Adderall alternatives are becoming more widely known in response to clinical research that suggests other treatments may be safer in the long run. Immediate-release (1996) and extended-release (2001) versions of Adderall have long been regarded as first-line treatment choices for both children and adults for symptoms of ADHD and narcolepsy.
At Alternative to Meds Center, we are observing that ADHD drugs in general are beginning to receive more scrutiny in the medical literature, and alternatives to pharmaceutical treatment are possible. We welcome this change and would be happy to see this accelerate. In the meantime, we know there are alternatives to Adderall that may provide equal or greater efficacy, without the liabilities associated with the prolonged use of stimulants.
Do Your Symptoms Require Adderall?
For nearly 20 years now, Alternative to Meds Center has provided holistic, science-based options for treatment for those who would prefer natural remedies over medication. For persons who are desiring a reduction in the use of medication, the answers are also here. Our published evidence shows remarkable outcomes in the programs offered to our clients, over many years. Many of our staff have found relief through implementing non-drug-based solutions as alternatives to Aderral or other medications, and are passionate about delivering the same life-changing therapies to others.
15 Years Experience by Professionals Who Understand Your Journey.
Adderall is a compound of 4 stimulant drugs, plus binders and other non-medicinal substances. By name, these stimulant drugs are, according to the drug’s label:
Amphetamines activate surges of dopamine and norepinephrine (a form of adrenaline) in the CNS and brain. The effects are pleasurable, stimulating, and addictive over prolonged use.
Amphetamine-based drugs like Adderall are classed as Schedule II for their high risk of abuse and dependence, and because they cause dangerous physical and psychological adverse effects.1,2
Adderall Alternatives Provide Safer Strategies in Practical Ways
Here are some well-documented strategies that don’t require drugging that can be implemented relatively easily. In many cases, these alternatives to Adderall have enabled an entire reversal of chronic conditions like daytime sleepiness, energy roller coasters, lack of focus, exhaustion, nervous jitters, mental confusion, impulsivity, and other symptoms, without prescription drugs.
Alternatives to Adderall may include:
Improve diet and nutrition.
Improve gut health.
Test for and correct vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Counseling, lifestyle changes.
Avoid stimulants, and recreational drugs/alcohol.
Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Improve the diet. Avoid sugar and caffeine over-consumption, and high-carb meals and snacks to avoid blood sugar crashes, jitters, mental fog, wild energy spikes, and bouts of exhaustion. A diet consisting of adequate fresh leafy greens and other vegetables and fruits high in neuro-supportive nutrients and adequate good quality protein over the day is fundamental for robust mental and physical health and for keeping blood sugar levels at an even keel.11,12
About coffee and caffeine consumption: While minimal coffee intake is considered somewhat therapeutic for some, overconsumption can have disastrous effects such as increased anxiety, low mood, panic attacks, and even psychosis in non-psychotic persons. Moderation is the key.9,10
A Note on Blood Sugar and Hypoglycemia: Hypoglycemia symptoms are similar to many psychiatric symptoms. Keeping blood sugar levels from spiking and crashing after high sugar consumption is a good daily practice for mental health.11
Improve gut health. The bulk of vital neurotransmitters and other essentials for human health are produced in the gut and delivered from there into the bloodstream. Studies show that improving gut health has a positive impact on neurological dysfunction, including ADHD symptoms. Adderall alternatives here include daily consumption of fermented foods, yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and other sources that can give the gut the fuel it needs for these important functions and keep your neurotransmitters and hormones functioning at normal levels.8,13
Get a good night’s sleep. Insomnia and daytime sleepiness are common in persons who suffer from ADHD symptoms. Make it routine to keep electronics and blue light out of the sleeping area. Keep the room you sleep in well-ventilated. Use clean non-toxic bed linens, a comfortable pillow and mattress, and black-out curtains or a comfortable light-blocking eye mask to promote natural melatonin production.
Herbal and natural remedies such as teas and supplements can help, such as chamomile, passionflower extract, lavender, melatonin, and others that you can easily find in local shops.7,26
Lab testing for vitamin and mineral deficiencies and allergies. Certain vitamin deficiencies as well as mineral deficits are associated with ADHD. Micro-nutrient treatments have produced improvements in emotional regulation and aggression in clinical studies. Lab testing can help pinpoint exactly what your body needs, and even discover toxic accumulations you didn’t know were there. These should be cleansed out of your body. Alternatives to Adderall also include testing for food or other allergies.
Allergies can play symptomatic havoc with day-to-day life, but once you know about them you can take steps to avoid further exposure.
Thyroid issues are sometimes overlooked as potential mimics of psychiatric conditions, and testing can isolate thyroid-related issues that need addressing.14,16,17
Cleanse, cleanse, cleanse. Toxic exposures that a lab test finds should be a bright signpost that tells you it’s time to clean that body. Toxicity is often overlooked in psychiatric diagnoses, as it is associated with many “mental health” symptoms that are actually reactions to toxins we’ve been exposed to, which is not uncommon in modern day-to-day life.18
Therapeutic Lifestyle changes. There are many “TLC” options that can be as powerful in positive ways as psychotherapy. Do what you can to avoid stressors in the environment, toxic relationships, or self-sabotaging or self-limiting habits. If you hate your job, consider opportunities that could be of greater personal value to you. Make friends with people you genuinely enjoy being around. Take a Pilates class, or a course on improving social and communication skills, or take up a hobby you are keenly interested in. Take time to relax and rest. Marital or family conflicts can be heart-wrenching if not resolved. Seek help to guide you and yours to more harmonious, supportive interchanges. Counseling like CBT and other sources of guidance can greatly support you as you restructure your lifestyle in every way possible that is meaningful to the unique person that you are.19
Limit or cut out stimulants, alcohol, marijuana, and other recreational drug use. Using alcohol or other recreational drugs to “relax” often has a rebound or boomerang effect, magnifying instead of relieving stress and irritation.20
Traditional Chinese Medicine. Combining therapies such as acupuncture, meditation, Tai Chi, QiGong, breath therapy, or other learned relaxation techniques can put you back in control of energy, mindfulness, and personal confidence. These techniques can help you find clarity and grace in a sometimes crazy and graceless world.21,22
Exercise is a practical and potent tool that can improve many facets of human health, both physical and psychological. It has been well-established in clinical studies that aerobic exercise such as walking, running, or bicycling alleviates symptoms of ADHD almost immediately! Exercise promotes neurogenesis (growth of new neurons) which improves mood, and cognitive ability, and facilitates learning.23,25
Why Consider Alternatives to Adderall?
