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How can I tell if my ADHD treatment is effective?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) treatment is often a work in progress. You may have to try a combination of things -- including different lifestyle, behavioral, and medication approaches -- to discover what works well for you. But stick with it! With some effort and adjustment, you'll have the results you crave. Use this three-part plan to monitor the effectiveness of your treatment.
  1. Set Goals. What would your life look like if your ADHD were under control? Maybe you'd be more punctual, pay your bills on time, or stop having angry outbursts with your spouse. Set some clearly defined treatment goals for yourself, and periodically assess your progress.
  2. Take Notes. Use a diary or journal to jot down notes about your treatment, your symptoms, and your medication side effects. Include the dates that you start, stop, or modify any treatment. And carefully track any changes in your medication dose. Having a written record of everything you're doing and feeling will help your doctor assess how well your treatment is working and help him or her decide whether any adjustments are needed.
  3. Rate Yourself. Ask your doctor about using behavior rating scales to monitor your symptoms. These tools assess how your ADHD affects you at home, at work, and at school. These scales also reveal how ADHD is affecting your family life. Your doctor may adjust or change your treatment, depending on any ADHD-related impairments noted in key areas of your life.

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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.