They might feel sluggish, disconnected, or even depressed. They also might be disappointed when they look back at the work they did while taking the drugs. When doctors prescribe stimulants for medical conditions like ADHD, they start with a low dose. If someone needs more, they build up slowly and carefully. Doctors do this because large doses of stimulants can cause serious medical problems.
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These include:. Using stimulants too often can lead to intense anger, paranoia, heart problems, and mental health problems. Mixing study drugs with over-the-counter cold medicines that contain decongestants increases the chance of developing high blood pressure or an irregular heartbeat. Study drugs can be just as addictive as street drugs, though.
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Over time, people who overuse stimulants can become dependent on them. If they try to quit, they may have withdrawal symptoms like depression, thoughts of suicide, intense drug cravings, sleep problems, and fatigue. ADHD symptoms are difficulty sustaining attention, impulsive behavior and hyper activity Children as young as three and four years of age are being diagnosed with ADHD and are being.
There has been increasing concern about the potential adverse side effects of these medications. Prescriptions and drugs for ADHD come with discussion and directions for use, and the purpose of the drugs. The section. Statistics show that the male to female ratio for children with ADHD is eight to one. Caucasian children are least likely to have ADHD. Approximately 4. Some of the usual prescribed medicines to those with ADHD is that of Ritalin and Adderall — drugs that are classified in the same category as.
It has been found that ADHD symptoms are caused by a child having less brain activity in their frontal lobes; this part of the brain controls the impulse control which will make it harder for the child to sit still. Though the disease of ADHD affects every child differently, doctors utilize the same guidelines for each child in determining if the symptoms results in ADHD.
Some people become withdrawn, listless, rigid, or less spontaneous and talkative. Others develop obsessive-compulsive symptoms. Since stimulants raise blood pressure and heart rate, many experts worry about the dangers of taking these ADHD drugs for extended periods. 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. Call your doctor right away if you or your child experience any of the following symptoms while taking stimulant medication for ADHD:. In addition to the traditional stimulant drugs, there are several other medications used to treat ADHD, including Strattera, atypical antidepressants, and certain blood pressure medications.
Unlike stimulants, which affect dopamine, Strattera boosts the levels of norepinephrine, a different brain chemical.
Strattera is longer-acting than the stimulant drugs. Its effects last over 24 hours—making it a good option for those who have trouble getting started in the morning. Straterra can also cause insomnia and appetite suppression, but these side effects are more common in stimulants. Strattera may increase suicidal thoughts and actions in some people, especially children and younger adults who have bipolar disorder or depression in addition to ADHD.
Common ADHD Medications & Treatments for Children
Call the doctor immediately if your child shows agitation, irritability, suicidal thinking or behaviors, and unusual changes in behavior. Options include clonidine Catapres and guanfacine Tenex. But while these medications can be effective for hyperactivity, impulsivity, and aggression, they are less helpful when it comes to attention problems.
Antidepressants for ADHD — For people suffering from both ADHD and depression, certain antidepressants, which target multiple neurotransmitters in the brain, may be prescribed. Wellbutrin, also known by the generic name bupropion, is most widely used. Wellbutrin targets both norepinephrine and dopamine.
Another option is the use of tricyclic antidepressants. Take your time to weigh the options.
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And if the medication is for your child, be sure to get their input in the decision-making process. Most importantly, trust your instincts and do what feels right to you. For young children especially, medication should be viewed as a last resort, not the first course of treatment to try. Consulting with an ADHD specialist or an experienced psychiatrist can help you understand the pros and cons of medication.
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Here are some questions to ask:. When deciding whether or not to put your child on medication, Jerome Schultz, Ph. There are many ways to help yourself or your child tackle the challenges of ADHD and lead a calmer, more productive life. With the right tips and tools, you can manage many of the symptoms of your ADHD on your own.
Even if you choose to take medication, healthy lifestyle habits and other self-help strategies may enable you to take a lower dose.
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Exercise regularly. Exercising is one of the most effective ways to reduce the symptoms of ADHD. Try walking, skateboarding, hiking, dancing or playing a favorite sport. Encourage your child to put down the video games and play outside. Eat a healthy diet. Set regular snack and meal times.