Updated on August 23,2019
10 Natural Adderall Alternatives – Adderall is a prescription intended for the treatment of 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.
When prescribed by a doctor and used as directed, Adderall and similar medications can be very effective at reducing the symptoms of ADHD. However, these drugs have also been associated with significant health risks. Adderall contains amphetamines, which have the potential to cause addiction. It may also be harmful to the nervous system when used long-term.
How Adderall Works
Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant that boosts several neurotransmitters in the brain to abnormally high concentrations. The affected neurotransmitters include dopamine, epinephrine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. The sudden rush of these rewarding chemicals can increase alertness, energy, and motivation.
Unfortunately, this constant flood of good feelings often results in a person seeking more. Tolerance can develop, and 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, so some Adderall alternatives may be a better option.
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.
10 Best Adderall Alternatives
1. Alpha GPC
One of the best Adderall alternatives is known as alpha GPC (choline alfoscerate), a choline supplement. 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 has been shown to be a good natural substitute for Adderall. Like its prescription cousins, Bacopa interacts well with serotonin and dopamine in the body. This positive interaction on vital neurotransmitters helps to improve alertness and energy levels.
Bacopa monnieri works by enhancing neuron communication through the growth and support of nerve endings in the brain. For this reason, Bacopa supplements can enhance memory formation and cognition. Research has shown that it can regulate mood and improve attention span in users.
Studies have revealed that caffeine can improve focus and concentration. Therefore, it may also serve as a natural Adderall alternative. Caffeine is a stimulant that boosts the production of dopamine in the brain. It is also a vasoconstrictor, meaning that it constricts blood vessels in hyperactive areas of the brain, similar to Adderall. This effect fosters stable communication throughout the brain.
Of note, because of caffeine’s stimulating properties, it should not be consumed within six hours of bedtime to reduce the risk of insomnia.
4. Ginkgo biloba
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 important, this herb will maintain acetylcholine, norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin levels. This effect improves attention span and helps subdue impulsiveness.
A randomized study linked Ginkgo supplementation to a notable reduction in ADHD-related symptoms. The results of the study reveal that Ginkgo biloba is an effective natural Adderall alternative.
5. Huperzine A
Huperzine A is an herbal supplement used in Chinese medicine to improve cognitive function in both 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.
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.
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.
Phosphatidylserine improves brain health by providing support to cell membranes. This supplement is a vital phospholipid in the body, helping to form and recall memories. There is abundant evidence that demonstrates the effects of phosphatidylserine on cognitive functioning. In fact, it helps to prevent mood disorders and reduces feelings of anxiety and depression.
Not only is this remedy beneficial for overall brain health, but it’s also a safe and effective Adderall alternative. A study in children with ADHD supplemented with phosphatidylserine revealed significant improvements in impulsivity and auditory memory. More studies have linked phosphatidylserine supplementation to improvements in mental processing and accuracy.
9. Rhodiola rosea
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. Rhodiola rosea is used in traditional medicine as a treatment for fatigue and cognitive impairment.
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.
5-HTP is a chemical the body uses to create the “feel-good” neurotransmitter, serotonin. Much like prescription ADHD medications, 5-HTP positively affects serotonin in the brain. This action then results in an anti-depressant effect and improvement in mood. When levels of serotonin increase, the person experiences feelings of happiness and a sense of well-being. Thus, increasing 5-HTP strengthens focus and concentration and enhances creativity.
Some have suggested taking L-Tryptophan as a treatment for ADHD instead of 5-HTP. L-Tryptophan is a chemical the body uses to create to 5-HTP.
However, because L-Tryptophan can be converted into niacin or redirected for use in protein development, 5-HTP is likely the better choice for treating symptoms related to ADHD.
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!