What Medication Can… And Can’t Do

Written by Harold Robert Meyer, MBA, BCC, SCAC and Susan Karyn Lasky, M.S., BCC, SCAC

Deciding whether or not to take medication for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD) is never easy. Complicating this decision are erroneous expectations as to the potential benefits of stimulant medication. Even when medication does work, it is still not a cure all.

Here are the facts:

What Medicines Can Do What Medicines Can’t Do
Decrease Activity Level

  • Remain seated longer
  • Reduce fidgeting
Teach Good Behavior

  • Remove old behaviors and patterns
  • Teach reflective thinking
Increase Ability to Sustain Focus

  • Work with greater accuracy
  • Improve ability to maintain attention
  • Increase ability to listen to others
  • Less distractibility
  • Improve ability to learn (more available)
  • More capable of enduring boredom
Teach Skills

  • Teach old school work
  • Teach social skills
  • Teach what to focus on
  • Teach what is important
Decrease Impulsivity

  • Follow rules better
  • More likely to think before acting
Motivate for Action

  • Make them try new skills
  • Do things they’d rather avoid
Decrease Reactivity

  • Reduce aggression
  • Less emotional lability (moodiness)
Teach How to Deal with Feelings

  • Know how to control anger
  • Be able to cope with frustration
  • Feel automatically happy

Prior approval is required before reproducing this document by writing The A.D.D. Resource Center.

Credit must be given and no additions or deletions may be made without written consent.

Revised 4-06


Harold Meyer and Susan Lasky are both Board Certified and Senior Certified ADHD Coaches.

To contact the authors: haroldmeyer@addrc.org

Fine Print

ADD and ADHD are used interchangeably for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

Any information or suggestions in this article are solely the opinion of the author(s) and should not replace the advice of appropriate medical, legal, therapeutic, financial or other professionals. We do not test or endorse any product, link, author, individual or service listed within.

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