Medication for ADHD

Subject: Mental Health
Type: Descriptive Essay
Pages: 11
Word count: 2780
Topics: ADHD, Disease, Health, Medicine, Pharmacy


The Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder affects brain functionality in key ways. The disease has genetic relations consequentially resulting to brain based syndromes that deteriorate brain functionality in behavioral related activities. The operations of the brain particularly referred by some scholars as executive functional skills are functions like memory, motivation, effort, and concentration. Additionally some other functions that may be affected are such as social skills, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and organization of self. Definitively the condition may affect children and teens however, it may continue into adulthood.  Considerably, research through the CDC has presented numerous drug developed to improve the condition. However, numerous challenges exist in the process. This paper will articulate on the facts whether to medicate a child with ADHD or not. 

Understanding the condition

The symptoms of the condition do not allow the child to participate and have a decent education in school. Fundamentally, this is one of the reasons for the advocacy of medication. 

The understanding of the condition provides a basis for arguments for use of treatment or not. The knowledge is important for the analysis of the type of medication and consequences. A balance between the arguments on whether to use medication or not is imperative for any patients. Elucidation of the best medication possible verses the side effects informs the basis for our arguments. 

First, it is important to note that poor parenting, disobedience, or laziness on the part of the child or parent does not cause the condition (Hardman, Egan, & Drew, 2016). Fundamentally, a biological condition is symptomatic in its causes of lack of concentration. Research does not as well support the popular narrative that the condition is caused by poverty, too much sugar and watching of too much television. The condition has been found to be more rampant in boys than in girls. The detection of the condition in childhood often last into adulthood. There are certain symptoms associated with the conditions. They are inclusive of:

  • May have a lot of daydreams
  • Difficulty in getting along with others
  • Forgetful in a lot of instances
  • Talk too much
  • Have trouble in taking turns
  • Take risk unnecessarily and make mistakes 
  • Almost impossible to resist temptation

A significant number of the symptoms associated with ADHD inattention are actually symptoms of executive impairment of functions. In Definition, the Executive functions are actually a wide range of central control processes within the brain that are concerned with the integration, activation, and management of the function of the brain. The executive functions of the brain allow the individual to create routines while activating and integrating systems. 

According to a statistical study in the United States by CDC, about 11% that is 6.4 million of kids between the ages of 4 to 17 years have been diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Comprehensively, the study also found out that parents with knowledge on the disease have a better chance of seeking help as compared to those without. 


Research has shown that there are three different types of ADHD. The categorization is depended on the strength of individual symptoms in individuals. 

  1. Predominantly inattentive presentation – the individual has difficulty in the organization or accomplishment of a task. Additionally the individual is not able to pay attention to details, a conversation, or instruction given.  The individual finds themselves easily distracted or forgetful of daily routines. 
  2. Predominantly Hyperactive-impulsive presentation – together with fidgeting the individual talks a lot while they find it very hard to sit still for long hours. The smaller children with the condition may jump, run, or climb constantly. Restless is a symptom of the condition together with impulsivity. The impulsivity of the individuals may result to interruption of others in their engagement.  Impulsive people may as well speak inappropriately, while grabbing things from people. The individuals in this condition may injure themselves more than the others may. 
  3. Combined presentation – the symptoms of the other two types are presented in equally measure for this type. However, the symptoms may change at times thus the presentation also changes. 

What causes ADHD?

scientists have taken considerable time in studying the risk factors and causes of the disease? Important in the study are the ways of management of the condition that may result to the reduction of the chances of having ADHD. Research presents that genetics accounts for a significant number of the diseases. Factually, a recent study of twins provided the link between the disease and the genes of the children. However, scientists are studying other possibilities and risk factors that may account for the disease. On the list for possible causes are Brain injury, premature delivery, low birth weight, tobacco and alcohol as well as exposure to the environment


Current research provides the relationship between ADHD and neurobiological basis. However the precise cause of the condition has not yet been identified, hereditary makes the largest and most significant occurrence of the condition in children. Based on this factor scientist have now turned to understanding the neurochemistry of the condition (Castle & Aubert, 2007). The functional and structural imaging research of the ADHD associates the catecholamine-rich frontal-sub-cortical systems in ADHD pathophysiology.  

The use of effective stimulant medication, together with the association of models of animal’s hyperactivity as well points to catecholamine disruption as a cause of ADHD. Bran imaging in children with ADHD provides some startling facts.  The 10 years study by the National Institute of Mental Health found out that the brains of children as well as adolescents with condition are 3-4% smaller than those of normal children. Considerably the research found out the difference is not a consequence of medication. 

