Evidence and experience both say no, that treating a child for ADHD with medication means that as an adult (not on medication), they have a higher education, make more money, have more stable relationships, fewer problems with the law and are generally more happy than those who were not treated as children.
It’s true that we can’t cure ADHD and symptoms will return if you go off medication, but not any more than if you’d never been on medication in the first place and in fact more likely to be a bit less as you have learned good habits while on medication.
Patients commonly report that ADHD medication isn’t working any more. While tolerance (weakening of effect) is fairly common in the first few months, it doesn’t tend to happen after that and if we do see that medication is less effective, we look for a good reason – a change in job to something more linear, involving more paper work, or with more distractions from doing what you are good at. Sometimes it’s going back to school, or having a family or being in a long term relationship with requires better focus.
A common scenario is that the medication is still effective but it wears off way too early in the day and a top up later in the day is both needed and very effective.
Depression can make adhd look a whole lot worse and make medication less effective.