Does Sertraline treat ADHD?(3 other options)

This article will discuss the therapeutic benefits of Sertraline (Zoloft) in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). We will share related research findings and dosage recommendations of medications for ADHD management.

Additionally, we will also discuss which medications are FDA-approved for the treatment of ADHD.

Does Sertraline treat ADHD?

No, Sertraline is not the right choice of medication to treat ADHD. Sertraline is commonly used for the management and treatment of mental health disorders such as major depressive disorders (MDD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder and post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) (4).

It is not effective in the management of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which is why it is not commonly prescribed for it.

However, in clinical practice, Sertraline is used in ADHD treatment plans to manage comorbid conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and Major depressive disorders (MDD) which commonly occur alongside ADHD (2,3).

What does research suggest?

While Sertraline is not the drug of choice for the treatment of ADHD, several research studies have explored the medication’s potential benefits in managing ADHD-related symptoms, particularly in cases where ADHD coexists with conditions like depression and OCD (2,3).

In a clinical trial, a small group of patients was assessed for the effectiveness of Sertraline in treating comorbid OCD and ADHD. Most of the patients went into remission for both OCD and ADHD symptoms when undergoing dual therapy with Sertraline and Guanfancine-ER (2).

The study also suggested using other medications such as Citalopram in the management of comorbid ADHD and OCD.

In another case study, patients were assessed for their response to Sertraline in combination with stimulant and non-stimulant medications in the management of comorbid ADHD and anxiety. It’s worth noting that anxiety symptoms tend to exacerbate ADHD symptoms, such as restlessness and inattention.

The study indicated that many patients experienced a significant improvement in their comorbid symptoms when treated with this dual therapy treatment plan, attributed to Sertraline’s ability to alleviate anxiety symptoms (3).

It is important to note that there is limited evidence supporting the use of Sertraline for the treatment of ADHD. However, most studies have shown the efficacy of Sertraline’s use in the management of comorbid ADHD.

It is also important to note that SSRIs like Sertraline, Lexapro, etc may worsen the symptoms of ADHD in some individuals, as people are different and they have different factors affecting their health. So, make sure you do not take any medication without consulting your doctor first.

What are suitable treatment strategies for ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by symptoms like inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity for over 6 months (1). ADHD is treated effectively with the following strategies (2,3,5):


Stimulant Medications

  • Immediate-release Methylphenidate (5mg, 10mg, 20mg) tablets – 2.5-g mg/dose twice a day, titrate upwards by 5-10mg/week.
  • Extended-release Methylphenidate (10mg, 20mg) tablets – 10mg/day.
  • Immediate-release Amphetamine (5mg, 7.5mg, 10mg, 12.5mg, 15mg, 20mg, 30mg) tablets – 5mg once or twice a day, titrate upwards by 5mg/week.
  • Extended-release Amphetamine (5mg, 10mg, 15mg, 20mg, 25mg, 30mg) tablets – 10mg/day.

Non-stimulant Medications

  • Atomoxetine (10mg, 18mg, 25mg, 40mg, 60mg) tablets – For patients weighing less than 70 Kg, start with 0.5mg/kg/day and titrate upwards to 1.2mg/kg/day. For patients weighing 70 kg or more, start with 40mg daily and titrate upwards to 80mg/day.
  • Clonidine (0.1mg, 0.2mg) tablets – Start with 0.1mg per day and titrate upwards by 0.1mg/week.
  • Guanfacine (1 mg, 2mg, 3mg, 4mg) tablets – Recommended dosage is 0.05-0.08 mg/kg/day

These medications are effective in treating ADHD, but the most suitable one for you should be determined by your healthcare provider. Never self-medicate; always seek medical attention!

Behavioural therapy

Behavioural therapy plays a vital role in the management of ADHD. It entails teaching individuals with ADHD skills that enhance their organization, time management, and task completion (6).


Patient education regarding the presentation and management of ADHD is important. Healthcare providers should educate patients and their families about how ADHD might affect their daily lives and help them understand how to enhance disorder management, ultimately promoting a better quality of life (7).

How to know you have ADHD?

Diagnosing ADHD requires a comprehensive assessment by your doctor. The following steps are involved:

  • Identifying symptoms such as impulsivity, and hyperactivity
  • Engaging in self-reflection regarding your behaviour, with a focus on recognizing symptoms such as difficulty focusing, restlessness, and being easily distracted.
  • Seeking a professional evaluation from your healthcare provider.
  • Undergoing a comprehensive assessment
  • Receiving diagnosis

Proper treatment of ADHD is essential to prevent complications and maintain a good quality of life.

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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Table 7, DSM-IV to DSM-5 Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Comparison [Internet]. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 2018 [cited 2023 Sep 27]. Available from:



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Strawn JR, Dobson ET, Giles LL. Primary Pediatric Care Psychopharmacology: Focus on Medications for ADHD, Depression, and Anxiety. Current Problems in Pediatric and Adolescent Health Care [Internet]. 2017 Jan [cited 2023 Sep 27];47(1):3–14. Available from:



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Lopez PL, Torrente FM, Ciapponi A, Lischinsky AG, Cetkovich-Bakmas M, Rojas JI, et al. Cognitive-behavioural interventions for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews [Internet]. 2018 Mar 23 [cited 2023 Sep 28];3(3). Available from:



Powell LA, Parker J, Weighall A, Harpin V. Psychoeducation Intervention Effectiveness to Improve Social Skills in Young People with ADHD: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Attention Disorders [Internet]. 2021 Mar 5 [cited 2023 Sep 28];26(3):108705472199755. Available from:


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