Adderall alternatives are becoming more widely known. Certainly, clinical research suggests other treatments may be safer in the long run. Nevertheless, 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.
But at Alternative to Meds Center, we are observing that ADHD drugs in general are beginning to receive more scrutiny in the medical literature. Above all, we see that alternatives to pharmaceutical treatment are more available than ever before. 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. And, many of our staff have found relief through implementing non-drug-based solutions as alternatives to Adderall 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:
As a result, amphetamines activate surges of dopamine and norepinephrine (a form of adrenaline) in the CNS and brain. Therefore, 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. What’s more, they can cause dangerous physical and psychological adverse effects.1,2
Adderall Alternatives Provide Safer Strategies in Practical Ways
In summary, 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.
What Can You Do for Relief?
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. In particular, a diet consisting of adequate fresh leafy greens and other vegetables and fruits provide high-level 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
What About the Microbiome?
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
How Important is Quality Sleep?
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. Specifically, studies have demonstrated deficiencies in zinc, iron, magnesium, and Vitamin D were discovered in patients with ADHD symptoms. Micro-nutrient treatments have produced improvements in emotional regulation and aggression in clinical studies.27
Importantly, 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
Other Effective Strategies
Cleanse, cleanse, cleanse. Fortunately, 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
Notes on Living With Purpose
Is there anything we treasure more than living with purpose? Time passes so quickly it seems, and our circumstances can change and evolve. Perhaps this presents an opportunity to re-assess one’s personal values and begin to restructure one’s life around meaningful goals. Perhaps one is hampered by skill sets that are missing or need improving. There may be 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. Nonetheless, you can look for strategies that you feel would result in a more satisfying and healthy outcome.
Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes
Thankfully, there are many “TLC” options that can be powerful in positive ways. Many find benefits from psychotherapy. What’s more, be proactive in designing your lifestyle. Do what you can to avoid stressors in the environment including, toxic relationships. Consider new avenues to avoid self-sabotage or self-limiting habits. After all, if one feels stuck in a job that doesn’t satisfy one’s needs adequately, one is free to consider opportunities that could be of greater personal interest and value. Make friends with people you genuinely enjoy being around. So, take an enjoyable exercise class, or a course on improving social and communication skills, or take up a hobby you are keenly interested in.
With these things in mind, also take time to relax, rejuvenate, and rest. While it’s true that marital or family conflicts can be heart-wrenching, with guidance these may be able to see resolution. 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
Be Kind to Your Neurochemistry
Limit or cut out stimulants, alcohol, marijuana, and other recreational drug use. Unfortunately, using alcohol or other recreational drugs to “relax” often has a rebound or boomerang effect, magnifying instead of relieving stress and irritation.20
Often Overlooked Strategies
Traditional Chinese Medicine. Since individual therapies are beneficial, combining multiple strategies can be even better. Consider acupuncture, meditation, Tai Chi, QiGong, breath therapy, and other learned relaxation techniques. Above all, consider how these actions can help put you back in control of your energy, mindfulness, and personal confidence. Remember, these techniques may 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. Clinical studies have clearly established that aerobic exercise like 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. Often overlooked, there are few things in life that are so easily accessible, and affordable, yet with so many benefits as exercise.23,25
Why Consider Alternatives to Adderall?
Of note, 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
No one truly understands the mode of therapeutic action.
According to the FDA, no test has been devised for a diagnosis of the syndrome known as ADHD. Thus, the diagnosis has caused considerable controversy in the medical world.
Researchers are calling for more studies on the effects of long-term use of Adderall.
Other Concerns of Note
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
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 yet enough clinical evidence to give one pause. Therefore, it may benefit a person to consider other, safer strategies to address problematic symptoms. And, it may help to understand more about the diagnosis of adult ADHD.
A closer look may reveal a glaring neglect of any other avenue of treatment, or option for the relief of symptoms. Notably, a rather narrow set of criteria can peg a person with a diagnosis. And, a diagnosis, and drug treatment for it, may not be at all what was needed.
Our modern world is RICH with psycho-social stressors, information overload, toxic exposures, poor diet, lifestyle, financial, and educational challenges. Compounding these factors, we experience a high velocity of change and unpredictability in day-to-day life. Definitly, it can be hard to keep on top! We can take the opportunity to delve deeper into underlying factors, and we can improve them in logical, practical ways. Truly, to just short-circuit any truly authentic assessment by prescribing a Schedule II drug amounts to a gigantic missed opportunity.
What about Transitioning Off Adderall?
Alternative to Meds Center has helped thousands of clients to benefit from drug-free treatment options in a very comfortable, nurturing, inpatient setting. What’s more, we’ve been doing this work for nearly two decades now.
As a reminder, don’t stop taking prescription medications abruptly. A slow, gradual process is best. With this in mind, we invite you to find out more about the techniques and methods that Alternative to Meds Center uses 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
Certainly, Adderall has developed a significant street presence.24 Outside the doctor’s office, people may call Adderall by a number of slang terms, like the following:
The Alternative to Meds Center Treatment Protocols
Peer support programs are highly popular, and of note, 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.
Finally, we invite you 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.
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