If you’ve been struggling with over the counter stimulants for ADHD over the past couple of years, you’re not alone. Over 50% of ADHD clients have been or are currently looking for over the counter stimulants for ADHD alternatives.
This is because, over the past few years, Adderall and its generic forms — amphetamine salts such as methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta) — have become over-prescribed and overpriced.
Insurance companies often refuse to cover the high cost of these drugs. Therefore, consumers suffering from ADHD end up paying thousands out-of-pocket, even those suffering from narcolepsy and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which also fall under the umbrella of ADHD by diagnosis, can end up shelling over $400/month for ADHD medication when all they need are stimulants to help them with their sleep issues.
This over-prescription has several roots, though poor or misinformed doctor education is often cited as the main cause. Studies have found that over two-thirds of physicians don’t feel competent when it comes to diagnosing ADHD in adults. This is especially true since many ADHD cases present themselves for the first time during adulthood.
What Is ADHD?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder characterized by problems with focus, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. It is estimated that up to 11% of children in the United States have ADHD. While the causes of ADHD are unknown, it is believed to be due to a combination of environmental and genetic factors.
Symptoms of ADHD can interfere with a person’s ability to function in school or work, and can also affect social relationships. The most common treatment for ADHD is prescription medications such as Adderall or Ritalin. However, these medications can be expensive and may have side effects such as headaches, stomach aches, or insomnia.
ADHD in Adults
If you (or someone you know) are over the age of 18 and struggling with symptoms of ADHD, there are options that can help you. Although many over the counter (OTC) medications contain caffeine or other stimulants, these over the counter stimulants for ADHD have either been studied for their effects on adults or have been tolerated by adult consumers without severe side effects.
If left untreated, ADHD is associated with impaired quality of life for adults. For example, people with ADHD are more likely to face difficulty obtaining and maintaining employment compared to adults without ADHD. This is especially true for people with ADHD that did not receive treatment in childhood. If the symptoms of ADHD appear in childhood, diagnosis tends to come in adulthood for a significant proportion of women with ADHD.
What are the Pros and Cons of Receiving Over the Counter Stimulants for ADHD?
The pros and cons of receiving over the counter ADHD medication are still being debated by the medical community. Some people feel that over the counter ADHD medications are not strong enough, while others believe that they are a more affordable and safer alternative to prescription medications. There are a few over the counter replacements for Adderall which can be effective in treating ADHD.
Over the counter stimulants for ADHD are not currently regulated by the FDA. Thus, it’s up to each individual consumer to research his or her over the counter stimulants before using them.
There are a few different over the counter medications that are used to treat ADHD symptoms. Some benefits of over the counter stimulants for ADHD would be a decrease in cost as well as fewer negative side effects. Thus, such medications could be great options for hard-working parents that are trying to make ends meet who happen to have children with ADHD.
One con of over the counter stimulants for ADHD is that they have not been extensively studied. Therefore, the long-term effects of such OTC medication is unknown. The other con is that many over the counter stimulants for ADHD can be addictive and lead to abuse.
Medications Used to Treat ADHD
Some OTC medications that have been shown to be effective in treating ADHD include:
Each of these medications has its own set of pros and cons, which should be discussed with a healthcare provider before starting treatment. The most common over the counter stimulant is caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that can help improve focus and attention. It works by blocking adenosine receptors in the brain, preventing drowsiness.
Caffeine is found naturally in coffee, tea, and chocolate, and is also available in over the counter supplements. Caffeine targets the central nervous system. Thus, overuse of it can lead to restlessness and irritability.
Ritalin is a stimulant that works on the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine in the brain, causing an increase in clarity of thought and concentration. Ritalin has been approved for over the counter use by people over age 16.
Adderall is a more potent form of stimulant which contains both Ritalin and amphetamine salts. It is typically given only over a short period of time due to its addictive properties. Mixing Adderall with alcohol or other drugs should be avoided since it can cause overstimulation, anxiety, or even heart attack or stroke.
Dexedrine was first approved for use in children by the FDA in 1996 and has since been used to treat over 1 million Americans. It contains dextroamphetamine sulfate and is available in 5 mg and 10 mg tablets.
Another OTC stimulant is found in the herb guarana. Guarana contains twice the amount of caffeine as coffee beans and has been used for centuries to increase energy levels and promote weight loss.
A third over the counter stimulant is nicotine. Nicotine binds to nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the brain, increasing alertness and improving focus. It should be noted that nicotine is highly addictive.
What Is Adderall?
Adderall is a medication commonly prescribed to treat ADHD. It is the brand name of the combination drug amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Adderall contains two stimulants that work by increasing neurotransmitter activity in brain areas that control attention, motivation, and reward processing.
The side effects of Adderall can vary from person to person. These side effects are usually temporary and go away once the person stops taking the medication.
