Changes in emotions related to medication used to treat ADHD. Part II: Clinical approaches

Robert L. Findling, Matthew Brams, Ann C. Childress, Frank A. López, Michael J. Manos, Peter S. Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


ADHD is one of the most common neurobehavioral disorders of childhood, and FDA-approved medications offer an efficacious treatment option. However, case reports and anecdotal sources suggest that children can have emotional responses, both salutary and detrimental, to these agents. We have previously conducted a comprehensive literature review and found very few research studies systematically examining changes in emotional expression (EE) associated with ADHD medication use. In addition, no empirical data pertaining to the management of these responses could be found. Although few methodologically stringent data are available for changes in EE, such changes should be recognized and measured to determine appropriate responses by clinicians and to maximize treatment benefits and reduce side effects. In this companion report, we draw on available research evidence and clinical experience to explore typical clinical manifestations, differential diagnosis, scales for monitoring, and management approaches of EE observed with pharmacologic treatment of ADHD. In the future, controlled clinical trials of ADHD pharmacotherapy should employ standardized ratings of EE at baseline, during and after treatment. In addition, future research studies should examine various management approaches of these EE changes, to ensure maximal treatment benefits and minimal risks to patients with ADHD who are treated with medication. (J. of Att. Dis. 2011; 15(2) 113-121).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-121
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Attention Disorders
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • ADHD
  • emotional expression
  • stimulants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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