I can't think of a more productive way of using this space than to separate ADHD truths from falsehoods. Dr. William Dodson, who has been treating adults with ADHD for more than 20 years, wants ADDitude readers — and the rest of the world — to get the facts about ADHD medication and treatment. Here are 21 statements that many people are absolutely sure are true about ADHD and the medications used to treat it, but aren't:
1. ADHD treatment is dangerous.
2. ADHD is overdiagnosed and/or overtreated.
3. ADHD usually gets better or goes away in adolescence. People outgrow ADHD, so why bother treating it?
4. ADHD medications work by stimulating something in the brain.
5. ADHD medications are just "speed." They'll get you addicted.
6. Stimulant-class medications cause sleep disturbances.
7. ADHD medications would make anybody perform better. People are just looking for an advantage. They're cheating.
8. ADHD medications can be dosed on the basis of weight. (If a boy grows three inches and gains 30 pounds, the doctor will need to increase his dose.)
9. ADHD is just a school disorder and medications are not necessary during evenings, weekends, summers, or holidays.
10. The dosages approved by the FDA are adequate to treat most people with ADHD.
11. ADHD medications can not be used by persons who have seizures.
12. ADHD medications cause stunting of growth.
13. ADHD medications will trigger manic episodes in people who are bipolar.
14. The non-stimulant atomoxetine (Strattera) is safer for people with mood disorders than stimulant medications.
15. ADHD medications cause "amphetamine psychosis."
16. ADHD medications can be cardiotoxic in some people, and should not be used in patients with heart disease.
17. We don't know what effect these stimulant medications have on the development of the nervous systems of young children. They should not be taken by young children.
18. ADHD stimulants make anxiety worse.
19. ADHD medications make tics worse.
20. Cheaper generic medications are just as good as the more expensive time-released products.
21. It doesn't make any difference whether you take medications or not. People can improve if they try hard enough.