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    Myths and Facts About ADHD Medication and Kids

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    Medication cures ADHD.

    Medication cures ADHD.

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    There’s no cure for ADHD. But medicine and behavioral therapy can help with symptoms. Medication can help your child focus, stay on task, and get along better with family, friends, and teachers.

    What’s the most common kind of medicine for ADHD?

    What’s the most common kind of medicine for ADHD?

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    Stimulants are the best-tested group of ADHD medications. They help about 80% of kids who try them. Even though they’re stimulants, they don’t make kids with ADHD jittery. Instead, they up the level of chemicals in the brain called dopamine and norepinephrine. That can help your child pay attention and focus.

    Nonstimulant medications are also an option. Talk to your doctor about what’s right for your child.

    ADHD medication can change your child’s personality.

    ADHD medication can change your child’s personality.

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    It may seem to, but it's likely that either the medication is wearing off, or the dosage isn't right. It can take a few weeks to figure out the right amount of medication for your child and the best times for him to take it. If he seems sleepy, zoned-out, tearful, or irritable, let your child’s doctor know. Together, you can decide on the right treatment for your child.

    Some kids do fine taking summers off from medication.

    Some kids do fine taking summers off from medication.

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    Is it a good option for your child? It depends on what he’s doing in the summer, side effects from medicine, and also his symptoms. A summer “drug holiday” may work well if your child only needs medication to help with school and homework. Talk it over with your child’s doctor before you take any breaks from ADHD medication.

    Your child may not need medication as a teenager or adult.

    Your child may not need medication as a teenager or adult.

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    As your child gets older, his symptoms may get better or he may learn ways to cope with them. More than half of children with ADHD still have symptoms as teenagers and adults, and behavioral therapy and medication still help. Talk to your child’s doctor, teachers, coaches, and counselors before stopping medication.

    When were stimulants first given to children with behavior and learning problems?

    When were stimulants first given to children with behavior and learning problems?

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    Stimulants have been around a long time. They’ve been studied more often than nearly any other medication. Many people take them for years with good results.

    ADHD medication stunts growth.

    ADHD medication stunts growth.

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    Scientists have spent a lot of time looking at how ADHD medicines may affect height and weight. Stimulants might have a small effect on your child’s growth, but studies show it’s temporary and your child will catch up. The medication won’t affect his final height.

    How long does it take for stimulants to work?

    How long does it take for stimulants to work?

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    You’ll likely notice a difference in your child’s behavior pretty quickly. But how long the medication lasts varies. Some are taken once a day and last 7 to 12 hours; others are taken two or three times a day and last 4 to 5 hours.

    If your child takes stimulants and has a hard time sleeping, try:

    If your child takes stimulants and has a hard time sleeping, try:

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    Trouble sleeping is a common side effect of stimulant medication. Give your child 4 to 6 weeks to adjust to a new medication. The sleep problem usually gets better. If she takes a medicine that needs two or three doses and she’s still having a hard time sleeping, talk to you doctor about giving the second and third doses earlier in the day so it wears off by bedtime.

    Kids who take medication for ADHD are more likely to have problems with drugs or alcohol.

    Kids who take medication for ADHD are more likely to have problems with drugs or alcohol.

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    Kids who take medicine to help with their ADHD are less likely to have drug or alcohol problems than kids with ADHD who don’t get treatment. It’s still a good idea to keep these medicines in a safe place and make sure your child takes them the way he should.

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