Non-Stimulant Treatments for ADHD

Ritalin and Adderall are many people’s first experience with potentially addictive prescription medications. While doctors commonly prescribe these drugs to help ADHD patients focus and achieve mental clarity, they are stimulants, which makes them Schedule 2 drugs – the same category as cocaine and opioids.

Once you are in recovery from a substance use disorder, you’ll want to avoid taking Ritalin, Adderall or any other risky medications that might threaten your sobriety. However, if you have ADHD and need help managing your symptoms, you might worry about how to do so in a way that doesn’t jeopardize your health. What are some non-stimulant treatments for ADHD?

Non-Stimulant ADHD Medications

According to WebMD, non-stimulant treatments for ADHD can include antidepressants, FDA-approved drugs and blood pressure medications with the same active ingredient as ADHD drugs. In addition to carrying less risk of drug dependency or addiction, these medicines don’t come with side effects such as agitation or sleep disruptions.

Taking these medications might require a trial-and-error period for you and your doctor to find the correct dosage to control your ADHD with minimal side effects. Your prescribing physician may recommend starting with a lower dose and gradually increasing it until you feel your symptoms are under control.

Natural Remedies for ADHD

Some people find medication is valuable for helping them treat their core ADHD symptoms, but drugs aren’t the only option available for people who are worried about the potential side effects of medications like Ritalin. You may be able to change your diet, exercise routine or lifestyle to control your ADHD. As a bonus, these solutions can also support your sobriety.

1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CBT is a form of psychotherapy that helps change irrational or unhelpful thought patterns. People who have trouble staying on task due to intrusive ideas can benefit from having a therapist teach them to examine the truth of those thoughts and have a more positive outlook.

2. Dietary Changes

A balanced diet rich in various nutrients can be a powerful non-stimulant treatment for ADHD. For example, some research suggests that protein can make you more alert and give you a mental boost. Protein also prevents blood sugar spikes that may increase hyperactivity. Specific foods can naturally improve your mood and enhance your energy, including omega-3 fatty acids, dark chocolate, whole grains and fresh berries.

3. Mindfulness Meditation

If your ADHD causes you to have trouble focusing on tasks, developing a practice of mindfulness can help you retrain your brain, manage stress and be more aware of the world around you. Meditating for only 20 minutes each day can have remarkable benefits for your mental clarity and concentration.

4. Exercise

Exercise brings a vast array of advantages for your physical and mental health, making it one of the best non-stimulant treatments for ADHD. After you exercise, your brain releases endorphins, which create the characteristic “runner’s high.” Exercise also elevates dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin levels, which can improve focus and attention. If you haven’t been physically active, start with small, simple activities like taking walks around the block and gradually increase as your fitness level improves.

Making Structured Living Part of Your Aftercare Plan

If you are newly sober and trying to avoid anything that might sabotage your progress, contact us at Segue Recovery Support to learn more about our services. We provide high-accountability sober housing that will help you transition between an inpatient treatment program and a return to the “real world.”