Last updated:

January 22, 2024


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ADHD medication: Stimulant and Non-Stimulant Medication for Women

Find what stimulant and non-stimulant medication can help women with ADHD. Consult a mental healthcare professional today to get a holistic treatment plan.



While stimulant drugs are frequently a doctor's first choice for treating ADHD, they are not suitable for everyone. Some people might experience negative side effects from them. Others find that they simply don't work well. There are many options if you're looking for further treatments for the condition.

Non-stimulant drugs for the condition can be divided into three primary categories:

  1. Specific non-stimulants for ADHD. These were made especially to treat the condition. 

  1. Blood pressure medications: Some of these share the same active component as non-stimulants designed specifically for ADHD.

  1. Antidepressants. By altering the chemical balance of the brain, these may help in the fight against the illness. People with ADHD, depression, anxiety, or other mood disorders can also benefit from them.

Tips and things to know about non-stimulants Before taking this type of medication, be sure to inform your doctor if you:

  1. If you are planning a pregnancy or are already pregnant,
  2. Take any prescription medication for other conditions, such as blood pressure medications, antidepressants, sedatives, or antipsychotics.
  3. Take any over-the-counter drugs, herbal remedies, or nutritional supplements you may have.
  4. Have any health difficulties, such as renal issues, high or low blood pressure, seizures, heart disease, glaucoma, mental health issues, liver illness, or jaundice. 
  5. Have you ever experienced an adverse allergic reaction to medications?
  6. Have a history of dependency or misuse of drugs or alcohol
  7. Tendency to become angry, irritable, or contemplate suicide

Difference between Stimulant and Non-Stimulant Medication 

Stimulants are among the most commonly given ADHD treatments. Since the 1960s, they've been used to treat attention deficits. They target a type of brain chemical known as dopamine, which helps with motivation. It also assists children in controlling their body movements and emotions.

Non-stimulants are a more contemporary option. They target a distinct neurotransmitter known as norepinephrine, which is involved in executive function as well. For example, It teaches children how to control their emotions and start and finish tasks. 

Non-stimulants can be quite effective for some children with ADHD. However, they do not have the same success rate as stimulants, which operate well in approximately 70% to 80% of cases.

It is not usual for doctors to shift ADHD patients from one type of medication to another. They may do so due to side effects or because the drug isn't producing the expected results.

Here's everything you need to know about why your doctor might prescribe a change and what to expect throughout the transition. However, keep in mind that there are numerous strategies to move from one prescription to another. How it is done varies greatly depending on the circumstances. As a result, it's critical to follow your child's doctor's advice.

Transition from Stimulant to Non-Stimulant Medication

Negative side effects are the most common reason doctors recommend discontinuing stimulants. Loss of appetite and weight loss are common side effects. Other symptoms may include difficulty sleeping, increased anxiety, or tics. A doctor can additionally recommend the move for teenagers who are more likely to abuse stimulant medicines.

The transition: Quitting stimulants does not usually result in withdrawal symptoms. This is due to the fact that it exits the system quickly. As a result, most adults do not need to be progressively weaned off of them. Even after starting their new drug, some doctors will suggest to be on a stimulant.

What to expect: When one stops using stimulant medications, their ADHD symptoms will most likely return. So they'll probably act the same way they do when they're not taking it. If one transitions without staying on the stimulant, it can take weeks for ADHD symptoms to disappear.

Transition from non-stimulant to stimulant medication

The Transition: If one is receiving a low dose of a non-stimulant, their doctor may instruct them to discontinue immediately. If it has been a high dose for an extended period of time, the doctor may gradually wean off the medicine to avoid withdrawal symptoms. This procedure typically takes a few weeks.

What to expect: Adults can maybe experience withdrawal symptoms when they discontinue non-stimulant medicine. They may have temporary anxiety, difficulty concentrating, disorientation, and dizziness if they do. Stimulants work quickly in comparison to non-stimulants. 

There is a need to pay attention to the effects of medications. This includes how effectively it works as well as any adverse effects. It's important to inform your doctor about both the positives and negatives you observe.

How to Get Help with ADHD? 

Are you feeling unsure on how to get help with ADHD? If taking medication is not the preferred way of treatment, you could try investing in therapy. It is a great idea to work with a professional who knows about adult ADHD. Rocket health can be a great option for you. Our online platform can connect you to mental health professionals who help you in your journey with ADHD. Seeking the right help and support can make the process less difficult. Book your session today.


Bahn, G. H., & Seo, K. (2021). Combined Medication with Stimulants and Non-stimulants for Attention-deficit/hyperactivity Disorder. Clinical psychopharmacology and neuroscience : the official scientific journal of the Korean College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 19(4), 705–711.

Budur, K., Mathews, M., Adetunji, B., Mathews, M., & Mahmud, J. (2005). Non-stimulant treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Psychiatry (Edgmont (Pa. : Township)), 2(7), 44–48.

Nonstimulant Therapy and Other ADHD Drugs. (2004, June 30). WebMD.

Nazarova VA, Sokolov AV, Chubarev VN, Tarasov VV and Schiöth HB (2022), Treatment of ADHD: Drugs, psychological therapies, devices, complementary and alternative methods as well as the trends in clinical trials. Front. Pharmacol. 13:1066988. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2022.1066988