Management of ADHD
This section explains more about treatment of ADHD, specifically medication, how it works, and addresses some of the common questions and worries. The ADHD Foundation would like to thank Dr Eunice Wong for contributing to this article.

Why Medication? To Take or Not To Take?

Stimulant medications (methylphenidate, etc) are often the first line treatment recommendation for children and adults with ADHD.

The American Medical Association’s Council on Scientific Affairs has commented that “ADHD is one of the best-researched disorders in medicine, and the overall data on its validity are far more compelling than for many medical conditions”. There were “over 5,000 medical researches on ADHD and treatments from the year 1996 to 2006” and research results have consistently showed the remarkable effectiveness of the medication, methylphenidate (Ritalin). Considering the high efficacy and low side effect profile, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry recommended that methylphenidate to be the first line treatment of ADHD in most cases.

Medication, as the first line treatment, was first established by the milestone study MTA (“Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) in 1999. This is the largest randomized control study of long term treatment of ADHD to date. The research result showed the following findings:

  • Medications lead to significantly better results for the core symptoms of ADHD than behavioral therapy.
  • A combination of medication and behavioral therapy provides better treatment for children with ADHD and oppositional and aggressive behaviors.

For children who are diagnosed early with ADHD (in general before 9 years of age) and without coexisting conditions, medication alone usually is sufficient to reverse the core symptoms.

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