Why do children take ADHD medication?

Dr. Susie Whitworth, PhD
Nursing Specialist

The National Resource Center on ADHD states that stimulant medications reduce attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms for 70 percent to 80 percent of children. However, some children may only show a mild response, while others experience a dramatic reduction in troublesome symptoms. Some of the changes that are most likely to occur when stimulant medications are taken include:

  • A reduction in impulsive behavior
  • Increased ability to pay attention
  • Increased focus and capability of following directions

Social relationships often become healthier as well. To best gauge your child's progress, discuss your child's behavior with their teachers, coaches, and other mentors. Share these results with your child's doctor to make sure your child's medication is working. It is important to remember that the medications, like crutches, only work while they are in use. To get daily benefits from the drugs, follow your doctor's prescription and have your child take the medication on a daily basis.

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Stimulant medications for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are among the most highly prescribed medications that children take regularly. The National Resource Center for ADHD reports that less than three percent of elementary school aged children take medications, and 99 percent of these children take stimulant medications for ADHD. This may concern some parents. Why do so many children take these medications?

Many children with ADHD take the medications because they experience a great improvement in their schoolwork and social relationships when they are being treated. For some of them, the symptoms of ADHD cause great difficulty in their lives at school, at home, and in after-school activities. When untreated, ADHD symptoms can lead to problems with self-confidence, criminal behavior, and substance abuse later in life. To avoid these problems, many parents choose to medicate their children, rather than let them suffer with the disorder throughout childhood and adolescence.

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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.