What Are My Options: A Look At Current Treatment for ADHD?

For an individual struggling with ADHD, maintaining focus and motivation can be incredibly exhausting. We want to use this space to discuss the myriad of options, both pharmacological and...

For an individual struggling with ADHD, maintaining focus and motivation can be incredibly exhausting. We want to use this space to discuss the myriad of options, both pharmacological and non-pharmacological, available to help!

Non-Pharmacological Options:
1) Meditation

  • Several studies conducted on mindfulness, yoga, and meditation as a treatment for children struggling with ADHD, found significant decreases in hyperactivity and anxiety in addition to increases in attentional focus and executive functioning (Chimiklis et al., 2018).
  • Significant research suggests that these benefits in function were maintained when done with

2) Exercise

  • In a systematic review of 613 studies on ADHD and exercise, researchers found that moderate to intense aerobic exercise was effective at treating cognitive, behavioral, and physical symptoms of ADHD (Ng, Ho, Chan, Yong, & Yeo, 2017).

Pharmacological Options:
1) Stimulants

  • Stimulants such as adderall, ritalin, focalin, and vyvanse are a class of drug designed to temporarily increase the activity in the brain and spinal cord
  • These drugs are often used t treat conditions like ADHD, narcolepsy, and obesity
  • These drugs can work in several different ways to increase the release of dopamine and norepinephrine in the nervous system. These neurotransmitters (signals released by nerves) cause increased attentional awareness, focus, and frontal lobe activity (which is helpful for executive function) (Khashayar Farzam, Faizy, & Abdolreza Saadabadi, 2020; Brown, Samuel, & Patel, 2018).

2) Non-stimulants

  • These are a newer variety of pharmacological treatment designed to reduce some of the side-effects seen in traditional stimulants
  • Drugs like Strattera, are designed to increase norepinephrine and dopamine in more targeted areas (such as the prefrontal cortex) rather than stimulating the whole central nervous system.
  • While drugs like this are promising, they take longer to take effect and have less efficacy than traditional stimulants (Briars & Todd, 2016)

As you can see, there are a lot of options to help reduce the hardships of those struggling ADHD. The best treatments are ones that combine both non-pharmacological and pharmacological interventions to enhance focus and reduce hyperactivity!


  • Briars, L., & Todd, T. (2016). A Review of Pharmacological Management of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. The Journal of Pediatric Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 21(3), 192–206. https://doi.org/10.5863/1551-6776-21.3.192
  • Brown, K. A., Samuel, S., & Patel, D. R. (2018). Pharmacologic management of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents: a review for practitioners. Translational Pediatrics, 7(1), 36–47. https://doi.org/10.21037/tp.2017.08.02
  • Chimiklis, A. L., Dahl, V., Spears, A. P., Goss, K., Fogarty, K., & Chacko, A. (2018). Yoga, Mindfulness, and Meditation Interventions for Youth with ADHD: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 27(10), 3155–3168. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-018-1148-7
  • Davis, N., & Mitchell, J. (2013). ADHD in Adolescents. Retrieved February 10, 2021, from Google Books website: https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=FbG9DwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA369
  • Khashayar Farzam, Faizy, R. M., & Abdolreza Saadabadi. (2020, November 27). Stimulants. Retrieved February 10, 2021, from Nih.gov website: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK539896/
  • Ng, Q. X., Ho, C. Y. X., Chan, H. W., Yong, B. Z. J., & Yeo, W.-S. (2017). Managing childhood and adolescent attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with exercise: A systematic review. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 34, 123–128. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2017.08.018
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