These over the counter drugs work by increasing the levels of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for mood, motivation, and focus. When these over the counter stimulants are abused, they can increase heart rate and blood pressure.
The risks associated with using Adderall to treat ADHD may include:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Fatigue or depression
However, there is always a risk for developing more serious side effects like heart problems, stroke, and seizures. As with any medication, it is important to speak with a doctor before starting or stopping treatment.
The benefits of using Adderall to help treat ADHD would include an increase in focus, concentration, and motivation. Adderall may also improve academic performance and participation in social activities.
What Are The Side Effects of Adderall Addiction?
Adderall addiction can present side effects of psychosis, paranoia, depression, and hallucinations. These symptoms are often due to overuse of the drug and usually go away after stopping use. But if these symptoms are experienced while taking Adderall, it is important to discontinue the medication immediately and seek medical attention.
Some of these side effects of Adderall use include:
- Stomach aches/pain
- Difficulty falling asleep at night
- Dry mouth
- Frequent urination
While most people experience side effects when using Adderall, these side effects may be different for everybody depending on a person’s body chemistry or personal health history. There are however some common side effects that can occur when taking Adderall that you may want to learn about.
You may not experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms when taking Aderall, but if you do, it is important to contact your doctor or pharmacist. There are alternative over the counter medications that act as stimulants that can be purchased without a prescription and will mimic some of the side effects of Adderall. But before taking these alternative over the counter medications, make sure to consult your doctor with any concerns that you may have.
What Are Some Natural Alternatives to Adderall for the Treatment of ADHD?
People who seek natural alternatives to Adderall for the treatment of ADHD often turn to over the counter stimulants. Over the counter stimulants for ADHD are legal and readily available products that can be purchased without a prescription.
The most popular over the counter stimulants for ADHD are caffeine and nicotine. Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and many soft drinks. Nicotine is found in cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco products.
Both caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that can help improve focus and attention. They work by increasing levels of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood, movement, and attention. It’s also important to note that both caffeine and nicotine are addictive substances.
If you’re considering using caffeine or nicotine to treat your ADHD symptoms, talk to your doctor first. There may be other, safer options.
Some natural alternatives to Adderall for the Treatment of ADHD include:
- Vitamin B12 or Folate
- American ginseng
- Gingko Biloba
- Omega-fatty acids
- Nootropics (brain supplements)
Sleep, exercise, and a balanced diet can help improve your quality of life and brain functioning, which can help with ADHD and addiction recovery from medications. Hydration is a key fundamental part of recovery as well.
Treatment For Adderall Addiction and ADHD
Addiction treatment for Adderall for ADHD involves an individualized addiction treatment plan that addresses a person’s unique factors and circumstances. For some individuals, treatment may include medications to help with cravings and withdrawal symptoms as well as behavior therapy over a period of time.
Although caffeine is linked with some health problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease, it does not have the same negative effects as alcohol or other drugs. It has been sold over the counter since 1965.
It’s important to note that people who are sensitive to caffeine should avoid products that contain it, including over the counter energy shots and caffeinated beverages like Red Bull and Monster Energy drinks.
For individuals with a severe addiction, over the counter medications are not enough to break the drug’s hold on a them. Thus, individuals with severe addictions may need medical supervision during an inpatient treatment program.
The first step in recovery from addiction to medication is detoxification, which allows the body to clear itself of over the counter medications over a period of about five days. During this time, withdrawal symptoms can be very uncomfortable, but are rarely life-threatening. These withdrawal symptoms generally subside once over the counter medications leave a person’s system completely.
Once over the counter medicine leaves a person’s system completely, long-term addiction therapy begins. Therapy can last up to six months or longer and involves several components: group therapy, individual counseling sessions, support groups, and self-help programs.
Outpatient treatment can be a good option for over the counter medicine addiction sufferers who need to continue working or taking care of their families. That’s because rehab patients can live at home while attending group therapy sessions over the course of several months to a year.
The first step is properly diagnosing over-the-counter medicine addiction. This involves providing background information that helps doctors determine over the counter medication history, evaluate current health conditions, and establish boundaries with over the counter medications.
When patients are ready for over the counter medicine rehab, they may be prescribed medicines like bupropion (brand name Wellbutrin). Bupropion is part of an antidepressant family but also works on dopamine receptors in the brain, which over the counter substances affect. Such medicines have been used to ease OTC medicine withdrawal symptoms.
Other over-the-counter substances might require medical intervention. For example, OTC dietary supplements may be overused and result in over-the-counter drug addiction. Also, abusing over the counter medication with sedatives like benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium) beyond the directions for use may require a person to need a medical intervention.
