How do ADHD medications work?

I have ADHD, and I have heard that most ADHD medications are actually stimulants. How is it possible that a stimulant could calm me down? What happens in my brain when I take a drug like, for example, Ritalin?

4 Responses to “How do ADHD medications work?”

  1. Ensur Says:

    Like many other chemicals in the brain, stimulants have a variety of different receptors in the brain (many located in different locations in the brain).

    ADHD patients typically are overactive, so at first it makes no sense to give them stimulants, since stimulants given to normal people make them become over active.

    But the ADHD condition is actually a problem of a part of the brain that regulates or controls inactivity. This part of the brain is involved in calming people down, and it's inactive in ADHD people. So if the part of your brain that makes you calm is inactive, you become active.

    Stimulants are given to target this part of the brain, make it become active, and thus it can make you inactive.

    ADHD is one of the most easily treatable psychiatric disorders, because of the effectiveness of drugs like Ritalin. Yes, they have other side effects, but they are very effective.

  2. Ryan Says:

    ADHD patients are considered underaroused. Meaning they have to do certain actions…etc to get to the 'normal' level of aroused. Ritalin (methylphenidate) works by prolonging the neurotransmitter dopamine in synapse. Ritalin is considered a dopamine (and I think norepinephrine) inhibitor. This blocks the re-uptake of dopamine and prolongs it to stay in synapse and bind to the post-synaptic membrane more efficient.

    Dopamine is a neurotransmitter responsible for reward and arousal.

  3. japanese massage Says:

    Working with rats, the researchers conducted laboratory and behavioral tests to ensure that animal drug doses were functionally equivalent to doses prescribed in humans. Then, using a type of brain probe – a process known as microdialysis – the UW-Madison team measured concentrations of dopamine and norepinephrine in the three different brain areas, both in the presence and absence of low-dose ADHD stimulants.

  4. more Says:

    Under the influence of ADHD drugs, dopamine and norepinephrine levels increased in the rats’ PFC. Levels in the accumbens and medial septum, however, remained much the same, the scientists found.

    “Our work provides pretty important information on the importance of targeting the PFC when treating ADHD,” says Berridge, “In particular it tells us that if we want to produce new ADHD drugs, we need to target [neurotransmitter] transmission in the PFC.”