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Differences in the brain-Studies show that individuals with ADHD have certain areas of their brain developing at a slower rate as compared to other kids. John Hopkins in an analysis of the disease also found out that Kids with ADHD may have lower levels of the brain chemical Dopamine that works in the regulation of attention, mood as well as movement. 

Environmental factors-35% of the parents who smoke cigarettes and take alcohol increase the chances of their newborn having the ADHD. The National Institute of Mental Health as well linked the exposure of alcohol and cigarettes to infants to causing high levels of ADHD occurrence (Barkley, 2014). However, the research does not provide any link between excess sugar or food additives to the condition. 

Brain injury-Traumatic brain injury is not a significant cause of ADHD. However, symptoms alike to those presented by ADHD are often presented in a number of children who have Traumatic Brain Injury. Consciously, some recent studies have shown a high rate of attention difficulties amongst children with acquired brain injuries.  


The side effects of the treatment are one of the reasons why parents should not adopt medication. The drugs could also have a long-term effect on the health of the child. However, therapy is a better form of management

There are a number of treatments for ADHD; nevertheless, the efficacy and safety of the treatments based on investigation have resulted to the effectiveness of only a few. However, several researches have confirmed the existence of effects on the long-term use of the medication. Most of the long-term effects are on the developing brain of a child. Most of the medications used are stimulants; which are controlled substances implying that they can have long-term effects on the health of the patient. On the other hand, the medications are often used to relieve symptoms and allow the child run the day without problems. 

With knowledge on the symptoms of the condition and the extent of the consequences, it is important to study the type of medications and their consequences as well. The information of both sides will provide important insights for decision made for the arguments on whether to use medication or not. Notably analysis of the types of medication available is important for the arguments (J, DuPaul, & Stoner, 2015). Psychological and mental analyses of treatment are an assurance of clarity on the conditions. Notably the treatment of any condition or disease should not pose an unnecessary risk for an individual in the future. Generally, there are two classes of medication. They are stimulants and non-stimulant medications. 

Types of medication available

There are about five types of medication licensed for the treatment of ADHD. 

  • Methylphenidate
  • Dexamfetamine
  • Lisdexamfetamine
  • Atomoxetine
  • Guanfacine

Notably, that the above medications are not a cure for the condition, however they assist the patient with concentration, feel calmer, as well as practice new skills.

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Methylphenidate is commonly used by ADHD patients for the stimulation of brain activity in areas concerned with attention and behavior. The drug is licensed for the use by children, however teenagers can as well use.  The drug should be used in prescription by the doctor or specialist (Hjern, Weitoft, & Lindblad, 2009). However, the drugs has consequential side effects with the use. The drug is considered a nervous system stimulant that may cause a number of consequential conditions such as heart attack. In considerations of the whether to use the medication it is important to analyze its side effects. 

Common side effects are not limited to the following. While using methylphenidate, it is important for the patient not to use MAO inhibitor within the past 14 days. MAO inhibitor are drugs such as linezolid, methylene blue injection tranylcyromine and rasagiline. The drug on the other hand may cause worsening of psychosis or unusual thoughts and behaviors is specificity to past cases of bipolar disorder, mental illness, or depression. The medication may as well result to problems in the blood circulation, pain, numbness, and discoloration of fingers and toes, leading to heart problems. The drug cannot be used by patients who have a history glaucoma, tourette’s syndrome, and severe tension, anxiety and agitation.  


This is as well a stimulant medication that works in a similar manner to methylphenidate. The drug stimulates areas of the brain that result to the control of attention and behavior. The drug can be used by children over the age of 3 years as well as teenagers. The common side effects of the drug are decreased appetite, mood swings, aggression and agitation tendencies, diarrhea, headaches, and dizziness. 


Lisdexamfetamine is a similar medication to dexamfetamine while it works in a similar manner (Hale & Reddy, 196-212). The drug is used by children with the ADHD condition who are over the ages of six. The treatment is most of the time used when the methylphenidate has not produced appropriate results. The patient may continue in the use of the drug into adulthood. The common side effects to the use of the drug are the decrease of appetite causing loss of weight, drowsiness, aggression, dizziness, headaches, nausea and vomiting. 


This works differently as compared to the other ADHD medications. The drug is known as a selective noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). The drug works by increasing the measure of the chemical noradrenaline in the brain. The chemical works by passing messages between cells of the brain. This causes the increase in concentration levels while it helps in control of impulses. The drug is prescribed for children and teenagers over the age of 6 years. The common side effects of the disease are vomiting and nausea, stomachaches, an increase in blood pressure of the patient, sleeping troubles, irritability, and headaches. 


