ADHD Home > ADHD Myth: The Paradoxical Stimulant Effect
Does Lack of Response to a Stimulant Rule Out ADHD?Since an appropriately dosed stimulant can improve focus and thinking in most people, a positive response to a stimulant does not help to diagnose ADHD. But is the opposite true as well? In other words, if a child suspected of having ADHD does not respond to a stimulant, or actually gets worse on a stimulant, does this mean the child does not have ADHD? Sometimes, but not always.
Letting Go of the Paradoxical Effect Myth
- Older healthcare providers may have been taught this myth during medical school or nursing school many years ago.
- Parents like this myth, as it provides reassurance that the ADHD diagnosis is accurate and that stimulant treatment is the correct course of action for their child. It also removes any questions about giving the child an unfair advantage and alleviates concerns about potential stimulant abuse.
- The myth makes sense intuitively based on what the general public knows about stimulants and their "usual" effects.