Adderall and Ritalin are two of the most widely prescribed medications for treating attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Both of these medications are potentially addictive stimulants. Suppose you’re looking to avoid stimulant abuse, which may end in stimulant addiction and require treatment. In that case, you may also wonder if there are any non-addictive alternatives to drugs like Adderall and Ritalin. The answer is yes—although these alternatives do not work the same as addictive stimulants.
The Right Step can help you or your loved one find healing and hope from addiction to drugs like Adderall and Ritalin. Contact us today at 17135283709 to learn more about our evidence-based approach at our prescription drug addiction treatment center and how we can help you on the road to recovery.
What You Need to Know About Adderall and Ritalin
Adderall and Ritalin are both branded stimulant medications. Stimulants are helpful in the treatment of ADHD because they can change the levels of two neurotransmitters in the brain:
- Dopamine – A chemical that helps with focus, motivation, and pleasure
- Norepinephrine – A chemical that helps with focus, alertness, and blood pressure
These two chemicals are often imbalanced in people with ADHD, which can lead to the symptoms of ADHD. By increasing the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, stimulants can help to reduce the symptoms of ADHD, improving focus and attention.
What Is Adderall?
Adderall is a prescription medication that contains two powerful stimulant drugs:
In fact, the generic name for Adderall is amphetamine-dextroamphetamine, and it’s also available as a generic drug. These stimulants increase the activity of certain chemical messengers in the brain, leading to improved focus and concentration. Adderall is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which means it has a high potential for abuse and may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.
Adderall is often prescribed to treat ADHD, although it is also sometimes used to treat narcolepsy. It is important to note that Adderall has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating ADHD in children under six.
What Is Ritalin?
Ritalin is a prescription medication that contains the stimulant drug methylphenidate as its active ingredient. Like Adderall, Ritalin works by increasing the activity of certain chemical messengers in the brain and is used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. Ritalin is also classified as a Schedule II controlled substance by the DEA.
Ritalin is available in both immediate-release and extended-release formulations. The extended-release formulation, known as Ritalin LA, is designed to be taken once daily, while the immediate-release formulation must be taken twice daily.
Non-Addictive Alternatives to Adderall and Ritalin
There are several non-stimulant, non-addictive alternatives to drugs like Adderall and Ritalin. Doctors sometimes prescribe non-addictive medications not explicitly intended or approved to treat ADHD. The common term for this method of medication prescription is “off-label” use. Some common Adderall alternatives include the following.
Strattera was the first non-stimulant to receive approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an ADHD treatment. It is also the first FDA-approved treatment for the disorder intended for use in adults—although doctors can and do prescribe it for children and teens, as well. Like stimulant ADHD drugs, atomoxetine boosts the brain’s levels of norepinephrine. However, it does not boost levels of dopamine.
It’s not just an Adderall alternative. Bupropion is an antidepressant that also works as a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. It is sometimes used “off-label” to treat ADHD in children and adults who cannot tolerate or have not responded well to other medications.
The FDA approves clonidine for treating high blood pressure, but it is commonly used “off-label” to treat ADHD. It works by slowing down the central nervous system. It’s also thought to help manage ADHD symptoms such as impulsivity, hyperactivity, and attention issues.
Guanfacine is another blood pressure medication commonly used “off-label” as an ADHD treatment. Both clonidine and guanfacine are available in extended-release formulations. These formulations are designed to be taken once daily.
Lofexidine is a tricyclic antidepressant commonly used “off-label” to treat ADHD. It decreases the activity of certain chemical messengers in the brain, leading to improved focus and concentration.
Unlike other alternatives to Adderall, modafinil is a wakefulness-promoting medication that is sometimes used “off-label” to treat ADHD. Unlike Lofexidine, it increases the activity of certain chemical messengers in the brain, also leading to improved focus and concentration.
Learn More About Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment at The Right Step
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