ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) medication works by increasing the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, primarily dopamine and norepinephrine.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in motivation, reward, and pleasure, and is involved in regulating attention and behavior. Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that is involved in regulating attention, arousal, and mood.
Stimulant medications, such as methylphenidate (e.g., Ritalin) and amphetamines (e.g., Adderall), are the most commonly prescribed medications for ADHD. These medications work by blocking the reuptake of dopamine and norepinephrine, which increases the amount of these neurotransmitters in the brain. This leads to increased activity in certain regions of the brain that are involved in attention and behavior regulation.
Non-stimulant medications, such as atomoxetine (e.g., Strattera) and guanfacine (e.g., Intuniv), work by increasing the availability of norepinephrine in the brain. These medications are less potent than stimulants and take longer to work, but may be better tolerated by some individuals or may be used as an alternative for those who do not respond well to stimulant medications.
It's important to note that medication is not a cure for ADHD, but can be an effective tool for managing symptoms. Medication should be used in conjunction with other ADHD treatments, such as therapy, lifestyle changes, and accommodations, to help individuals with ADHD achieve optimal functioning.