The market for ADHD medications has grown rapidly in recent years, and the choices stretch beyond Ritalin or natural remedies. The main problem that most ADHD patients had with Ritalin is that it was a quick sharp shot of stimulant that required almost a constant supply to be effective.
Deliberately designed to release stimulants over a longer period, the newer drugs require fewer dosages and the user gets a more natural feel to their day.
How Medications for ADHD work
To understand the mechanics of modern ADHD medications, it is important to understand some key facts about ADHD.
• Firstly, it is a medical condition, and sufferers are at the mercy of their synaptic connections, rather than just being “spacey” or a daydreamer.
• Secondly, ADHD can be the cause of low self-esteem, poor concentration and lack of social skills, so it is important to treat it as soon as possible.
• Finally, it is exceptionally hard to treat just using natural remedies and behavioral strategies.
Most ADHD drugs work by further stimulating the neural pathways, which may seem counter intuitive when you’re working with people who are easily over stimulated. However, if you think of ADHD as undirected energy, by stimulating the brain, you give a focus for that energy, meaning that an ADHD patient can choose how to use their excess brain energy. Over time, the demand for non-stimulating drugs has increased, although they tend not to be as effective, overall.
Popular ADHD Medications
The choices facing doctors who are looking to proscribe medication for their ADHD patients range from highly stimulating drugs that last for a short while to those that are longer lasting and milder. The most popular drugs on the market are:
• Ritalin, once the market leader, acts by increasing the amount of time that a synapse maintains its connection with its neighbor. This allows for longer periods of focus and concentration. The main downside of Ritalin is that is very short lasting with an effective period of between 3 and 6 hours. This can make it tricky to take around a busy working day, especially allowing for the immediate peak after you first take the pill.
• Concerta is a popular extended release medication that can be obtained in 4 different strengths.
• Adderall, according to some studies, is more reliable than Ritalin. It not only acts on the synaptic gap, but also goes inside the cells to alter the chemical reactions taking place. It is also a lot longer lasting than Ritalin, and a single dose of Adderall can last twice as long. However, it does have several negative side effects such as anxiety and weight loss.
The other alternatives for patients seeking ADHD medications are non-stimulant drugs. These act by lowering the blood pressure to the brain, with the aim of reducing the number of synaptic connections. The most popular non- stimulants are:
• Intuniv – Originally designed as a blood pressure reducer, Intuniv works as an ADHD drug by activating the prefrontal cortex where conscious thought processes originate. However, the drug does have a high rate of inducing fainting, and does not quite rid the patients completely of ADHD symptoms.
• Strattera - Originally designed as an anti-depressant, Strattera affects the dopamine receptors in the brain and reduces the symptoms of ADHD. The biggest concern with Strattera is that it increases your suicidal tendencies, so it requires concurrent counseling with its usage.
Each drug works in a different way on different patients, and no one drug will provide the solution for all patients. The best tactic is to be patient with your doctor who may have to prescribe a wide variety of different ADHD medications in order to find the most effective one.