In ADHD 2.0 Dr Hallowell says “in the short term nothing gives you the bang for your buck that medication can. Indeed, as long as medications are prescribed and taken properly, they afford by far the most immediate (in some cases within an hour of taking them) and effective benefit of any treatment there is; they are a hugely valuable tool in our therapeutic toolbox”

This was certainly my experience on trying them for the first time aged 45. I will never forget the feeling of calmness and clearheadedness after just an hour of taking Elvanse for the first time. It was truly incredible. I just did not believe it was possible until that moment. You can read more about my experience in this post.

Medication doesn’t work for everyone with ADHD but it has around an 80% success rate. It can take some time to find the right medication and the right dose (titration), so sometimes you have to work really hard to get this right, which can be frustrating – but the benefits can be life-changing.

Obviously medication doesn’t suit everyone – if you have a heart condition for example and some people choose not to go down this route and successfully manage their ADHD in other ways. See our Coaching / Therapy section.

In the UK there are 5 types of ADHD medication licenced. They are:

  • Methylphenidate

  • Lisdexamphetamine

  • Dexamphetamine

  • Atomoxetine

  • Guanfacine (this is not prescribed to adults)

The top three drugs are stimulants and the bottom two aren’t; they work differently.

This means that if you find you can’t tolerate the stimulant medication, for whatever reason, there is an alternative.

Common brand names for these medications are:

Methylphenidate – Concerta XL, Equasym XL, Medikinet, Medikinet XL and Ritalin

LIsdexamphetamine – Elvanse (known as Vyvanse in the US)

Dexamphetamine – Dexedrine

Atomoxetine – Strattera

Only a specialist can prescribe medication. Before you start you will have your blood pressure taken and may also have an ECG to ensure that you have no heart problems.

It can take awhile to find the right drug & dose; a qualified individual should work with you through this titration process.

If you do take medication for your ADHD it is incredibly important to stay hydrated and to remember to eat. Not doing these things can make you feel pretty awful. I also find it important to remember to have time to wind-down at night.