The burden of treatment: Listening to stories of adolescents with ADHD about stimulant medication use

Alon Avisar, Maya Lavie-Ajayi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective: Stimulant medications are considered an effective treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and their prescription is consistently on the rise. However, research showed a limited adherence to ADHD medication regimens. This study explores the experiences of using stimulant medication from the understudied perspective of adolescents. Method: Fourteen semistructured interviews were conducted with adolescents diagnosed as having ADHD, and the data was analyzed according to the principles of qualitative interpretative phenomenological analysis. Results: Participants were passive actors in the diagnostic process. Following the medical treatment, half of the interviewees described improvement in their concentration while studying and during exams. However, most of the interviewees discussed the difficulties of taking medication especially in terms of emotional side effects, identity loss, and interpersonal relationships. Those who reached high school stopped, fully or selectively, taking the medication on their own initiative. Conclusion: The results of this study points to the importance of considering the burden of treatment for children and adolescents who take stimulant medications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-50
Number of pages14
JournalEthical Human Psychology and Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Adolescents
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Methylphenidate
  • Stimulant medications
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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