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ADHD Treatment

ADHD is a condition characterized by issues with concentration and remaining focused on tasks. The diagnosis of ADHD has risen sharply in recent years, particularly among adults. This is likely secondary to increased awareness.

ADHD Diagnosis

ADHD is a subjective diagnosis primarily based on patient-reported symptoms. A number of questionnaires have been developed to help aid in the diagnosis of ADHD. Some are administered by mental health professionals, and others are available online. The utility of these diagnostic tools is questionable since most patients will be able to discern which responses support a diagnosis. Since I do not prescribe stimulants, I am comfortable treating patients who have reviewed the diagnostic criteria and feel they meet them. A link to ADHD diagnostic criteria is provided below.

DSM-5 ADHD diagnostic criteria

ADHD Medications

Stimulant medications, which include amphetamines and methylphenidate, are often used to treat ADHD. These medications are schedule II controlled substances that are highly addictive, habit-forming, and widely abused; therefore, I do not prescribe them. Fortunately, there are other treatments available. A review of those therapies is provided below, along with results from a study that compared the efficacy of different ADHD meds.

ADHD Medication Effectiveness

  • Effect sizes are expressed as the SMD (95%CI)
  • SMD - standardized mean difference which represents the standarized treatment effect
  • Reference [7]
Effects of ADHD Medications in Controlled Trials
Drug Children Adults
Amphetamines 1.02
(1.19 to 0.85)
(0·99 to 0·58)
Bupropion 0.96
(1.69 to 0.22)
(0·85 to 0·07)
Methylphenidate 0.78
(0.93 to 0.62)
(0·64 to 0·35)
Clonidine 0.71
(1.17 to 0.24)
Guanfacine 0.67
(0.85 to 0.50)
Atomoxetine 0.56
(0.66 to 0.45)
(0.58 to 0.32)
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