Kansas City University, Sponsored Content

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects individuals of all ages, impacting their ability to focus, organize and plan. Behavioral strategies along with medication, such as Adderall, have been helpful in managing ADHD symptoms. However, a current shortage of Adderall in immediate release tablets has raised concerns among parents, teachers and others diagnosed with ADHD.

The symptoms of ADHD often vary from person to person. Symptoms can surface in a wide range of behavior from inattentiveness or hyperactivity, with some people displaying both types.

According to Dr. Amy Sickel, Director of Clinical Psychology Training, Assistant Professor of Health Science at Kansas City University, “ADHD is like having a light switch turned off in the brain. This can result in difficulties in planning, organizing, and a tendency to be easily distracted. However, with medication or stimulating activities, that light switch is turned back on, helping individuals with ADHD to function more effectively.”

Diagnosing ADHD in children often involves assessments from both teachers and parents, who report the frequency of different behaviors. It is important to distinguish ADHD from other conditions such as depression, anxiety or trauma, which present similar symptoms. For adults, psychological testing is typically required, as symptoms must have been present before the age of 12.

Dr. Sickel explains that the shortage of Adderall medication is specific to immediate release tablets, while the extended-release tablets remain available. The shortage is a result of manufacturing delays and supply shortages. Adderall helps stimulate and activate the affected parts of the brain for individuals with ADHD. It provides focus and control; it may seem unusual to associate hyperactivity with ADHD.

Strategies to help a child with ADHD as a parent or teacher:

1.      Focus on positive behavior and provide structure and routines.

2.      Redirect the child by engaging them in activities that help them focus. An example: instead of asking them to stop certain behaviors, suggest a visual cue like putting a “bubble” in their mouth. That prompt can redirect their energy while also keeping them quiet.

ADHD affects millions of people. Medication, such as Adderall, can play an important role in managing symptoms and improving focus. However, the shortage of immediate release tablets has recently caused concerns. Dr. Sickel urges parents, teachers, and individuals diagnosed with ADHD to explore alternative management strategies while working closely with healthcare professionals.