How Meds Affect Personality


"I worry that taking a stimulant will somehow change me. Will I think different thoughts or lose my sense of humor?"

Dr. Larry Silver specializes in treating children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD).

As long as the dosage is correct, the medication should not affect your personality or sense of humor. What it will do is curb your hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity.

An excessively high dose could temporarily “flatten” your personality, causing you to seem unusually quiet or withdrawn. If you or someone close to you notices such changes after you start taking the drug, alert your doctor. He can lower the dose or switch you to another drug.

Any changes to your personality are transient. If you don't like the way you feel when on a stimulant, tell your doctor that you'd like to stop taking it.

Larry Silver, M.D., is clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and director of training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. He is a former acting director and deputy director of the National Institute of Mental Health, as well as the author of Dr. Larry Silver's Advice to Parents on AD/HD and The Misunderstood Child: Understanding and Coping with Your Child's Learning Disabilities.
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