10 Natural Adderall Alternatives

Updated on August 23,2019

9 Alternatives to Adderall for ADHD

ADHD only affects between 3% to 6% of the adult population in the US. Adderall is a prescription drug used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). 

However, in recent years, it’s also become increasingly abused as a study aid and to keep people alert and motivated for long periods. In 2018, just under 5 million adults misused prescription stimulant medications such as Adderall. 

Adderall and other central nervous system stimulants can be very effective at reducing the symptoms of ADHD, but these drugs have also been associated with significant health risks. 

Adderall contains amphetamines, which have the potential to cause addiction. Long-term use of stimulants can also damage the nervous system. Which is why it’s a good idea to consider natural alternatives to this medication. 


How Adderall Works

Adderall (dextroamphetamine-amphetamine) is a CNS stimulant that boosts several neurotransmitters in the brain to abnormally high concentrations. 

These neurotransmitters include:

  • Dopamine
  • Epinephrine
  • Serotonin
  • Norepinephrine

The sudden rush of these rewarding chemicals can increase alertness, energy, and motivation.

Unfortunately, this sense of euphoria can lead to drug-seeking behavior. Additionally, prolonged use of Adderall can lead to an increase in tolerance. Then, the person then needs to use more of the drug to experience the same effects. Dependence and addiction may be next. Excessive Adderall use can be harmful to the central nervous system and cause impairments and permanent damage. 

That’s why natural Adderall alternatives are a better option for some people.


Natural Adderall Alternatives

ADHD can be challenging to manage. Those who suffer may experience impulsivity, inattentiveness, and a general sense of inefficiency. They may also have problems learning and socializing with others. 

Fortunately, for those who do not want to face the risks associated with prescription drugs, there are several safe, over-the-counter (OTC) Adderall alternatives that can help to manage symptoms.

  • Alpha GPC
  • Bacopa monnieri
  • L-Theanine
  • L-Tyrosine
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Huperzine A
  • Phosphatidylserine
  • Rhodiola Rosea

9 Best Adderall Alternatives

1. Alpha GPC

One of the best Adderall alternatives is alpha GPC (choline alfoscerate).  Alpha GPC acts on the brain by increasing levels of available acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter is essential for attention and learning. A 2011 study found that children with ADHD had 50% less of this protein.

For this reason, Alpha GPC could be used as a safe and effective Adderall alternative for improving focus and concentration.


2. Bacopa monnieri

Bacopa monnieri has traditionally been used as a medicinal herb and is a good natural substitute for Adderall. Like its prescription cousins, Bacopa interacts well with serotonin and dopamine in the body. This positive interaction with vital neurotransmitters helps to improve alertness and energy levels.

Bacopa monnieri enhances neuron communication through the brain’s growth and support of nerve endings. Research has shown that it can regulate mood and improve attention span in users. For this reason, Bacopa supplements can enhance memory formation and cognition.


3. L-Theanine

L-Theanine is a non-essential amino acid with many health benefits. This safe and natural Adderall alternative can relieve stress and anxiety by increasing levels of GABA and glycine. GABA and glycine are inhibitory neurotransmitters that work to reduce activity in the brain. 

This effect induces feelings of relaxation and calmness in a user. By helping the brain achieve balance, L-Theanine can effectively reduce ADHD-related symptoms.

Studies have supported the use of L-Theanine as one of the best over-the-counter replacements for Adderall. In those diagnosed with ADHD, researchers found a notable reduction in mild cognitive impairment while supplementing with L-Theanine.


4. Ginkgo biloba
Adderall Alternatives | Harmony Recovery Center | North Carolina

Ginkgo biloba is among the most widely used herbs for brain health. It has also shown promise as a natural treatment for ADHD in children. Ginkgo works by protecting the balance of vital neurotransmitters in the brain. 

Most importantly, this herb will maintain acetylcholine, norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin levels. This effect improves attention span and helps subdue impulsiveness.


5. L-Tyrosine

L-Tyrosine is an amino acid used in the production of dopamine and noradrenaline. This supplement is known for its ability to improve mental cognition during acute stress

Research has shown that Tyrosine may also improve memory and relieve feelings of anxiety. This mood-stabilizing effect makes L-Tyrosine a potentially useful natural remedy for ADHD.

One study linked the supplementation of L-Tyrosine and 5-HTP to significant reductions in ADHD-related symptoms in children. Of note, L-Tyrosine is less effective for ADHD and improves cognitive function in non-stress situations.


6. Huperzine A

Huperzine A is an herbal supplement used in Chinese medicine to improve cognitive function in children and adults. Similarly to Alpha GPC, Huperzine A helps the brain by indirectly increasing levels of acetylcholine.

This herbal Adderall alternative is safe to use for the treatment of ADHD. Also, it has a synergistic effect and is even more effective for boosting cognitive function when used with Alpha GPC.


7. L-Tyrosine

L-Tyrosine is an amino acid used in the production of dopamine and noradrenaline. This supplement is known for its ability to improve mental cognition during acute stress. Research has shown that Tyrosine may also improve memory and relieve feelings of anxiety. This mood-stabilizing effect makes L-Tyrosine a potentially useful natural remedy for ADHD.

One study linked the supplementation of L-Tyrosine and 5-HTP to significant reductions in ADHD-related symptoms in children. Of note, L-Tyrosine is less effective for ADHD and improving cognitive function in non-stress situations.


8. Phosphatidylserine

Phosphatidylserine strengthens cell membranes and improves brain health. This supplement acts as a vital memory aid. Research suggests that it improves overall cognitive functioning. It helps reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.

This remedy is also a safe and effective Adderall alternative. A study of children with ADHD who took phosphatidylserine showed improvements in impulse control and memory. More studies have linked phosphatidylserine to improvements in mental processing and accuracy.


9. Rhodiola rosea
Adderall Alternatives | Harmony Recovery Center | North Carolina

Rhodiola Rosea is an herb native to Arctic regions with stimulatory properties comparable to Adderall. Fortunately, this herb does not have the side effects of amphetamine-based ADHD medications.

Research has revealed a connection between Rhodiola Rosea and improvements in memory and mood. This improvement occurs because this herb assists with the regulation of serotonin and dopamine. 

An increase in energy levels, mental processing, and cognitive function are also among its reported health benefits.


Treatment for Adderall Addiction

If you are struggling with an addiction to Adderall or other drugs, you are urged to seek professional treatment as soon as possible. Harmony Recovery Center offers comprehensive programs that include behavioral therapy, counseling, group support, and more.

We are committed to providing clients with the tools and support they need to recover and enjoy long-term sobriety and wellness! Contact us today—we can help!

Sources: 

National Library of Medicine – Non-Pharmacological Treatments for ADHD in Youth

University of Texas at Austin – Best Adderall Alternatives – Strongest Stimulants and Energy Pills for Focus

We are committed to providing clients with the tools and support they need to recover and enjoy long-term sobriety and wellness! Contact us today—we can help!


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8 thoughts on “9 Natural Adderall Alternatives”

  1. Robert Vaccato

    You might not want to take them all at once. Sometimes things counter act each other. My suggestion is buy them individually and work on a dosage yourself. No one else has your body chemistry anyway.

  2. Looking for a doctor to give me proper dosage for my 2 boys. Would love to help them try this and see if this helps. Thanks

  3. Wayne ……December 16, 2022,…….My daughter is a 2nd year law student. Some of her study group friends use adderall prescriptions to get extra time on tests(including bar exams). She is not currently on any adderall prescription , but is being tempted to use the drug because of it’s benefits . My advice to her is to resist that temptation and maintain her purity. What do you say?….

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