How do stimulant medications help adults with ADHD?

No matter whether you’re a child or an adult, stimulants increase dopamine release in your brain. Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that allows you to feel good and pay attention, among other things. Your body needs a slow and steady release of dopamine throughout the day so that you can continuously concentrate, be more organized, and manage time better.

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Stimulant medications for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may help some adults perform better at work, fostering a more satisfying and functional life. Stimulant medications work by directly affecting certain brain chemicals, changing the way brain cells communicate with each other. When this happens, some of the difficult behavioral and emotional symptoms of ADHD are reduced.

Adults who participate in behavioral therapies for ADHD also have the chance to learn new skills to improve their daily functioning. According to the National Resource Center for ADHD, stimulant medications should not be considered as a tool for reducing symptoms of ADHD. Instead, adults taking ADHD medications should work on improving their ability to deal with life stresses in a more healthy way, helping them to find more independence in day-to-day life. These improvements can extend into areas including college and schoolwork, social relationships, and career.

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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.