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.