Does ADD Medication Create Zombies?

image via Flickr, Sean Dreilinger

image via Flickr, Sean Dreilinger

Can ADD/ADHD medications make a person a “zombie”?

When used properly, ADD/ADHD medications do not have a tranquilizing effect.

However, with the use of medication, activity level in some children is reduced and they become more reflective; they sit back and reflect rather than go-go-go.

Some adults lay back more in social situations and spend more time listening rather than impulsively spilling their guts.

In addition, as ADD individuals become more attentive, they are able to be more focused and serious about whatever they happen to be doing – studying, cleaning, working, watching TV, playing a game.

In some ADD individuals, these changes can be dramatic.  In response to such a profound change, parents, spouses, friends and others may react by saying the ADD individual is too subdued, overly quiet, blunted, a “zombie” – when in reality, his behavior is now actually more appropriate.

In some circumstances, this new behavior pattern may have been the person’s basic nature all along, but had just been “hidden” by ADD.

In some sensitive and intense individuals, the increased awareness that comes with medication use can trigger overly intense responses to stresses that may contribute to heightened anxiety and precipitate withdrawal reactions in certain situations.


For other FAQs about ADD/ADHD medication, check out other posts from the Pay Attention! series.  If you’re ready to dig deeper into ADD medication and its proper use, you’ll want to download Dr. Liden’s free ebook, ADD Basics 301: Rationale for Clinically Necessary Off-Label Use of Stimulant Medications in the Treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder / Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD)

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About cblmd

medical director of the being well center, ADHD expert, speaker, and author

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