If Stimulants Help Me To Focus, Does That Mean I Have ADHD?
by Kathleen Nadeau, PhD
Stimulant medications improve alertness and focus for everyone. The public engages in widespread use of non-prescription stimulants such as caffeine (found in coffee, tea, many soft drinks, and an increasing number of “energy drinks”) and nicotine (found in all forms of tobacco as well as Nicorette Gum) to feel more energetic, alert and focused.
There is growing concern that there is widespread mis-use of prescription stimulants among young adults who simply want to stay up all night or focus for prolonged periods when they are trying to meet a deadline at work or school.
Prescription stimulants are not meant as performance enhancers for the general population, but as part of an overall treatment plan for carefully diagnosed conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
An ADHD diagnosis should not be made without a careful assessment to determine the validity of an ADHD diagnosis. Stimulant medication should not be prescribed casually. A positive response to stimulant medication can never be used as a diagnostic sign of ADHD.