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ADHD Medication: The Best First Step for Effective Management


Without a doubt the most common question I get is around natural ways to treat ADHD because it seems like everyone wants to start there before actually trying ADHD meds.

But when someone comes to me with this question, it pretty much always sets off a huge internal alarm for me.

I get that the evaluation and prescription process is daunting but I want to be very clear that I 100% believe medicine is the best place to start unless you are pregnant or nursing.

I know that there are reasons for avoiding medicine and that this is a very nuanced issue but I also believe that there is an enormous amount of incorrect and misleading information preventing many people from getting the help that they need.

I personally do not want to add ANY weight to the shame and guilt that so many experience around the very personal decision to medicate themselves or their kids because I find it infuriating.

It makes me want to pull my hair out that so many moms feel this massive shame and insecurity around giving their kids or themselves something that could absolutely change their lives for the better.

The scientific evidence is incredibly clear that medicine is the most universally helpful resource in alleviating ADHD challenges.

And so if you are asking for my advice about whether or not to pursue medicine for you or your kids, I'm going to take this opportunity to share my thoughts on medicine.

Does it cure ADHD? No. But it is truly life changing for many, many, many people including me, my husband and my two boys.

80% of adults and children with ADHD reported fewer symptoms when on the right medication and the right dosage.

I believe wholeheartedly in the power of therapy, coaching, diet, exercise and lifestyle to support the needs of the ADHD brain but I truly can't comprehend how you'd make these changes and do that work without medicine.

I do take supplements and have found them to be helpful as an additional benefit but I don't think I could even navigate all those options and that research without my ADHD meds.

I am on a stimulant medication as are my husband and my two boys. My youngest will likely get on a medication when she is older has she is already diagnosed ADHD.

I personally have a pretty unique perspective because I myself was medicated for my ADHD as a child. I took myself off meds in college for a brief period thought my parents were terrible for medicating me.

Enter season of intense failure and depression...

Thankfully, in my 20s with the help of a trained counselor and a wonderful psychiatrist, I was able to see and understand how my ADHD impacted my daily life and just how badly I needed it for my mental health.

I then took ownership of my ADHD, tried a few different medicines and found what worked best for me.

I consider myself incredibly fortunate that my parents made the very unpopular decision to medicate me in the mid-80s as a smart girl.

When an 18 year old on tiktok complains about their parents medicating them and how badly they felt, I don't give that a ton of weight because when I was 18, I would have said the same thing.

But 25 year old me struggling to manage the demands of a career and adulthood was singing a very different tune.

My husband wasn't diagnosed with ADHD until his late 40s and would give his left arm to have had an accurate diagnosis, meds and therapy earlier in life.

And I talk to so many women every day who feel the same way.

The most common sentiment from adults with ADHD diagnosed later in life is how they wish they had known sooner as it would have impacted their education, their relationships, their self esteem and their careers.
And as a mom, I will tell you that I only nursed my kids for 3-4 months because I was deeply struggling without meds.

And then when the mental load of having 3 kids hit in full effect, I was DEEPLY struggling even on meds.

I truly can't imagine how hard motherhood would be for me if I wasn't taking ADHD meds.

But here's the thing...

Medicine isn't for everyone meaning that some people try multiple options and nothing helps them. That's a huge bummer and pain in the neck. But without a doubt, the majority do benefit from medicine and it can be truly life changing.

And in my book, it's the easiest (and if you have insurance) the cheapest place to start.

But why, oh why is there so much shame and misinformation around medicine?

Well, supplements are a big industry and many people make money selling you alternative treatments and diets and pills.

And, unfortunately, there is still so much misinformation around ADHD.

ADHD struggles can have massive impact on your life long term and is so much bigger than just getting good grades or being able to sit still in a classroom.

Untreated ADHD is linked to dramatically higher rates of addiction, obesity, suicide, incarceration, risky sexual behaviors and so much more.

People say that it isn't real or that it's a cop out or excuse but that doesn't mean that they have any idea what they are talking about.

I mean, we all know people who hold tightly to some pretty crazy ideas about all sorts of things but for some reason when it comes to our mental health we give these crazy, misinformed opinions more weight.

But if your child needed glasses and your Aunt Brenda told you that was silly and that they should be able to read without glasses despite the results from their vision test... would you listen to her?

Um, no. You'd get your child the help that they need and not agonize over whether or not it's the right decision.

And yet so many moms that I talk to feel that way about medicating themselves and their kids. It's as if they feel that if their kids need medicine, they have failed them and dropped the ball in some way.

But I'm here to tell you mama, that couldn't be farther from the truth.

It might be hard and scary but fear of what others think or what this means about you or your kids has no place in the equation of whether or not to medicate you or your kids.

Your kids could very well end up like me incredibly grateful and thankful that you made the unpopular decision to advocate for them and get them what they need to become the best version of themselves.

And if you are still unsure, here's a little more guidance for you as you navigate this decision.

But Here is What You Need to Know About ADHD Meds:

  • ADHD is a very real neurological condition with lasting implications for every area of your life. ADHD medication can alleviate many of these symptoms and greatly improve quality of life.
    There are many different medication options for ADHD. You may need to try more than one medicine to find what works best for you. I'm not a pharmacist or a psychiatrist or any kind of expert on medicine options. But I do know they are out there and a trained medical provider can help you navigate them.
  • The decision not to medicate doesn't make you a better person. The decision to medicate doesn't make you a better person. It's a morally neutral choice and should be made with the personal guidance of an educated medical professional.
  • Fear of what other people will think about your for medicating yourself or your kids should not impact your decision. We feel what we feel so if you feel fear, that's okay... just don't let it dictate your actions or prevent you from getting the help that you need.
  • You are the right person for this job. If you feel like medicine is the right option for you and your kids even if others in your life disagree, trust that. If you feel strong, personal convictions against medicine, I respect that too but I urge you to work WITH a physician on another course of action.
  • Whatever you decide isn't set in stone. Don't let fear of the future prevent you from make the best choices for today. Future you will have more tools and more information and may make a different decisions then but do what you need to do TODAY for you and your kids.

Okay, I'm going to end my rant now.

Thanks for coming to my Tedtalk.

If you want to dig deep to learn more about what you can do to support your ADHD brain, I highly recommend grabbing my free guide. I share the lifestyle tips and insights that have helped me thrive as a mom of 3 with ADHD in my mid-40s.


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