Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that affects hundreds of thousands of people in the United States. ADHD symptoms can interfere with an individual’s ability to learn at school and achieve success in other areas of life. Many adults struggle with the symptoms of ADHD throughout their lives. While prescription medication such as Adderall can help, some patients prefer to avoid prescription medication. This article explores some Adderall alternatives.
What is ADHD?
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development. The symptoms of ADHD often begin in childhood but can persist into adulthood. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, but people with ADHD often have trouble paying attention, being organized, and controlling their behavior. Untreated ADHD can lead to poor academic or work performance, low self-esteem, relationship problems, substance abuse, and mental illness.
What is Adderall?
Adderall is an amphetamine-based prescription medicine that is commonly prescribed as a treatment for ADHD. It is a combination of two active substances: dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. Adderall has been proven to be an effective treatment for ADHD that helps increase attention and concentration and decrease impulsiveness and hyperactivity. However, there are side effects associated with taking this medication.
One of the main concerns about prolonged Adderall use is the potential for dependency. Addiction to Adderall can occur when patients take more than the recommended dose, take the medication more often than prescribed, or take the medication for an extended time. If someone who has developed a dependency on Adderall stops taking the drug suddenly, they could experience withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, headaches, and fatigue.
What are Some Alternatives to Adderall?
For individuals who prefer to stay away from prescription medication, some alternatives may be effective in managing the symptoms of ADHD.
Ashwagandha – Ashwagandha is an ancient medicinal herb used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine. The herb acts by reducing the stress hormone cortisol, which in turn reduces anxiety, boosts focus, and protects brain cells. It has also been shown to help improve mood and reduce insomnia. By promoting relaxation, ashwagandha is thought to help improve concentration and memory by slowing down the rate at which thoughts pass through the brain.
Ginkgo Biloba – Ginkgo biloba is a common ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine. This herbal supplement improves cerebral circulation, allowing your brain’s neurons to receive a healthier supply of oxygen and nutrients. Hence, ginkgo biloba is thought to improve memory, enhance attention span, and decrease impulsivity. Some research suggests that ginkgo biloba may also have a calming effect and help reduce anxiety symptoms in people with ADHD.
Citicoline – Citicoline is a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is found in the brain. It is thought to improve brain metabolism and protect brain cells from degeneration due to oxidative stress and inflammation. Therefore, citicoline may help protect against memory loss, cognitive decline, and other age-related changes that occur because of the aging process. It also increases the flow of blood to the brain, which helps keep it healthy and functioning well.
L-theanine – L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea leaves and some mushrooms that appears to have multiple beneficial effects on the nervous system. This can include improved concentration, reduced anxiety, and improved sleep. It is also believed to be effective at improving the functioning of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, which play an important role in regulating mood and behavior.
Caffeine – Taking caffeine for ADHD may seem strange but caffeine is a stimulant that may increase alertness and focus for people with ADHD. That said, it is important to note that taking too much caffeine can cause anxiety, irritability, and poor sleep, thus worsening the symptoms of ADHD. According to research, managed doses of caffeine combined with L-theanine can enhance alertness, cognitive efficiency, and mental accuracy.
Modafinil – Modafinil is a medication used primarily to treat disorders such as narcolepsy and excessive daytime sleepiness. It is also used to treat ADHD in adults and adolescents. Modafinil is a eugeroic substance that promotes alertness and wakefulness. It may improve focus, working memory, and processing speed in people with ADHD. Modafinil is a controlled drug in the U.S. and is only available without a prescription via online pharmacies.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat that is found in certain fish, nuts, and seeds. Studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may help improve brain functioning and overall mental health in people of all ages. They may also improve mood and behavior in children with ADHD. Because ADHD has been linked to inflammation, taking the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 may be helpful.
L-tyrosine – L-tyrosine is another type of amino acid that may help treat symptoms of ADHD. It can increase levels of epinephrine, dopamine, and norepinephrine—an important neurotransmitter involved in the regulation of arousal and sleep. These neurotransmitters may also help curb impulsiveness. L-tyrosine is believed to have a calming effect and reduce anxiety symptoms in people with ADHD. However, more research is required.
ADHD can be a disruptive and debilitating condition. Although prescription medication can help manage this condition, there are alternatives available. The efficacy of medications vary from person to person. Select the best solution based on your personal experience and doctor’s recommendation.