ADHD: The Pill Does Not Equal the Skill

Multi colored pills

Many people are able to successfully manage their ADHD with medication. But for a growing segment of the population, as this recent New York Times article seems to suggest, medication alone does not always work.

While it’s true that medication helps with the management of ADHD symptoms, it’s not a wholesale cure for ADHD. I firmly believe that the “pill won’t give you the skill.”

That is to say, medication alone will not solve all of your ADHD challenges.

My experience shows that to most successfully manage ADHD over the long term, you need to develop skills that will help minimize your obstacles.

I really like how psychologist Stephen Hinshaw puts it in the article:

My belief based on the science is that symptom reduction is a good thing, but adding skill-building is a better thing.

Another component of ADHD medications to consider is that some people can experience adverse side effects.

Woman with headache

Loss of appetite, sleep disturbance and mood swings are among the most commonly reported side effects from stimulant drugs. Nausea and gastrointestinal issues are also common complaints from non-stimulant ADHD medications.

Due to the risk of these side effects, many of my clients come to me seeking out alternative medication-free treatments for ADHD. A large number of them simply report they don’t want to be dependent on medication for the rest of their lives.

Children playing with blocks

In addition, many parents worry about putting their children on medication, fearing the impact on their health and development.

They are usually relieved to hear there are many medication-free treatment options available to develop behavioral skills for effectively coping with ADHD, such as:

Any one of these treatment alternatives offers a viable medication-free approach to treating ADHD. But they can also be combined with each other, or used in conjunction with medication, to successfully manage ADHD.

It all depends on your individual situation and preferences, but if you decide that medication is not for you, rest assured there are other options to help you manage ADHD.

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