What to Expect from ADHD Medication

by | Apr 27, 2017 | ADHD Symptom Control | 2 comments

what to expect from ADHD medicationIf you don’t know what to expect from ADHD medication join the crowd.

It’s a common question. One I hear kind of often from my private and ADHD Success Club clients. Many people aren’t clear about what their ADHD medication should do.

Much of the confusion comes from scientific advances in the way ADHD medications are made.

It used to be easy to know what to expect from ADHD medication. All ADHD medications were short-acting stimulants. Adderall and Ritalin, the most common short-acting types, are still commonly prescribed.

Most people feel a pretty immediate jolt of focus within minutes of taking a short-acting dose of ADHD medication. The focus lasts about four hours.

The extended-release doses of these stimulant medications have a similar impact. Except, they last a bit longer. About 8 to 10 hours if the dose is right.

Now we have very long-acting ADHD medications, as well. Concerta and Vyvanse are the most common brands. These pills have fancy delivery systems. They are designed to release dosages gradually during the day.

This means that many people just need to take one pill in the morning. Yep. That’s lots easier than having to remember to take doses throughout the day. Another good thing is it’s harder to abuse the long-acting ADHD medications.

Here’s the challenge. The longest-acting ADHD medications are more subtle than the short-acting versions. You won’t get that, “OMG, I HAVE A BRAIN”, kind of clarity. You can’t decide if your ADHD medications are working based on an immediate feeling of focus.

Yay! The long-acting ADHD medications are easier to use. Boo! We have to change the way we determine if the medication is working or not.

You also need to work with your doctor to make sure you’re on the right dose of the right medication. But, to unravel that you need clear expectations for ADHD medication.

So, hold on if you don’t know what to expect from your ADHD medication. In next week’s ADHD Success I’ll share my guidelines for how to tell if the medication is working or not.

It’s your lucky day! A whole module on what to expect from ADHD medication is included in the ADHD Success Club. Boosting brain function along with Organizing Mastery and Time Management Mastery are what the ADHD Success Club is all about.



  1. Ryan

    Can the following ADHD medications such as immediate release Dextroamphetamine Sulfate 40mg Daily taken in two does along with Vyvanse 70mg taken in the morning potentially have more negative side effects than benefits for someone diagnosed with Adult ADD??
    For example I do notice that it’s extremely easy for me to become more quickly hyper focused on activities I enjoy, however the only benefit I seem to notice is when I take my medication 30-60 minutes prior to getting up, i don’t lay in bed severely unmotivated to even get up. The medication gives me enough motivation to start my day. I also have noticed I get very few if any speeding tickets and maintain a good driving record. The negative effects are again often noticed hyperfocus, a quick onset and high amont of sweating when exercising, a slightly dry mouth. However only a few of the tasks on your list I can check the box to. I have been under under the supervision of my Psychatist who is also my psychotherapist for 7 years on a 2 weekly one hour session. He himself specializes in Adult ADHD (and also has ADHD), has sent me to be reviewed by two of his colleagues. The first another Psychatrist who specializes in ADHD and the other MD/P.hd in Neurology specifically ADHD and those who have become adicted to illegal substances due to lack of diagnosis of ADHD. So I have seen the very best of medical specialists and I myself managed to bring my daily dose of Stimulants to about half of what I was prescribed at one point. However I can’t really manage on anything less than the dose stated above. I also take Wellbutrin XL 300mg and find that to be of benefit. Thank you

    • Dana Rayburn

      Hi Ryan, You seem to have experienced ADHD medical care and I’m not sure what I can add. You need to be the one to determine what’s a higher priority for you – motivated to get up and a good driving record – vs – the side effects you’re experiencing. Does you doctor think the hyperfocus is a sign that the dose is too high? What specific symptom reduction are you aiming for? Hope this helps, Dana



  1. 10 Targets To Know If Your ADHD Medication Is Working - Dana Rayburn ADHD Coach - […] it can be so darn subtle. Especially, the longer-acting types of ADD/ADHD drugs I wrote about last week. How…

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