What Is Considered a High Dose of Medication for ADHD?

ADHD Medication Dosage
A patient with Adult ADHD looking at their medication and wandering if they are on a high dose.

Patients with Adult ADHD are sometimes concerned about the dose of their stimulant medication and want to know what is considered to be the max dose for their medication.

Albert Hernandez

November 19, 2021
 Medically Reviewed by Tanya Hernandez, PMHNP-BC
Updated on: October 20, 2022
  6 min read

November 19, 2021
 Medically Reviewed by Tanya Hernandez, PMHNP-BC
Updated on: October 20, 2022
  6 min read


You love your spouse, your kids, and your life, but boy, you sure seem to struggle so much more than everyone else you know to stay organized. You’re constantly worried about getting another performance warning at work. And why can’t you keep straight which weekend your son has a travel soccer tournament in El Paso and which weekend the tournament is in Albuquerque? 

After doing some online searching and chatting with some friends, you think you might have Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). You want to get help, but you’re scared of getting put on a high dose of stimulants. What would it look like if you were on too high of a dose? How will you know if you’re on the right dose for you? What’s the max dose of stimulant for Adult ADHD, anyway?

When I see newly-diagnosed Adult ADHD patients from everywhere from El Paso and Las Cruces all the way up to Albuquerque, I hear nervous questions like those above about the dose of their stimulant medication. Patients always want to be started on the lowest dose of stimulants like Vyvanse, Concerta and Adderall. They’re often scared that they might be prescribed too high of a dose and that they’ll end up with unwanted side effects.

These fears make sense. Stimulant medication for ADHD absolutely can have side effects.

To minimize side effects and maximize the patient’s quality of life, I always help my patients find the lowest dose of stimulant possible that still tackles their ADHD symptoms.

Symptoms of Adult ADHD

You might be surprised at how many adult patients I see who have never been treated for ADHD before. Adults with ADHD may not have recognized the symptoms when they were younger. Or maybe, they needed help as a preteen or a teenager, and the adults in their life didn’t understand how they were struggling. Some of my patients were able to manage their ADHD symptoms until the combination of family and work responsibilities overwhelmed the organizational systems that had worked for them previously. 

A patient with Adult ADHD that wanders about their treatment plan.

When adult patients seek out care at our practice, it’s because the symptoms of ADHD are interfering with their lives to a point that has become unmanageable. Some symptoms that adults with ADHD can experience are:

  • Being fidgety and/or unable to sit still
  • Losing important items
  • Seeming to not be paying attention when someone is talking to them
  • Trouble completing tasks at work
  • Talking too much or talking over others
  • Makes mistakes in work due to being inattentive to details

Due to these symptoms, adults with untreated ADHD might experience:

  • Financial stress, as they worry that they might lose their source of income due to mistakes at work. They may also struggle to remember to pay bills on time.
  • Stress in their romantic relationships, as the work that they are trying to put in to stay organized can lead to exhaustion and irritability. Adults with untreated ADHD can have trouble connecting with their partners due to these symptoms. 
  • Feelings of worthlessness as a parent. Being so tired at the end of the workday that they don’t have the energy to play with their kids, or being unable to keep track of their children’s important activities can lead to feeling shame and sadness in their parenting. 

When people are ready to be treated for the symptoms of ADHD that are impacting their lives, they often have questions about the medication they will be prescribed. 

What Is a High Dose of Stimulant Medication For Adult ADHD?

Stimulant medications such as Concerta, Vyvanse, and Adderall are often prescribed for adult ADHD patients. As of the date of this article, the max prescribed dose for Adderall XR is 60 mg, the max prescribed dose for Vyvanse is 70 mg, and the max prescribed dose for Concerta ER is 72 mg.

Side-by-side comparison of different ADHD medication pill containers.

Patients who are being treated for ADHD for the first time might fear being put on a “high dose” of stimulant medication. This anxiety is understandable, because although the possible side effects of stimulants such as Concerta, Adderall, and Vyvanse are often mild, they can increase as the dose of medication increases. Side effects of stimulants can include:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Not feeling as hungry
  • Slight rise in blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Moodiness
  • Headache

All medications have potential side effects. It’s important to find the medication and dose that treat your ADHD symptoms while also being tolerable from a side-effect standpoint. 

How I Can Ensure That I Get the Correct Dose of ADHD Medication For Me? 

As noted above, the risk of side effects from stimulant medication increases as the dose of medication gets higher. As you and your behavioral health provider work together to find the right dose of stimulant medication for you, you will both consider risk versus benefit. It may take some experimentation of doses and timing to find the stimulant dose that works best for you. The bottom line is that you will see diminishing returns as you get to higher and higher doses of stimulant medication. It’s vital to work with a provider that you can communicate effectively with, so that they understand what impact your medication is having on your symptoms and your life.

At Upper Valley Behavioral Health, we are experts in Adult ADHD. Our board-certified behavioral health experts provide custom-tailored ADHD medications at the lowest dose possible to make the most effective change in your symptoms. Whether you are a patient from El Paso, Las Cruces, Albuquerque, or one of other areas of service, you will have meaningful and regular interactions with your provider. I or one of my colleagues will make sure your ADHD stimulant dose is working well for you. Please fill out our short application for treatment today. 

Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only. It does not replace instructions from your licensed prescriber. Please consult your healthcare provider for guidance on your specific medication regimen.

Tags: adhd, ADHD Awareness, adhd problems, ADHD Life, adhd is real, ADHD probs, ADHD Support, adhd awareness, adhd therapy, adhd medication, mental health, mental health awareness, mental health matters, living with adhd, adults with adhd

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