This drug acts on a section of the brain to improve the attention levels, while also reducing the blood pressure of the patient. The drug is recommended for teenagers and children after all the other medication are ineffective or unsuitable. The common side effects of the drug are tiredness, fatigue, dry mouth, abdominal pains, and headaches.

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Different therapies have been recommended for the treatment of ADHD in children and teenagers. The therapy is effective for the treatment of additional problems like anxiety disorders that appear together with ADHD. 


Psychoeducation implies that a child with ADHD is encouraged in discussion of the condition and its consequences. The education assists the children and teenagers develop sense on being diagnosed with the condition ADHD. Further the education on the condition will allow the patient be able to cope with it. 

Behavioral therapy

The behavioral therapy informs and supports caretakers of the children with ADHD. The therapy involves teachers, parents as well as close relations. The study involves management of the condition using of a reward system in encouragement of the child to control the disease. Identification of what the child understands as rewards is a sure way to win the child’s behavior (Rabiner & Costello, 2009).  For the teachers, behavior management involves the learning how to plan activities for the encouragement and praises the children for small progress. 

To take or not to take ADHD medication

The medication provides assistance to children however it is a not a cure. Based on a survey on 934 parents with children suffering from ADHD, 84% of them turned to medication at some point. On the other hand, more than half of the children in the survey have used more than two types of the medication within a period of three years. Fundamentally, the research presented some worrying trends where the children who had the medication had severe symptoms as compared to those who have never tried any of the medications. Subsequently, the average age of the children who tried medication was 13 years while those who never tried the medication is 10 years. 

Analysis of the drugs

The drugs prescribed are generally safe and effective, considerably 60-80 percent of the prescriptions result to lower hyperactivity and impulsiveness. Consequently, due to the drugs the children are less disruptive both at school and at home. In contrast, there is no evidence to show the benefits of the drug last more than two years. Fortunately, the children with those conditions improve as they reach their teenage years and adulthood even without medication. However, the condition may persist into adulthood for about 30% of the time. About all of the stimulants used in the treatment of ADHD cause the occurrence of cases of heart attack, sudden death, and stroke consequently children should be evaluated for the heart problems first before medication. 

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Is the medication helpful?

The man question at this phase is whether the medication is actually helpful in consideration with the side effects. In analysis of the symptoms, which one has more weight? A survey on parents who use medication presents considerable results. Parents who tried the use of methylphenidates or amphetamines reported positives changes in a few days. However, the second line of drugs took a little longer to work where positive results were reported after few weeks. About 10% of the parents who used the two drugs for children reported no positive change and had to seek a second opinion. 

According to the parents surveyed, the children presented slightly better outcomes while on medication. While the parents cited the use of medication as a strategy to managing ADHD, they were not completely satisfied. Fundamentally, only 52% of the parents recommended the reuse of the medication. Subsequently 44% confirmed that they wished there was another way to manage the condition. 35% of the parents were particularly satisfied with school results and behavior at school. 26% were satisfied with behavior at home with regard to the use of medication.  While some were happy with results on social skills and self-esteem at 19% and 18% respectively. 


Medication is important for the child. The symptom of ADHD presents challenges to the normal growth of the child. Children deserve to have a descent education deviant of interruptions and problems. However the condition denies attention, poses the life of children at risk while having no social skills associated with being humans. The management of the condition to allow the child achieve the best in life is important. Notably the symptoms of the condition in more than 60% of cases weaken in their adult life. Fundamentally, the lack of management of the condition will deny the child of better future. 

Though research shows that both children who have used medication and those not becoming better in their adult life. Medication allows the child to lead a health childhood. The side effects of the medication can be monitored to allow of the presentation of best results for the child. Different types of drugs can be tailored for the different patients with references to their past and current health status. The reasons for medication are for the reduction of effects of the symptoms while control on the side effects will produce better results. Reasonable ignorance of the use of medication based on side effects that could be managed will be denying children with ADHD a decent living. 

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  2. Castle, L., & Aubert, R. E. (2007). Trends in Medication Treatment for ADHD. Journal of attention Disorders , 335-342.
  3. Hale, J. B., & Reddy, L. A. (196-212). Executive Impairment Determines ADHD Medication Response: Implications for Academic Achievement. Journal of learnig disabilities , 196-212.
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