Treatment for ADHD 



For adults, the first choice of treatment is medication. After ADHD psychoeducation, medication is the second choice treatment for children. Medication provides a clear reduction of relevant symptoms in a clear majority of cases. The aim of treatment is to bring symptoms down by 50% of original severity. 
ADHD medication can be split into categories of stimulant and non-stimulant medication. Stimulant medications are recommended first line treatment unless the person suffers with anxiety, tics or another condition which means that they cannot take this group of medications. 
Further information about ADHD and the available treatment options can be found on our Choice and Medication page 
Before starting medication, a person must have a detailed cardiovascular history and an examination should be completed including pulse and blood pressure readings. Medication has to be increased over a period of weeks or months to a dose that is effective and that has tolerable side effects for the individual. Medication should be started by a specialist with training in the assessment and treatment of ADHD. Once the medication has been optimised, management of the treatment can be transferred to the person’s GP under a Shared Care Agreement between the patient, the ADHD specialist and the GP. 
The ADHD specialist will need to continue to assess the person at 6-12 month intervals in order to ensure the ongoing safety and effectiveness of the medication. 
However, evidence shows a lack of long-term sufficiency of medication as a sole treatment for ADHD. Also, medication alone is rarely adequate for people with complex needs and other mental health difficulties. Medication is not enough to enhance the skills and competencies needed to counter the long-range impairments linked to ADHD. 

Psychological interventions 

Psychological interventions are the second choice of treatment after medications. They can also be used first line when people do not want to take medication or when they cannot take medication due to their other health problems. The basis for psychological interventions for ADHD is a level of education about the condition and the common difficulties that people face in their education, work, relationships, free time and the effects that ADHD can have on their mental wellbeing. Psychological interventions for ADHD are based on therapies that have previously been developed for other conditions like anxiety and depression. Many of the techniques used in these interventions are based on existing forms of psychological interventions such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT). 

Further sources of information about ADHD and mental health  

NHS website 
The Neurodiversity Charity 
The Mental Health Charity 
ADHD Information Services 
Information about mental health conditions, self-help, treatment and support targeted at younger people and their parents 
Links to support groups 
Link to find NHS or private ADHD services in your area. 
Further sources of reliable information about medication for ADHD: 
Provide public and professional information sheets for different medications. They have a reliable and up to date drug interaction checker. 
Information about side effects, drug interactions, warnings and cautions for people with different existing health conditions 
BUMPS Best use of medicines in pregnancy 
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