ADHD Medications: How Can You Tell They Are Working?


Often patients at the Atlanta Center for Adult ADHD will ask “what to look for” after they take their medication for the first time. In other words, what symptoms will immediately improve?  Prompt improvement of three symptoms often takes place: disorganized thinking, procrastination and lack of focus in reading and listening. Individuals whose thoughts seem to be “pinging” around their brain in random fashion can experience a slowing down of thoughts and a more logical progression of one thought to another. ADHD patients often have difficulty getting started on tasks they find uninteresting, difficult/unfamiliar and/or requiring organized steps to complete (for example, balancing the checkbook.) With medication, they may find that they can “attack” or “engage” these tasks more readily. Furthermore, they may be able to work on them for a longer period of time with fewer interruptions due to inattention or distraction.Finally, patients often find they can read easier with less “re-reading” and listen better with less effort and more immediate comprehension. It should be kept in mind that the degree of improvement is usually related to finding the optimal medication and dosage.Symptoms such as poor organization, prioritization and time management issues usually take longer to resolve. Counseling and coaching, in addition to the right medication and dose, can be extremely helpful in these areas.