The most important part of over the counter medicine rehab is establishing boundaries with any OTC medications that one is taking. Details vary, but some over the counter stimulant withdrawal treatment options include tapering off dosage or cessation of OTC stimulants without replacement therapy for ADHD.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Dual diagnosis treatment can be a beneficial for people suffering from addiction to over the counter medication. This is because dual diagnosis treatment can help OTC medication addicts address any underlying mental health issues that they may struggling with that could be triggering their desire to abuse OTC medications in the first place.
After Care Treatment
Aftercare for substance use can vary in intensity and length. Typically though, people that suffer from addiction to OTC drugs will attend regular outpatient therapy sessions for several months. Over the counter stimulants for ADHD help people focus and stay on task.
However, these over-the-counter drugs can be addictive and lead to over-the-counter drug abuse if not taken as prescribed. Whether or not a person should attend aftercare treatment for addiction to over the counter stimulants depends on factors such as addiction severity and individual needs.
Holistic Addiction Treatment
Holistic addiction treatment serves as an approach to treat the “whole person”. This means that a person’s mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health are all considered when creating a his or her treatment plan. Holistic addiction therapy can incorporate mindfulness, yoga, acupuncture, nutrition therapy, art, and music therapy, among other forms of treatment.
Although the results of purely holistic addiction therapies are inconclusive, holistic addiction therapies paired with evidence-based treatment have indicated improved quality of care and treatment.
Improve Your Wellbeing By Receiving Treatment for Addiction to OTC Substances at Florida Center For Recovery
Using over the counter stimulants for ADHD is a good idea for some people. They can be less expensive and have fewer negative side effects than prescription medications. However, they have not been extensively studied, so their long-term effects are unknown. Additionally, over the counter stimulants for ADHD can be addictive.
Florida Center for Recovery seeks to help you understand the effects of over the counter stimulants for ADHD. We also hope to help treat any person that develops an addiction to OTC medications. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse, contact us today to achieve recovery and improve your health and wellbeing.
What is opium, you ask? Well, opium is a narcotic, or opioid derived from the poppy plant. Opium typically takes the appearance of black or brown tar-like powder. It may otherwise be found in solid or liquid forms. Opium users tend to smoke, inject, or ingest the substance in pill form. The effects of opium abuse can be seriously intense.
Opium is classified as a depressant drug, meaning it slows down the communication between the brain and body. The mentioned poppy plant holds pods that contain various chemicals. Some of the chemicals include codeine and morphine.
Opium is highly addictive as it shares similar qualities as methadone, fentanyl, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. Individuals who abuse substances like opium typically require specialized treatment as the drug causes major dependency and withdrawal issues.
Side Effects of Opium
There is a wide range of effects of opium. In some cases, opium use can slow breathing down so much that it can lead to unconsciousness and death. Other common effects of opium include confusion, constipation, and nausea. Opium is also known to dry out the mouth and mucous membranes.
There is no safe level of opium use. Using any substance presents health risks, at the very least. The effects of opium use, in particular, can vary depending on an individual’s:
- Weight and overall health
- Regularity of use
- Other drugs are taken simultaneously
- Amount taken
- Strength of the particular batch of opium
Short-term effects of opium often include:
- Lower heart rate
- Impaired reflexes
- Shallow breathing
- Loss of appetite
Long-term effects of opium often include:
- Increased tolerance – requiring more of the substance to achieve the desired effect
- Difficulty having children, irregular menstruation
- Loss of sex drive
Overdosing on Opium
Large amounts of opium can lead to overdose and even death. Since using opium causes an increase in tolerance, regular opium use can become highly dangerous. This is mainly because the dose of opium needed to then achieve the desired high can become even more toxic to the body. If you are experiencing or witnessing an opium overdose, it is vital to call an ambulance immediately.
Opium overdose symptoms include:
- Extremely slow breathing
- Tiny pupils
- Loss of consciousness
Untreated overdose on any substance can lead to detrimental brain damage and death in many cases.
After long-term opium use, emotional dependency occurs. In addition, and even potentially more difficult to overcome, physical dependency also takes place. The body adapts to opium consumption and can eventually become dependent on it. Therefore, stopping opium use can prove both emotionally and physically challenging.
Opium withdrawal symptoms typically take place between six and 24 hours following the last dose. These symptoms can last up to ten days in most cases. Opium withdrawal symptoms have been compared to those of the flu or similar illnesses. Withdrawal symptoms keep users in a cycle of using substances though because the body is constantly trying to avoid withdrawal.
Opium withdrawal symptoms include:
- Restlessness and irritability
- Restless sleep
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle cramping
- Fast heart rate
Heroin is derived from an alkaloid found in opium and can be up to three times more potent. This substance is an extremely addictive drug that exhibits euphoric and analgesic central nervous system properties.
The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 classified heroin as a Schedule I drug. Therefore, it has no acceptable medical use within the United States.
