Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting millions worldwide, characterised by difficulties with attention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. For many individuals living with ADHD, medication management plays a pivotal role in symptom control and daily functioning. In this article, we delve into the intricate landscape of ADHD medications, providing a comprehensive breakdown of the types available, their mechanisms of action, and considerations for treatment selection. By understanding the nuances of ADHD medications, individuals, caregivers, and healthcare professionals can navigate treatment options more effectively, ultimately improving the quality of life for those impacted by ADHD.

Prescribed Medications To Help Manage ADHD

Here’s a list of commonly prescribed medications for ADHD along with brief explanations of their mechanisms of action:

Stimulant Medications

  • Methylphenidate (e.g., Ritalin, Concerta): Methylphenidate increases the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain by blocking their reuptake, which helps to improve attention, focus, and impulse control.
  • Amphetamine (e.g., Adderall, Vyvanse): Amphetamine also increases dopamine and norepinephrine levels but works by promoting their release into the brain. This leads to similar improvements in attention, focus, and impulse control.

Non-Stimulant Medications

  • Atomoxetine (Strattera): Atomoxetine works by selectively inhibiting the reuptake of norepinephrine in the brain, which helps to improve attention and reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity.
  • Guanfacine (Intuniv): Guanfacine is an alpha-2 adrenergic agonist that acts on receptors in the prefrontal cortex, reducing the release of norepinephrine. This helps to improve executive function, attention, and impulse control.

These medications are typically prescribed based on individual needs, medical history, and response to treatment. It’s important for individuals to work closely with their healthcare providers to find the most effective medication and dosage while minimising potential side effects. Additionally, behavioural therapies and other non-pharmacological interventions may be used in conjunction with medication to optimize treatment outcomes for ADHD.

Prescribed Medications To Help Manage ADHD

Medication Overview

This table provides a basic outline of the age range for each drug, the duration of treatment, common side effects, and the benefits associated with each medication. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional for specific guidance on ADHD medication use.

Drug Age Best Taken Duration of Treatment Side Effects Benefits
Methylphenidate (e.g., Ritalin, Concerta) Children 6 years and older As prescribed by healthcare provider, typically long-term Insomnia, decreased appetite, headaches, stomachaches, irritability Improved attention, focus, impulse control
Amphetamine (e.g., Adderall, Vyvanse) Children 6 years and older As prescribed by healthcare provider, typically long-term Insomnia, decreased appetite, weight loss, increased heart rate, irritability Improved attention, focus, impulse control
Atomoxetine (Strattera) Children 6 years and older As prescribed by healthcare provider, typically long-term Upset stomach, decreased appetite, nausea, dizziness, fatigue Improved attention, reduced hyperactivity and impulsivity
Guanfacine (Intuniv) Children 6 years and older As prescribed by healthcare provider, typically long-term Drowsiness, fatigue, dizziness, low blood pressure, dry mouth Improved attention, reduced hyperactivity and impulsivity

Natural ADHD Treatments & Remedies

While medication and behavioural therapy are often primary treatments for ADHD, some individuals seek natural remedies and lifestyle changes to manage symptoms.

Dietary Modifications

Many people with ADHD find that certain dietary modifications can help alleviate symptoms. Some research suggests that diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts, may support brain health and improve attention and focus. Additionally, avoiding artificial food colourings, preservatives, and additives may benefit some individuals with ADHD, as these substances can potentially exacerbate symptoms in sensitive individuals.

Regular Exercise

Physical activity is known to have numerous benefits for overall health and well-being, and it can also be beneficial for managing ADHD symptoms. Exercise helps increase dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain, neurotransmitters that play a key role in attention and focus. Engaging in regular physical activity, such as walking, cycling, or sports, may help reduce hyperactivity, impulsivity, and improve overall cognitive function in individuals with ADHD.

Mindfulness and Meditation

Practices such as mindfulness meditation and yoga can help individuals with ADHD develop greater self-awareness, emotional regulation, and attention control. These practices promote relaxation, reduce stress, and enhance cognitive flexibility, which can be particularly beneficial for individuals with ADHD who struggle with impulsivity and emotional regulation.

Natural ADHD Treatments & Remedies


Some natural supplements have been studied for their potential benefits in managing ADHD symptoms. For example, supplements such as zinc, magnesium, and iron are important for brain health and may support cognitive function. Additionally, herbal remedies like ginkgo biloba, ginseng, and passionflower have been explored for their potential to improve focus and attention in individuals with ADHD. However, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen, as they may interact with other medications or have adverse effects.

Sleep Hygiene

Ensuring adequate sleep is crucial for overall health and well-being, and it can also impact ADHD symptoms. Poor sleep quality or insufficient sleep can exacerbate symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Establishing a consistent sleep schedule, creating a calming bedtime routine, and minimising screen time before bed can help improve sleep quality and support better management of ADHD symptoms.

While natural treatments and remedies may offer some relief for individuals with ADHD, it’s important to note that they are not a substitute for evidence-based treatments such as medication and behavioral therapy. It’s essential for individuals with ADHD to work closely with healthcare professionals to develop a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to their specific needs and preferences.

We Can Help!

Take control of your ADHD symptoms and unlock your full potential with Enlightened Minds. Our team of experienced professionals specialises in comprehensive treatment and management strategies tailored to your unique needs. Whether you’re seeking medication management, behavioural therapy, or exploring natural remedies, we’re here to support you every step of the way. Don’t let ADHD hold you back any longer – schedule a consultation with Enlightened Minds today and embark on your journey towards a more focused, fulfilling life.