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ADD Medications

When a child or adult is diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD) the common response is to use medication to treat the condition. Prescription medication is by far the most popular choice for people suffering from learning disabilities and other ailments and there are a number of medications available for treating ADD. Treating ADD in children and adults often involves the use of either stimulant or non-stimulant medications that help to reduce symptoms of ADD including hyperactivity, inattentiveness and impulsive behavior. If a child is diagnosed with ADD it is often the parents that will decide if medication is the right option but adults who suffer from ADD will have to decide for themselves if medication is best.

As with any prescription medication, pills for treating ADD can have serious side effects and in some cases may not work. Common medications include Ritalin, Adderall, Dexedrine and Strattera. While these popular medications can help a child or adult suffering from ADD most doctors will warn that taking a pill isn't always enough and that any medication should be supported with other treatments including regular exercise, healthy diets and in some cases behavioral therapy. Too often patients believe pills are magic and that taking it will rid them of any problems. While medications can be helpful it is unhealthy to rely on any one pill and what's worse become dependent on it.

Many doctors will recommend ADD medications that are classified as stimulants. Ritalin, Dexedrine and Adderall are examples of prescription medications that act to increase dopamine levels in the brain. Research shows that ADD patients who take prescribed stimulants experience a noticeable boost in concentration and focus while at the same time reducing hyperactivity and impulsivity. However, stimulants have side effects that may be serious depending on the patient. Common side effects associated with medications such as Ritalin and Dexedrine include trouble sleeping, headaches, irritability and mood swings, depression and dizziness. If you or your child is starting a medication treatment that includes use of a stimulant be on the watch for these side effects and stop taking the drug if the symptoms become too hard to handle.

Another type of ADD medication that is often prescribed is non-stimulant drugs typically of the anti-depressant category. Medications like Strattera are used to boost norepinephrine, a different chemical in the brain than dopamine. ADD patients that also experience anxiety and depression are typically prescribed this type of drug over stimulants since it can treat those conditions as well. Side effects often associated with use of non-stimulant ADD medication include nausea, abdominal pain, mood swings and headaches. Again, stop using a medication if the side effects are consistent and debilitating. Not everyone reacts to medications in the same way and though an ADD medication may work for some it doesn't mean it will work for everyone. Starting with a small dosage and measuring the effects is the best way to start treatment.

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