Heroin generally can be found as a white bitter powder. Users of heroin are constantly at the risk of overdose or death since it is almost impossible to know the strength or true contents of the drug.
Heroin can be smoked, snorted, orally ingested, or intravenously injected. Injecting heroin into one’s body produces the most intense rush. As a result, injecting heroin is the preferred method of use for most addicts.
Short-Term Effects of Heroin
- Flushed skin
- Dry mouth
- Clouded thinking
- Heavy arms and legs feeling
- Nausea and vomiting
- Nodding in and out of consciousness
Long-Term Effects of Heroin
- Damaged veins from injection
- Damaged nasal tissue from snorting
- Pus-filled tissue, abscesses
- Cramping and constipation
- Heart lining and valve injections
- Liver and kidney disease
- Pneumonia and other lung issues
- Mental issues, such as depression and other disorders
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Sexual dysfunction in men
Heroin and Opium Addiction Treatment
There is no cure for addiction. However, opium addiction treatment has helped many people recover and live healthy and fulfilling lives. At Florida Center for Recovery, we offer several treatments that have proven to be life-changing. We can help you determine which forms of treatment and programs will best fit your circumstances. The type of treatment generally depends on the individual though, the substance the individual is addicted to, and any other co-occurring medical conditions that he or she is suffering from.
We utilize both behavioral therapy and medical techniques to restore normalcy to the body and mind. Studies continually show that combining these two forms of treatment puts people in the best position to have successful, long-term recovery.
Detox is typically the first and most important step for anyone quitting substance use. When it comes to opium and heroin, detoxification is vital. Detox refers to the period in which the body and mind rid themselves of substance-related toxins. This step helps people prepare for inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation.
For individuals with severe addictions, we here at Florida Center for Recovery also offer a medication-assisted detoxification program. In this program, specialized medication can help dampen withdrawal symptoms so individuals can focus completely on their recovery instead of the difficulties of their symptoms. Medication can also help curb cravings, which can be beneficial through the withdrawal and treatment process.
Three types of medication are used in opium addiction treatment. These medications include:
- Agonists- This medication activates opioid receptors in the brain. One agonist used in treatment is called methadone. Methadone is used each day and is available through outpatient programs.
- Partial agonists- Similarly to agonists, partial agonists activate opioid receptors in the brain, but they cause a partial response. One partial agonist used in treatment is called buprenorphine. Buprenorphine helps reduce drug cravings without causing the side effects of an agonist.
- Antagonists – Antagonists block the receptor. This essentially prevents the reward and desirable effects of heroin. One antagonist used in treatment is called naltrexone.
Another aspect of opium addiction therapy is behavioral therapy. While taking care of the medical aspect of recovery, at Florida Center for Recovery, we understand the importance of also taking care of the emotional and psychological aspects of recovery.
Behavioral therapy is a vital component of both inpatient and outpatient treatment. Common behavioral therapies used in opium addiction therapy include the following:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy helps patients understand and adjust their behaviors and expectations when it comes to drug use and recovery. CBT focuses on developing skills for coping with stress. Consequently, stress is a major factor when it comes to relapse. Therefore, we ensure that our clients develop as many tools as possible to manage stress and fight off relapse.
Contingency Management (CM)
Contingency management uses a reward system to encourage clients to attend group meetings and more. Clients earn points from producing clean drug tests and other healthy behaviors. At Florida Center for Recovery (FCR), we offer points for healthy and productive activities like eating healthily and attending gym sessions.
Individual therapy refers to one-on-one sessions where the patient has private time with a licensed and experienced substance abuse therapist. During these sessions, clients are encouraged to work through trauma or other aspects of their lives that may lead to addictive or other unhealthy behaviors. Individual therapy is one of the most vital practices within addiction therapy.
Group therapy refers to group sessions with a licensed and experienced substance abuse therapist. These sessions can be beneficial as it creates a real-world environment where participants must interface and deal with triggers. Participants can also benefit from helping each other work through difficult topics and situations.
Relapse rates within addiction treatment are typically around 50%. Therefore, relapse does not mean failure. It simply means that you should adjust and reevaluate your treatment. That way your treatment is similar to other treatments of chronic diseases.
Recovery is Possible Through Florida Center for Recovery
Heroin and opium addiction are serious conditions. However, people can overcome such conditions and achieve recovery. If you or someone you love is dealing with substance addiction, understand that there is help right around the corner. Through our addiction treatment programs and therapies here at FCR, recovery is possible and so is a healthy lifestyle.
Opium addiction treatment at Florida Center for Recovery is provided by experienced and licensed addiction treatment professionals. We cater our treatment specifically to each client’s needs. If you would like more information about Florida Center for Recovery and our addiction treatment services, please give us a call today.