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If you have a child who’s been diagnosed with ADHD, you may be facing a decision whether to try medication. Stimulant medications have been shown repeatedly to be the most effective treatment for the symptoms of ADHD, helping kids pay attention, concentrate, manage their impulses, and avoid risky behaviors. About 80 percent of kids who try stimulant medications for ADHD find that they have a positive effect on symptoms. To put that in perspective, there is no other medication for a psychiatric condition that has such a high response rate.

Two top ADHD experts explain how the attention deficit brain works — and, in some cases, why it doesn’t always work at its best.

How do stimulants work in the ADHD brain?

Think of the word “diagnosis” and in all likelihood, you think of something bad. But my diagnosis – for ADHD – is one of the most important events in my life.

It gave me an explanation for why I struggled with things the rest of the world seemed to find so easy. I was given a way to understand myself and how I think. That understanding gave me control for the first time in my life. Most importantly, I had a way forward: to manage and make my life better.