Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder is a common ailment that children are diagnosed with daily. Each year, diagnoses among children continue to rise, and researchers at the National Institute of Health (NIH) are studying the underlying causes of ADHD. Research shows that ADHD may be caused by interactions between genes and environmental or non-genetic factors. Several factors contribute to ADHD that include genes, cigarette smoking, alcohol use, or drug use during pregnancy, exposure to environmental toxins, such as high levels of lead at a young age, low birth weight, or brain injuries.
The extensive studies have given a better perspective about what is contributing to the elevated levels of the disorder. More research is necessary to understand it better, but drugs like Adderall are often used to treat symptoms associated with ADHD.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 11 percent of all children in the United States aged four to 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD, which is roughly 6.1 million American children in 2016, a 43 percent increase since 2003. According to the 2015 report, the CDC states that the total number of American adults and children with ADHD continues to rise from 7.8 percent in 2003 to 9.5 percent in 2007 and 11 percent in 2011.
The paper notes that boys are nearly three times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD (13.2 percent) than are girls (5.6 percent). In a classroom of 30 students, every one in three children will have ADHD, and half of these kids are noted to have “severe impairment” 6.1 percent of U.S. children ages four to 17 took stimulant medication for ADHD in 2011, up 28 percent from 4.8 percent in 2007.
Adderall is one of the most common medications used to treat ADHD, but a lot of those who use the drug end up abusing it. For many, they will outgrow their symptoms of ADHD and stop needing medicine. Unfortunately, they will not report this to their doctor and continue being prescribed the medication. While some will stop using it altogether, some may start abusing it. For the others who do not use it, they sometimes will sell their prescription medication to peers to earn a couple of extra dollars.
By doing so, it perpetuates a cycle of addiction and gives a channel to abuse the drug. Studies show that full-time college students are twice as likely to abuse Adderall as their peers not in college, and these users are more likely to use other drugs such as marijuana and cocaine. More than half of young people in one survey said their Adderall came from a friend.
Taking stimulant drugs can be dangerous for some even when taken as prescribed, and it’s always important to do research and find what works best for you. It can mean alternative prescription medication or natural methods that don’t require medicines from the doctor. Below we will examine several ways that can be used instead of Adderall.
What is Adderall?
The primary ingredient in Adderall is something known as dextroamphetamine, and the potent central nervous system (CNS) stimulant affects the chemicals in our brain that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control. When it is abused, Adderall can cause feelings of euphoria, increased energy, concentration, and self-confidence. It was initially created to be long-lasting and increase concentration in kids or adults with problems related to ADHD.
When Adderall is abused, it carries a significant risk of becoming addictive.
When it is used as intended, there is a smaller chance of developing a substance use disorder, but it can still occur.
Adderall use becomes a problem when the drug is consumed in higher doses than a doctor would prescribe or in a manner that’s inconsistent with its purpose.
Adderall is meant to be taken orally, but when it’s abused, the pills are often broken down into a powder and snorted for a more intense high.
Since the drug has an extended-release formula, an overdose can lead to comas, brain damage, and sometimes death.
Natural Alternatives For Adderall
ADHD can be challenging to manage, and you may experience impulsivity issues, inattentiveness, difficulty learning, and socializing, and a sense of inefficiency. These complications may lead to productivity issues that may be difficult to overcome on your own. There have been many natural alternatives introduced to the market that are over-the-counter (OTC). These substitutes for Adderall can ease symptoms and can be healthier and productive for long-term use. In addition to being safer, they are also legal.
Natural remedies are essential to parents as well since they do not want to introduce their children to amphetamines at a young age. Non-prescription Adderall alternatives are highly recommended for adults as well who are looking to boost focus and concentration. Some of the best over-the-counter options include:
One of the most popular supplements for brain health, Ginkgo Biloba has shown promise as a natural treatment of ADHD in children. It works by preserving the balance of vital neurotransmitters in the brain, and also maintains acetylcholine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. The benefit is that it improves attention span and reduces impulsivity.
Someone looking for an increased lifespan as well as a relief to their ADHD symptoms often turns to Bacopa Monnieri. It has been traditionally used for centuries and has proven itself as an excellent natural substitute to Adderall. Bacopa Monnieri interacts with serotonergic and dopaminergic systems in the body. There is a positive interaction on vital neurotransmitters and enhances alertness and energy levels for the person taking it.
An unlikely candidate when it comes to Adderall alternatives is caffeine. One of the most commonly used substances in the world, but many would link a cup of coffee to a reduction in ADHD symptoms. Caffeine is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant, such as Adderall, and it boosts the production of dopamine in the brain. Caffeine also reduces blood flow to overactive regions in the brain by shrinking blood vessels much like stimulant medications. It allows for effective and predictable communication throughout the brain.
Prescription Medication Adderall Alternative
It’s necessary to mention that everyone is different, and what may work for one person will not work for another. Your doctor may determine that Adderall is the best prescription to treat your condition based on many variables, but it’s worth looking into other options before saying yes. One medication that is designed to treat symptoms of ADHD is Ritalin. A study released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) showed that boys treated with Ritalin were less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol when they get older.
While the idea of giving stimulants to children is a scary prospect, those who find natural alternatives less useful may find solace in Ritalin. The best way to determine which medication is best for you is to discuss this with your primary care physician. If you or someone you know may have turned their Adderall use into an addiction, we may be able to help.