Medications

Perhaps no area of ADHD creates as much confusion as medication.  Self-education is critical here. But it’s far too easy to be intimidated—or, worse, to suffer from low expectations.

I’m here to elevate your expectations—and help you reach them by providing a basic education.

No, not everyone with ADHD “needs” medication. But for many, medication will be the single-most effective tool in their toolbox. That’s why I place strong emphasis on getting it right.

Can we trust the average prescriber to get it right? Probably not.

As an ADHD advocate and educator for 20 years, I’ve heard thousands of medication-gone-right/wrong stories.

Each new gone-right story thrills me. Each new gone-wrong story infuriates me. Sadly, the gone-wrongs seem only to be increasing in number.

Almost all consumer books on ADHD reduce advice on medication to “Talk with your doctor.” No, I’m sorry, but that is not enough. Not for most people.

Self-Education and Self-Advocacy

Self-education and self-advocacy is the only way to ensure that you get the best results from medication.

No, no one expects you to be a psychopharmacologist. But becoming familiar with the basics will take you a long way toward your goal: Higher functioning and a happier life.

My first book, Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.?, remains the only consumer book to detail an methodical approach to optimizing ADHD medication.  (I wrote it with the guidance of top ADHD clinicians and researchers.)

I encourage you to read the three chapters devoted to medication. Then, keep adding to that information by checking out the posts in this category. (With ADHD Success Training, I’ll be offering step-by-step guidance for working with your prescribing professional to achieve the best outcome.)

Attention: Therapists Treating ADHD

If you are a therapist, please know that you can help individuals and couples with ADHD medication treatment—while still respecting your licensing guidelines.

Please refer to Adult ADHD-Focused Couple Therapy: Clinical Interventions, by Gina Pera and Arthur L. Robin, PhD (2016, Taylor & Francis).

This is the first clinical guide to couple therapy based on the proven evidence of what works—for Adult ADHD and for couple therapy. We included a step-by-step intervention toward helping couples to set and monitor treatment goals.

As you know, prescribing physicians typically can spend only a few minutes with clients. As a result,  they know very little about their patients, especially if they aren’t using rating scales and getting feedback from a loved one. (And, from what I hear, most are not.)

As therapists, however, you have more time to:

  1. Help target behaviors that might be addressed by medication, and
  2. Track progress over time.

Therapists cannot specifically offer medication guidance. But they are well within their “wheelhouse” in performing this function.

Conclusion:

If you choose to include medication in your or your child’s treatment plans, being pro-active is not a luxury. I believe it is a necessity.

The posts in this “Medications” category approach this topic from various angle. You can scroll through them below.

Part 4: Genetic-Testing for the Best ADHD Medication?

Part 4 in a 7-part series on genetic testing for ADHD medications—from ADHD expert Gina Pera and her scientist husband, Dr. Goat

One factor to consider when aiming for that sweet spot of medication effectiveness: your specific gene variants that affect drug response.

That is, do your gene variants mean that you metabolize drugs slowly, normally, or very fast?

That’s where genetic tests can come in handy: They identify these gene variants—that is, variations on a common gene.

In turn, this information helps you to:

1. Determine what dosage you should start with, and
2. Decide the order in which medications should be evaluated.

This information can be especially valuable if you are

—Beginning drug treatment for ADHD,
—Considering changing to a different drug, or
—Introducing an additional drug to your regimen.

Note: Information from these tests will not be a “silver bullet.” It is simply a starting point. The last post in this series will examine how I might use my personal results.

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