ADHD Medication List – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Should you medicate or not?

I know you struggle with medicating your child.  Will there be enough benefit to outweigh the detriments?  What are the longterm effects of giving children stimulant or non-stimulant drugs to manage their symptoms?  Will they grow to be healthy adults if their appetite is constantly suppressed?  Will their immune system be compromised because they never get enough food or sleep to maintain their growing bodies?  Let’s get down to business and discuss the ADHD Medication List – the good, the bad and the ugly.

Super like a Super Hero

If you have read my other posts, you know I believe kids with ADHD are Super Heroes.  They have extraordinary traits such as excess energy, ability to hyper focus, are out-of-the-box thinkers, highly independent, and problem solvers.  Many celebrities, famous entrepreneurs, artist, athletes, and successful business people have revealed they were diagnosed as ADHD.  Bill Gates, Justin Timberlake, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Michael Phleps, Richard Branson, Michael Jordan, Abraham Lincoln and Albert Einstein all had or have ADHD.

But why are the symptoms becoming more aggressive, more uncontrollable?

If you feed a thoroughbred race horse Coca Cola and Cheetos every day, would it be able to perform at it’s optimum level?  Of course not!  It’s still a temperamental race horse with high energy, but now it’s even more moody, and probably more aggressive.

Our kids are like thoroughbred race horses…high energy, high maintenance, moody and uncontrollable, but fierce and highly respected once they mature and grow into their traits, just like all those successful people listed above.

Environment vs Genetics

I often ask myself why are more kids diagnosed with ADHD now, more than ever before?  Why are co-morbid conditions like Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Learning Disabilities, and Sensory problems (SPD) associated with ADHD?

We are continuously exposed to toxins today.  Toxins are in the air, the water, the food and the products we apply to our skin.  Toxins are in the cleaners we use to clean our houses, and as we become more energy efficient, we don’t open our windows enough to dilute those home cleaners, therefore, we are breathing a more concentrated batch of those toxins while “cleaning” our homes.

Yes, ADHD is genetic.  Yes, you probably had ADHD too, but you can’t remember being as out of control as your child.  It’s not your discipline practices, your parenting skills, or the education system’s fault.  In my opinion, our kids are just more sensitive to the toxins and chemicals we’re surrounded by.

We try to “fix” the ADHD symptoms by medications,which suppress one symptom, but induce another symptom or two, or three.  Please don’t get me wrong, medications are great if you receive benefits from them.  But there is no benefit if the medicine eliminates one symptom, but creates 3 more symptoms or side effects.  In turn, we need to give our children more medicine to fix those 3 more symptoms and so on and so on.  It’s a circular hell and it’s sad we subject our children to the trial and error of drugs.

If our kids don’t feel better, then it’s not effective. An effective ADHD medicine should improve their life, they should want to take it, it should make a significant difference in how they feel and behave.  If not, it’s NO MUY BUENO!

So What Do I Do?

  • Whole Food diet – REAL FOOD all the time – no artificial food like products, no additives, no preservatives, no dyes and NO HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP.  The less processed and closer to earth it is the better.  Lots of fruits, veggies, non processed food is always best.
  • Use Cruelty Free or Organic Products – Cruelty free products are products that are never tested on animals.  If a product has safe, natural ingredients, there is no need for testing on animals before human use.  Use Cruelty free or Organic products for cleaning your home, car, body, hair, teeth…you get the idea. Your skin is the largest organ of your body, what you apply gets absorbed over a larger mass and can impact you more than any pill.
  • Be Positive – Build your child up!  Find every occasion to praise and compliment them. You don’t want to be around people who yell and criticize you all the time and neither do your kids.  If you were forced to be around mean people, you’d be mean back, just to defend yourself.  It’s human nature, not ADHD.
  • Give Short Instructions – The ADHD mind is a highly functioning, multi-tasker.  I’ts going 100 miles per hour every second of the day.  So give short instructions.  One task at a time.
  • Make a list of tasks for your child.  Don’t be highly critical of the finished product.  Precision comes with practice.  Just be glad they are making an effort to complete the list.  That’s the accomplishment for now.
  • Be patient – ADHD kids are messy, Non-ADHD kids are messy – It’s a kid thing, not an ADHD thing.  Stay consistent, be supportive.  They will figure it out…in my case, it wasn’t until I had kids of my own, but eventually, they will start to pick up their mess, or go to college, either way, you’ll have a clean house then. My mom lived through it and so can you.
  • Give consequences in advance – no surprises.  It’s unfair to discipline them if they didn’t know what to expect in advance.
  • Don’t demand spur of the moment obedience.  Don’t say – “Get off your phone right now!” instead say, “You have 10 more minutes left on the phone.”, then “You have 5 more minutes on the phone”, then “You have 2 more minutes on the phone”, then “Time to get off”.

Medication Uses and Side Effects

Medications should always be a last resort, but If you’re still on the fence about medicating.  Here is a list of uses and side effects for Stimulants and Non Stimulants.  As you can see, the side effects far outnumber the uses of all the medications.

Stimulants

Uses (The Good):

  • Improve focus
  • improve listening skills
  • reduce hyperactivity and impulsiveness

Side Effects (The Bad; The Ugly):

  • Headaches
  • Stomach aches
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight-loss
  • Anxiety
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Tics
  • Sudden outbursts/sounds
  • Depression
  • Joint pain
  • Increased aggression
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Blurred Vision
  • For Males (even young boys and teens) prolonged and/or painful erection lasting more than 4 hours.  Must seek medical attention to prevent permanent problems.

Non-Stimulants 

Uses (The Good):

  • Improve Focus
  • Improve Impulse Control
  • Reduce Hyperactivity and impulsivity
  • Mood stabilizer

Side Effects (The Bad; The Ugly):

  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatique
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Menstrual cramps/irregular periods
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Males – Prolonged/painful erection lasting more than 4 hours
  • Problem with urinating or painful urinating
  • Irregular heartbeat/palpitations
  • Cough
  • Mood swings
  • Sexual dysfunction