Skip to content

ADD & ADHD Health Center

Select An Article

Stimulant Drugs for ADHD

Font Size

Stimulant drugs are the treatment most often used for ADHD. They can help you manage symptoms, such as:

  • Short attention span
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Hyperactivity

They may be the only treatment you use, or you can try them along with behavior therapy.

Recommended Related to ADD-ADHD

Adult ADHD and Your Relationships

Does your husband complain that you never listen? Does your wife say she feels like you’re just one more child in the house? Have your friends lost patience with you because you’re late all the time? ADHD could be to blame. The condition starts in childhood, but it can stay into adulthood. Some people don’t even know they have ADHD until they’re adults. And if you have it, it could be causing relationship problems. Learn the red flags and what to do about them.

Read the Adult ADHD and Your Relationships article > >

These drugs help ADHD symptoms in about 70% of adults and 70% to 80% of children. They tend to cut down on hyperactivity, interrupting, and fidgeting. They can also help a person finish tasks and improve his or her relationships.

As long as the medication is taken, people see better attention span and behavior. Even though there is some debate about whether social skills or performance at school gets better, there are many people who benefit from them.

Are Stimulants Addictive?

Stimulants aren’t habit-forming in the doses used to treat ADHD in children and teens. And there is no evidence that taking them leads to drug abuse. In fact, studies have shown that people with ADHD who are treated with medication have lower rates of substance abuse than people with ADHD who are not treated.

Still, there is a potential for abuse and addiction with any stimulant medication. This is especially true if the person taking them has a history of substance abuse and addiction. It’s something you may want to take into consideration.

Common Stimulants for ADHD

There are many stimulants available to treat ADHD: short acting, intermediate-acting, and long-acting forms.

The short-acting forms are usually taken two or three times a day, and the long-acting ones just once a day. The benefit of short-acting is that you have more control over when you have medication in your system. The downside is you have to remember to take them often.

A positive of the long-acting type is that you don’t have to remember to take them as often. They may also cut down on some side effects. But it may be harder to wind down at night until you get your medication dose and timing right.

Common stimulants include:

Short-Acting:

  • Amphetamine sulfate (Evekeo)
  • Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine, ProCentra, Zenzedi)
  • Dexmethylphendiate (Focalin)
  • Methylphenidate (Ritalin)

Intermediate-Acting:

  • Dextroamphetamine (Adderall, Dexedrine spansule)
  • Methylphenidate (Ritalin SR, Metadate ER, Methylin ER)

    Long-Acting:

  • Dexmethylphenidate (Focalin XR)
  • Dextroamphetamine (Adderall XR)
  • Lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse)
  • Methylphenidate (Concerta, Daytrana, Metadate CD, Quillivant XR, Ritalin LA)

Most are pills, but sometimes medication can be in a patch that is put on the skin or in a liquid.

Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Post it notes
Symptoms and treatments.
Close up of eye
What's zapping your focus?
 
man driving car
How to manage your impulses.
contemplating woman
Learn to stop procrastinating.
 
concentration killers
SLIDESHOW
Woman taking a vitamin or supplement
Article
 
ADHD and Substance Abuse
Article
Reduce Side Effects ADHD Medications
Article
 

boy eating egg
Video
smiling man
Article
 
ADHD in Marriage and Romantic Relationships
Article
Adult man lying awake in bed
Article