ZocdocAnswersWhat medications help ADHD and mood disorders?

Question

What medications help ADHD and mood disorders?

My daughter, 13, was just diagnosed with ADHD and with a mood disorder. The doctors want to put her on medications and I understand that this may be necessary - but what is the safest way to medicate for both of those illnesses? Is there one medication that can do both, or a safe way to combine two different medications?

Answer

Where as ADHD is a very well defined disorder, the term "mood disorder" can describe many syndromes. Therefore, it won't be possible for me to determine for sure what the best options are for you daughter. However, I think I can give you an idea of what direction her pediatrician is likely to go with her treatment. ADHD is treated with a variety of neurostimulants. One example is methylphenidate (Ritalin). While we know that they activate stimulatory pathways in the brain, we do not quite understand why they allow children with ADHD to concentrate better. These medicines generally do not treat depression (if this is the mood disorder her doctor referred to). Therefore, if this is her situation, she may need an additional medication known as an SSRI (examples include fluoxetine (Prozac) and citalopram (Celexa)). To make sure that you daughter is getting the right treatment, I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your daughter's pediatrician soon (perhaps a month) after starting the medication(s). This way she can be evaluated for improvement in her ADHD and mood symptoms which will help her doctor guide further treatment. Good luck, I hope she starts to feel better.

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