The drug label is a good source of information about the risks associated with Adderall. The following summary is taken from the drug’s label and the DEA, and other sources as cited. Below are some reasons to consider other treatment options.
Adderall is considered dangerous by the DEA — posing a high risk for abuse and dependence.
Serous adverse effects include sudden death, cardiac arrest, and stroke.
The emergence of new symptoms may occur, such as aggression, mania, hallucinations, and other psychotic symptoms.
A single dose of amphetamines produced stimulant-induced psychosis in 50-70% of patients with prior psychosis or other symptoms of schizophrenia.5
The mode of therapeutic action is not completely understood.
According to the FDA, there is no test for a diagnosis of the syndrome known as ADHD, and “ADHD” as a syndrome remains under considerable controversy and clinically unproven.
More studies are needed on the effects of long-term use of Adderall.
Suppression of growth over time.6
Seizures, whether or not a history of seizures was present before taking Adderall.
Risk of serotonin syndrome, a life-threatening adverse drug-induced effect.
Visual disturbances such as blurring vision are associated with Adderall and similar stimulants.
Risk of circulatory problems leading to numbness or pain, and fingers turning from pale, to blue, or turning red.
Unexplained wounds on the fingers or toes.
There are no well-controlled studies on the effects of Adderall on pregnant women.
Babies born to mothers taking Adderall may present with congenital heart malformations, discontinuation syndrome, premature birth, and low birth weight.3
The frequency of emergency visits in the age 55+ population associated with stimulant drugs such as Adderall increased 700% from 1995 to 2002.4
While not everyone experiences life-threatening symptoms from Adderall, there is enough clinical evidence to give one pause and consider other, safer strategies to address problematic symptoms. But first, it may help to understand more about the diagnosis of adult ADHD.
The reason it is worth a closer look is that it reveals a glaring neglect of any other diagnostic avenue or assessment of factors pertinent to day-to-day life. It implies by default that if you are forgetting your keys too often, feeling jittery and distracted during meetings at work, or bored or annoyed by the slowness of others, are disorganized, etc., etc., etc., then you’ve got to be either suffering from ADHD or from some other psychiatric disorder or substance abuse issue. That is a VERY narrow set of criteria.
Our modern world is RICH with psycho-social stressors, media and information overload, toxic exposures, poor diet, lifestyle, financial, and educational challenges, and high velocity of change in all of these areas. We have the opportunity to delve deeper into causal factors, with an aim to intervene and improve them in logical, practical ways. To just short-circuit any truly authentic assessment with a prescription of a Schedule II drug amounts to a gigantic missed opportunity.
And on an individual basis, perhaps one needs to re-assess one’s personal values and begin to restructure one’s life around meaningful purposes. Perhaps one is hampered by skill sets that are missing or need improving. Perhaps there is a need or desire to find avenues for spiritual growth and guidance. There are many ways to adjust one’s focus in life so that goals become clearer, and actions become more organized and deliberate. In contrast, the drug industry thrives on the idea of letting a drug do all the work. Perhaps there are alternatives to Adderall that result in a more satisfying and healthy outcome. Some of these are discussed below.
What about Transitioning Off Adderall?
Alternative to Meds Center has helped thousands of clients to transition to drug-free treatment options in a very comfortable, nurturing, inpatient setting. It is important to not stop taking prescription medications abruptly. A slow, gradual process is best. You can read more about the techniques and treatment protocols used during and after holistic detox at the center.
Adderall Generic, Brand, and Slang Names
Adderall is the brand name for the generic components, which consist of four types of amphetamines in Adderall.1
Adderall has developed a significant street presence.24 Outside the doctor’s office, Adderall may be called by a slang term, like the following:
The Alternative to Meds Center Treatment Protocols
Peer support programs are highly popular, and the area in which the facility is located is awesome for outdoor hikes, biking, and breathtakingly beautiful photo opportunities, and the weather is traditionally pleasant all year round.
Please feel free to contact us for any other information you would like to have, such as insurance coverage, costs and length of programs, and what to bring. We welcome your call and are here to help. We have over 50 staff, many of whom have recovered in similar ways using proven and safe alternatives to Adderall for natural mental health.
This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.
Dr. Samuel Lee
Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente. He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.
Diane is an avid supporter and researcher of natural mental health strategies. Diane received her medical writing and science communication certification through Stanford University and has published over 3 million words on the topics of holistic health, addiction, recovery, and alternative medicine. She has proudly worked with the Alternative to Meds Center since its inception and is grateful for the opportunity to help the founding members develop this world-class center that has helped so many thousands regain natural mental health.
Medical Disclaimer: Nothing on this Website is intended to be taken as medical advice. The information provided on the website is intended to encourage, not replace, direct patient-health professional relationships. Always consult with your doctor before altering your medications. Adding nutritional supplements may alter the effect of medication. Any medication changes should be done only after proper evaluation and under medical supervision.