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What happens if someone develops a tolerance to ADHD medication?

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Long-term use of all stimulants can sometimes lead to a phenomenon called tolerance -- that is, when a person needs higher doses of a certain drug to achieve the same effects. If and when this happens, a doctor might consider prescribing non-stimulant medicines to treat ADHD.

From: ADHD and Substance Abuse WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES: Molina, B. Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, April 2007. Marshal, M. Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, 2007. Goldman, L. Journal of the American Medical Association, April 8, 1998. Biederman, J. American Journal of Psychiatry, published online, March 2008. Biederman, J. Pediatrics, August 1999. Volkow, N. Arch Gen Psychiatry, June 1995. Volkow, N. American Journal of Psychiatry, November 2003. Johann, M. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, October 2003. Greydanus, D. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder across the lifespan: the child, adolescent, and adult. Disease-a-Month, February 2007. Levin, F. Alcohol & Drug Abuse: practical guidelines for the treatment of substance abusers with adult attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Psychiatric Services, August 1999. Mannuzza, S. American Journal of Psychiatry, April 1, 2008, published online. 










Smith, B. National Institutes of Health, 2002.

Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari on May 20, 2018

SOURCES: Molina, B. Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, April 2007. Marshal, M. Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, 2007. Goldman, L. Journal of the American Medical Association, April 8, 1998. Biederman, J. American Journal of Psychiatry, published online, March 2008. Biederman, J. Pediatrics, August 1999. Volkow, N. Arch Gen Psychiatry, June 1995. Volkow, N. American Journal of Psychiatry, November 2003. Johann, M. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, October 2003. Greydanus, D. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder across the lifespan: the child, adolescent, and adult. Disease-a-Month, February 2007. Levin, F. Alcohol & Drug Abuse: practical guidelines for the treatment of substance abusers with adult attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Psychiatric Services, August 1999. Mannuzza, S. American Journal of Psychiatry, April 1, 2008, published online. 










Smith, B. National Institutes of Health, 2002.

Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari on May 20, 2018

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Does taking stimulants for ADHD lead to substance abuse problems?

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