects associated with stimulant medications.

Side Effects of ADHD Medication

While ADHD medication can be effective in treating the symptoms of the disorder, it can also have side effects. The most common side effects of stimulant medication include loss of appetite, sleep problems, and irritability. These side effects generally go away after a few weeks of taking the medication. However, some people may experience more serious side effects, such as high blood pressure or heart problems.

Non-stimulant medication can also cause side effects. Strattera can cause nausea, vomiting, and tiredness, while Intuniv can cause drowsiness and headaches. These side effects are usually mild, and go away after a few weeks of taking the medication.

Conclusion

ADHD medication works by targeting the parts of the brain that regulate attention and behaviour. Stimulants, such as Ritalin and Adderall, increase the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, which help improve focus and reduce impulsiveness. Non-stimulant medication, such as Strattera and Intuniv, affect the brain’s alpha-2 receptors, which regulate the release of norepinephrine. They improve attention and reduce hyperactivity and impulsiveness, without the side effects associated with stimulant medications. While medication can be effective in treating the symptoms of ADHD, it can also have side effects. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional to discuss the risks and benefits of medication, as well as other treatment options.

FAQs

FAQ 1: What are ADHD medications?

ADHD medications are a group of medications that can help control the symptoms of ADHD. They work by increasing the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine and norepinephrine. These chemicals are responsible for controlling attention, behavior, and emotions.

FAQ 2: How do ADHD medications work?

ADHD medications work by increasing the levels of these neurotransmitters in the brain. They stimulate the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for attention, impulsivity, and impulse control. The medications help individuals with ADHD to focus better, stay attentive, and control impulsive behavior.

FAQ 3: What are the different types of ADHD medications?

There are several types of ADHD medications available, including stimulant medications and non-stimulant medications. Stimulant medications include drugs like Ritalin, Adderall, and Vyvanse. They work by increasing dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain. Non-stimulant medications, such as Strattera, work by increasing norepinephrine levels in the brain. Your doctor can help determine which medication is best for you based on your symptoms and medical history.


References

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2. Volkow, N. D., Fowler, J. S., Logan, J., Wang, G. J., Gur, R. C., Wong, C.,… & Pappas, N. (2002). Association between dopamine transporter availability and the subjective effects of methylphenidate in ADHD patients. Neuroimage, 16(3), 691-696. (Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12169261)

3. Wilens, T. E., Adler, L. A., Adams, J., Sgambati, S., Rotrosen, J., Sawtelle, R., & Utzinger, L. (2008). Misuse and diversion of stimulants prescribed for ADHD: a systematic review of the literature. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 47(1), 21-31. (Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18174822)