The Medication Station: ADHD Edition

Dr. Rebecca Brown

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common neuropsychiatric condition that may present with various symptomologies depending on age, level of cognitive functioning, and potential presence of comorbid disorders. Misdiagnosed or untreated ADHD can lead to social difficulties, academic underachievement, and poor performance at work. When someone mentions ADHD, most people picture a young child running around with high energy, unable to sit still in the class room, but that is not always the case! Let’s clear up some myths about ADHD; its presentation, treatment, and prognosis!

act or Fiction: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common neuropsychiatric condition that may present with various symptomologies depending on age, level of cognitive functioning, and potential presence of comorbid disorders. Misdiagnosed or untreated ADHD can lead to social difficulties, academic underachievement, and poor performance at work. When someone mentions ADHD, most people picture a young child running around with high energy, unable to sit still in the class room, but that is not always the case! Let’s clear up some myths about ADHD; its presentation, treatment, and prognosis!

Fact or Fiction: Only children can have ADHD and will eventually “grow out of it.”

Fiction! It is a myth that children “grow out” of ADHD once puberty is reached. ADHD affects nearly 8% of school- aged children, but symptoms can be present as young as three years old. Out of this 8%, over 60% of people continue to meet the criteria for ADHD into adult life. Although the hyperactive symptoms may diminish, adults with ADHD may continue to struggle with attention to detail, impulse control, and be more accident prone! A diagnosis of ADHD can be made in adulthood, even if you never saw a mental health provider as a child.

Fact or Fiction: Children with ADHD are always hyperactive

Fiction! There are three types of ADHD and not all of them require hyperactivity or poor impulse control as a diagnostic criterion. One subtype of ADHD, predominantly inattentive type, includes what I refer to as the “quiet symptoms” of ADHD. This type of ADHD may present as losing necessary things often (eyeglasses, school materials, keys etc.), not following through on responsibilities, making careless mistakes at work or home, increased forgetfulness, and appearing to not listen when spoken to directly. *Think about your spouse or boss constantly nagging you about forgotten responsibilities or your child’s teacher writing to you about missed assignments*

Fact or Fiction: Stimulants are the only method to treat ADHD and most people become addicted!

Fiction! Medications are a recommended part of treatment for ADHD, and luckily, there are numerous options. Generally, stimulants are a safe and highly effective treatment choice for ADHD symptom management when taken as prescribed. There are also several FDA approved non-stimulant medication options that are effective in the treatment of ADHD. As your provider, we will always discuss the risks, benefits, and goals of your personalized medication management plan together.

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