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ADHD Medications List

An ADHD medications list can be divided into 4 basic types:

  • Stimulant medication, e.g. Ritalin, Adderall and Vyvanse.
  • Non-stimulant medication, e.g. Strattera and Intuniv.
  • Antidepressants, e.g. Wellbutrin and Tofranil.
  • Natural ADHD treatments, e.g. Attend, Extress and Memorin.

Only the last group, the natural supplements are free from side effects and do not cause sleep or appetite problems.

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is not as simple as most sites and even doctors present it. They repeat the standard ADHD diagnosis model, based on the official diagnostic manual the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition). There are a few problems relying on it without a dose of healthy scepticism.

The first complication is terminology. ADHD is generally diagnosed by what are called attention deficit disorder symptoms. The problem is that a symptom is not a disorder. The cause of the symptom is a disorder, not the symptom itself. Coughing is not a disorder; the cause of the coughing is the disorder, whether it is a common cold, emphysema, tuberculosis or lung cancer. They each require different treatment, but share a common symptom, coughing.

Even brain scans, the new toys for brain scientists, do not show the cause, but measure the symptoms. If something is wrong in the brain wiring, that must have a cause. Focussing on the symptom helps to produce more scientific articles, as it is easier to study symptoms than it is to find the cause. Brain scans can study conscious thought activity in the brain, but intuitive and subconscious thought processes are not so easy to quantify.

The second complication is that the official diagnostic manual the ADHD diagnosis is based on, the DSM-IV, has tried to explain how the term “disorder” should be used, and has changed the word from describing a noun like disease, illness or sickness, to defining “disorder” as an abstract concept. Confused? After I have read hundreds of scientific research articles on ADHD it is clear that the majority of the authors do not understand the used of the word “disorder” in the DSM-IV manual, or they have not read the introduction.

The third complication is an oversimplification of the role of dopamine in the human brain. This is convenient when writing a scientific article, as it gives the impression the author understands the subject, but it results in generalised interpretations. It does not advance the understanding of what ADHD is, merely keeps ADHD research stuck in circular reasoning.

If the attention deficit the child is experiencing in a boring school class is due to a dopamine deficiency, then where did the dopamine come from an hour later when the ADHD kid is at home engaged in his or her favourite hobby?

If dopamine is the reason for attention deficit, then why is the following type of statement found in the prescription information for every adhd medication produced by pharmaceutical companies?

“The mode of action in man is not completely understood, but Ritalin presumably activates the brain stem arousal system and cortex to produce its stimulant effect.
There is neither specific evidence which clearly establishes the mechanism whereby Ritalin produces its mental and behavioral effects in children, nor conclusive evidence regarding how these effects relate to the condition of the central nervous system.”

Ritalin Prescribing Information from Novartis. Ritalin is used here, but it is the same with Concerta, Focalin, Adderall, Vyvanse, Strattera, Intuniv, etc. under the headings “Pharmacodynamics,” or “Mode of Action,” using words or phrases like presumably, thought to, believed to, etc.

A list of medications for ADHD starts with the Ritalin stimulant type drugs.

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