How are medications used in ADHD treatment?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medications work by helping the brain's chemical message carriers (neurotransmitters) function better.
  • They can help focus attention and decrease activity and impulsivity.
  • They can't cure ADHD or teach new behaviors or skills.
Just as glasses help people focus their eyes, medications allow people with ADHD to focus their thoughts and actions better.

There are several options for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with medication. Stimulants such as Ritalin (methylphenidate) have been used for decades. Nonstimulant medications—such as Wellbutrin (bupropion) or Straterra (atomoxetine)—are being used for some patients.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.