What Patients Say Works for ADHD

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By Alexandra Carmichael, Co-Founder of CureTogether

Although Attention-Defincit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has only been recognized as a disease in the last 20 years, patients already are well-versed in what treatments work for them, accoring to a new study by CureTogether, a free resource owned by 23andMe that allows people to share information about their health and treatments.

People in the study said they found that lifestyle changes like exercising, meditation, and limiting external stimuli were effective treatments, as were the drugs Adderall and Ritalin. Conversely some drugs like Strattera, Wellbutrin, and Abilify were among the least effective, according to the study. These are all treatments suggested and reported by patients, so some redundancy in the terms used is to be expected. In addition, the term “treatment” in this study refers to anything patients describe using to help them feel better whether it is an officially prescribed medical treatment or not.

More than five million Americans have been diagnosed with ADHD, and often appears to run in families. Finding treatments that work well can be a challenge, so CureTogether asked people suffering from ADHD to rate the effectiveness of different treatments.

Most Effective Rated Treatments for People with ADHD

1. Adderall xr
2. Adderall
3. Exercise
4. Dexedrine
5. Vyvanse
6. Limit external stimuli
7. Coaching
8. Rock climbing
9. Ritalin
10. Learn organizational skills

CureTogether’s study compiled responses from 852 people with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, who rated the effectiveness of 28 different treatments.

Where did this data come from? This is the result of a four-year CureTogether study on Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, in which people living with the condition shared information about their symptoms and what treatments worked best for them. We’d like to thank those who participated. And just as they shared their experience with treatments, we’re freely and openly sharing the results of the ADHD study.

This is part of a regular series of CureTogether research findings. CureTogether’s research findings are different than those made by 23andMe, which look at genetic associations with illness, traits and drug response. But as we continue our work with the CureTogether community, 23andMe hopes to incorporate more of this kind of self-reported information into our own research. CureTogether present its findings just as they are — patient-reported data — to stimulate discussion and generate new insights for further research.

Please tweet, blog, or pass this along to anyone who can benefit or is interested in ADHD. Thank you!






  • Stephen Branney

    This post was kindly sponsored by….

  • http://N/A John Miller

    I am a 68 year old adult male who was diagnosed 21 – 23 years ago as an adult with ADHD. At the time I smoked nearly 3 packs of cigarettes/day and could smoke 5 packs/day if I was drinking beer. I had tried many different ways to quit smoking from hypnosis to the filtered cigarette holders, Nicolette gum, the patch and I don’t know what else.

    Upon convincing a couple of medical personnel to give me a prescription for Ritalin, I quit smoking in ONE day with no withdrawal effects other than some type of “guilt” that it was so easy. I could sit with eight or ten chain smoking buddies with NO effect on me. I might wake up in the middle of the night ( 4 – 6 hrs was the most I ever slept) and feel guilty for not wanting a cigarette.

    I tried several times to explain the success I had achieved with Ritalin to professional medical, but never had any interest shown by any of them.

    It was later explained to me that there was no interest because there was NO MONEY from me and my source of information. So I dropped the subject and will never know whether I discovered an effective way to beat smoking. I do know that Ritalin & Wellbutrin are in similar medical families that both have similar effects on various chemicals in the brain. Also, there has probably been 10 times the research on Ritalin as any other drug that deals with the various chemicals in the brain.

    If I can be of any further assistance to you, please do not hesitate to notify me. Even though my wife of nearly 45 years rightly says I probably would not have listened any more than anyone else would, I have often said I could become a Poster Boy of why people should quit or never smoke (over and above the risk of lung cancer): COPD, chronic bronchitis, blood pressure, cholesterol, pulmonary problems in my legs, much higher incidence of Pancreatic Cancer – which I have & intend to beat, heart disease and MS which probably has no connection to cigarettes.

    Hope this adds to your research,

    John Miller

    • Allen Gordon

      Gonna have to talk to my Dr about this one thanks and good luck with Heath issues

  • Jim

    Don’t take the easy way out with pills! They are addicting, cost money and will shorten your life.

  • Coby Simmons

    John — I’m so happy for your success in quitting smoking, and good luck to you with your current health problems, dear.

    Tell me, how long did you take the Ritalin?

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