Does ADHD Medication Help with Social Skills?


Some people who have ADHD experience trouble with social skills and interactions. They may display behaviors that seem impulsive, disorganized, overly sensitive, aggressive, or disruptive. Unlike many people without this condition, those with ADHD may not be able to self-regulate their actions and how they react toward others. This could cause misunderstandings and conflict with parents, siblings, teachers, friends, classmates, co-workers, and more.

Medications designed to treat ADHD are known to decrease or eliminate certain symptoms of the disorder. But can these medications help improve social skills in people with ADHD?

What Is ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

ADHD is a very complex disorder that can’t just be defined by one term. It could be considered a mental health disorder, a behavioral disorder, or a neurodevelopmental disorder. This condition can affect both children and adults, but is usually diagnosed during childhood (between 6 and 8 years old). People with ADHD commonly have symptoms like forgetfulness, trouble concentrating, hyperactivity, and an inability to finish tasks. However, symptoms vary per person depending on which subgroup of ADHD they fall into.

There are three main subgroups of ADHD:  Predominantly inattentive ADHD, Predominantly hyperactive/impulsive ADHD, and Combined ADHD. The subgroup someone falls into will be determined by their predominant behaviors and symptoms.

People with ADHD can live very happy and successful lives, but they may experience a variety of different issues if they leave their condition untreated. Therefore, they are encouraged to get treatment as soon as possible and begin taking ADHD medication.

Medications Prescribed to Treat ADHD

Medication is a very important part of ADHD treatment. There are many different prescription medications specifically designed to help treat ADHD. While not everyone with ADHD takes the same medication for it, some brands are more common than others. ADHD medications typically fall into one of two classes: stimulants or non-stimulants.

Stimulants are prescribed more often because they are known to be effective and increase dopamine in the brain. These medications can improve concentration, focus, handling distractions, and ADHD-induced fatigue. Some of the most common brand-name stimulants are Adderall, Dexedrine, Desoxyn, Ritalin, Concerta, ProCentra, and Aptensio XR.

Non-stimulants, while they can also be successful for some, do not increase dopamine levels and may take longer to show results. They are known to help with symptoms like hyperactivity, impulsiveness, distractibility, and concentration. Strattera, Kapvay, and Intuniv are the most common brand-name non-stimulants.

Can ADHD Medication Improve Social Skills?

While different medications may have varying effects depending on the individual using them, it is possible that some ADHD medications can help improve social skills. This is because ADHD medication can produce changes in brain function. When a child or teenager’s brain function is altered, they may be able to develop and use new social skills that they didn’t have previously.

Other strategies can also be used to help improve social skills in individuals with ADHD. One of these strategies is skill training: a widely-used treatment method that can improve a child’s knowledge of social skills and behavior. According to this method, skills need to be taught and repeated to be learned. Skill training encourages parents and teachers to prompt children with ADHD to use their newly-acquired social skills at school or home. While skill training is intended to help kids with ADHD make more friends and integrate themselves in social environments, there is still more research needed to determine just how successful this method is.

Finding the Right Medication For You

If you or your child have ADHD and are struggling with social skills, contact a doctor to see which medication is the best option to start with. Along with writing a prescription, the doctor will also be able to recommend a dosage and schedule. Keep in mind that it may take a few tries to determine which medication is best for you or your child. In most cases, ADHD medication works best when used in combination with other treatment methods including therapy, behavioral changes, and skills training.

To learn more about different ADHD medications and what they treat, our mental health treatment specialists are available to answer questions at any time. To contact us, give our team a call at 866-552-3758 or send an email to



Get Started Now

Contact Elium Health today for In-Person and Telehealth Appointments.