These meds affect the activity of two key brain chemicals, dopamine and norepinephrine, and this can affect individuals in different ways. (That’s why Adderall might help one ADHD sufferer, while Ritalin works best for another.)
For people without ADHD, these medications work as stimulants, increasing activity and speeding up response time. But they have the opposite effect on people with attention disorders. Instead of being hyperstimulated, a person with ADHD will feel calmer, more focused, and less impulsivehence, she may get more done in less time, but she won’t feel jittery or “speedy.”
Its downside? Strattera must be taken for two weeks to have effect, while amphetamines often bring instant relief.
This article was first published in Health magazine, June 2009.