Stimulants are the most common type of medication prescribed for attention deficit disorder. They have the longest track record for treating ADD/ADHD and the most research to back up their effectiveness. The stimulant class of medication includes widely used drugs such as Ritalin, Adderall, and Dexedrine.
Stimulants are believed to work by increasing dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with motivation, pleasure, attention, and movement. For many people with ADD or ADHD, stimulant medications boost concentration and focus while reducing hyperactive and impulsive behaviours.
Stimulants for ADD/ADHD come in both short- and long-acting dosages. Short-acting stimulants peak after several hours, and must be taken 2-3 times a day. Long-acting or extended-release stimulants last 8-12 hours, and are usually taken just once a day.
The long-acting versions of ADD/ADHD medication are often preferred, since people with ADHD often have trouble remembering to take their pills. Taking just one dose a day is much easier and more convenient.