Common ADHD Treatments for Adults

March 16, 2016

Treating ADD / ADHD in adults requires a multi-pronged approach. Symptoms are generally treated with medicine. Stimulant medications such as Adderall, Ritalin, Vyvanse, Concerta, and Focalin are the most commonly prescribed. Long acting stimulants such as Adderall XR and Ritalin LA can provide symptom relief for an entire day with a single dose. Strattera, a non-stimulant approved for treatment of adult ADHD, has also gained wide acceptance. While there are several types of medications to treat ADHD, It may take some trial and error to find the right medicine—and the right dose—for you.

But it’s not just a matter of taking a pill. While you cannot cure ADHD, there is a lot you can do to improve symptoms. You will get much more out of your medication if you take the time to address emotional and behavioral issues and teach yourself new coping skills. There is also work to be done on practical stuff, such as getting organized.
There are also things you can do at home and at work to help overcome the challenges of ADHD. The key is to find or create a lifestyle that uses your strengths, works around your challenges, and helps you stay on track. For example:

  1. Get moving. Exercise is good for the body and mind. For adults with ADHD, it’s a healthy way to burn off excess energy, for example, before sitting down to work. Don’t leave exercise to chance. Put it down as part of your daily or weekly schedule.
  2. Eat well and get enough sleep. Your diet should be rich in colorful fruits and vegetables. It should also include whole grains, lean protein, and healthy oils (olive oil and canola oil, for example). Try to create a consistent bedtime routine that helps you wind down. Some ADHD medicines can reduce appetite and make it harder to fall asleep. If these side effects are getting in the way of you eating well and getting enough rest, talk to your doctor about other treatment options.
  3. Build a routine and stick with it. Some people do best when their tasks and the demands on their time are consistent and predictable. Set up a “launch pad” near the door for keys, wallets, glasses, briefcases, and backpacks.
  4. Working with your doctor to find the right treatment for your ADHD is critical to living well with this condition.