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Is ADHD Medication Effective on its own?

We often get asked at the clinic about the "right" way to approach treatment for ADHD. ADHD medication is a treatment option that can be helpful in managing symptoms of ADHD. But is it effective on its own?

The answer to this is complex. Yes, medication can be effective. But, ADHD medication alone won't create sustainable change. To get that long-lasting change, what's more important is to add in new tools and strategies. It's important to combine medication with behavioural changes and lifestyle changes.

We've talked about this before in the article Does ADHD Medication Alone Improve Academic Performance? In it, we talked about a study that laid this issue out for us: ADHD medication can help you focus, but it doesn't help you decide what to focus on.

Imagine this: Let's say you've never worn glasses and you just got a new pair. You put them on for the first time at home. Suddenly you can see your house with fresh eyes, but you see dust and dirt everywhere! You've never seen this before and had assumed things were clean. But, now here you are, and you can see you were wrong. What are you going to do about it? Your glasses won't help you make that decision. You need to figure out a strategy to tackle that dirt.

So what does this all mean? ADHD medication alone can be effective in managing ADHD symptoms, for sure. But, on it's own, it only helps manage those symptoms in the moment. Once the medication is out of your system nothing has changed. What's more important, is building the tools to supplement the help from medication. You need to better understand what to focus on, how to make that decision, and where to go from there.

This is where something like ADHD coaching can come in. An ADHD coach can help give you that structure to build helpful skills and strategies. An ADHD coach can help you take those next steps - with or without the help of medication - to build long-term change.

Not sure what ADHD coaching looks like? Check out: What is ADHD coaching? Or, check out our Treatment information page.

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