A Pharmacological/Physiological Comparison between ADHD Medications and Exercise

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Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurobehavioral disorder that typically begins in childhood and often persists into adulthood. Up to 7% of children between the ages of 4 and 17 years are affected by the disorder, with approximately 2/3 of those diagnosed currently taking medication to help manage the symptoms. ADHD symptoms include abnormal levels of inattention, hyperactivity, and/or impulsivity. The most common treatment modality for ADHD is stimulant-type medications that work to regulate dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain. Exercise has also been shown to help control ADHD symptoms through the regulation of dopamine and norepinephrine. This article briefly compares the pharmacological mechanisms of ADHD medications with the physiological mechanisms of exercise relative to ADHD. Recommendations for the concomitant use of both treatment modalities are also provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)306-308
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Lifestyle Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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