6. “You should see a huge improvement in symptoms right away.”
Research tells us a lot about overall stimulant efficacy, but we cannot tell how it will affect any particular individual. That’s because clinical trials are:
- Conducted in controlled settings
- Done with patients who have no co-existing conditions (a rarity among adults with ADD/ADHD)
- Very brief in duration (usually ending before side effects can develop).
The potential positive effects of medical treatment for ADD/ADHD shouldn’t be oversold, Weiss warns. “It’s true that some symptoms may improve dramatically in days, or even in hours. But it is important to wait to judge the full effect of the medication, because it can take some time for all the data to accrue.”
As you face challenging situations in your life, you can gauge how your responses differ from those in the past. “It can also take time to notice the differences in how people are reacting to you, or to evaluate changes in how efficient or how much better you’ve become at your job,” she says.
Weiss offers these guidelines:
- Symptoms tend to get better within weeks.
- Functioning improves within months.
- Developmental changes happen over years. For example, the individual who never had a friend can now make and keep them. An adult who could not keep a job can now hold onto one for a year.