Many kids who could benefit from medication don't take it.
Another large NIMH study has proven that stimulant medication is the most effective treatment for school-age kids with ADHD -- and yet almost half of kids diagnosed with the disorder have never tried it. Although it might not make sense to give something called a stimulant to a child who already seems overly stimulated, these medications get their name because they "turn on" neurotransmitters in the brain that control attention and impulsiveness. Some parents worry that their child will have side effects like weight loss, headaches, irritability, or sleep problems, but doctors can usually reduce them by adjusting the dose, switching to another medication (there are now about 20 different ones), or changing the time a child takes it. Despite reports you may have heard, the American Academy of Pediatrics says that there's no link between stimulants and heart attacks in kids and that most kids don't need to have an electrocardiogram (ECG) before starting on medication. A doctor will order an ECG if a child has a history of heart problems or if something worrisome shows up on a physical exam.