An ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) medications list can be divided into 4 basic types:
- Stimulant medication, e.g. Ritalin, Adderall and Vyvanse.
- Non-stimulant medication, e.g. Strattera and Intuniv.
- Antidepressants, e.g. Wellbutrin and Tofranil.
- Natural ADHD treatments, e.g. Attend, Extress and Memorin.
Only the last group, the natural supplements are free from side effects and do not cause sleep or appetite problems.
ADHD non-stimulant medication is an inexact science. We still do not know for sure how these powerful drugs work in the brain and in the body. Doctors use a trial and error method to find the optimal dosage. This can never be accurately predicted. Prescribing information given to doctors state the following, regarding how these drugs work:
“The precise mechanism by which atomoxetine produces its therapeutic effects in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is unknown, but is thought to be related to selective inhibition of the pre-synaptic norepinephrine transporter, as determined in ex vivo uptake and neurotransmitter depletion studies.”
This example is taken from Eli Lilly’s Strattera Prescribing Information. It is similar to Intuniv, Wellbutrin, Tofranil, etc. under the headings “Pharmacodynamics,” or “Mechanism of Action.”
ADHD Non-Stimulant Medication: Pros and Cons
- They do help mask symptoms of inattention, or attention deficit, and hyperactivity for a few hours at a time for many patients, but not all.
- Children and adolescents with temper or anger problems, such as Opposition Defiance Disorder or Conduct Disorder do better on these drugs than on the stimulant drugs which make them more irritable and aggressive.
- If you are taking this and you do not have side effects and feel positive about taking them, then they might be just the answer for you.
- Most people who take these drugs do feel some side effects. Which side effects are felt depends on the drug’s interaction with your own metabolism.
- Because we have different biochemical profiles, it is impossible to know beforehand if these drugs will improve your condition and which, if any side effects you will experience.
- Long-term non-drug solutions are difficult to put in place if a person develops a psychological dependence to their prescribed drug.
- Strattera and Intuiv have not been on the market long enough for us to know the long-term effects.
Non-Stimulant ADHD Medication
|Active Ingredient||Product||Side Effects|
|Atomoxetine||Strattera||Sleep problemsAnxietyFatigueUpset stomachSuicidal thoughtsSevere liver injuryAnorexia and Weight LossStuffy noseHeadachesDizzinessSudden death and stroke|
|Guanfacine||Intuniv||SleepinessNausea and/or vomitingDizzinessWeight gainIrritabilityDecreased appetite fatigue and drowsinessStomach painHeart rhythm changesHeadaches|
|BupropionA norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor||Wellbutrin||SeizuresSleep problemsDrowzinessAgitation, nervousness and restlessnessWeight lossChanges in appetiteNausea or vomitingBlurred visionIrregular heart rhythmsRapid heart rateConfusionDizzinessIncreased sweatingTremorsConstipation|
Natural Remedies for ADHD
|ADHD Symptoms||Homeopathic Formulas||Treatment benefit|
|Inattentive ADDInattentiveShort attention spansEasily distracted easily boredDaydreamsOften mislays things bad short term memory difficulty staying on task||AttendMemorin|
Improved focus improved concentration promotes mental alertness keep attention improved short-term memory maintains healthy brain and cognitive function
|Hyperactive ADHDInattentionDisorganizationIs easily distractedRestless, cannot sit still very long, fidgetyHyperactive, energeticImpulsive, does not think before acting hyperactive talk a lot and can be loud as trouble waiting for a turn in line, or in games||AttendMemorinExtress|
Improved focus improve concentration promotes mental alertness keeps attention improved short-term memory maintains healthy brain and cognitive function reduces impulsivityCalms temper and aggressionCalms restlessness
|ADD with DepressionAttention deficit symptoms|
Together with: Dysthymia (chronic low-grade depression)Low self-esteem.Feelings of hopelessness and/or helplessness
Improved focus improved concentration promotes mental alertness keep attention maintains healthy brain and cognitive function promotes a balanced moodEases depressionEases feelings of nervousness
|Overfocused ADDInattentionDisorganizationIs easily started nervous, worried or anxiousRigid thinking, difficulty shifting attention to new activityFidgetyOften stuck in negative thoughts||AttendExtressDeprexEasyCalm (The leading anxiety relief and panic attack coaching program in a downloadable video series.)|
Improved focus improve concentration and can keep attention promotes mental alertnessMaintains healthy brain and cognitive function promotes a balanced moodEases anxiety and nervousnessEases feelings of irritabilityCalms restlessness
|Temporal Lobe ADHDVery easily irritated and frustratedbehaviorsBig mood swingsImpulsivityFrequently breaks rulesAggressive starts fight easily difficult getting along with other Santa-social and trouble stirringDefiant towards parents and authority often has terrible handwriting learning problems||AttendNeuranand behavior Program for aggressive teenagers|
Improved focus improved concentration promotes mental alertnessMaintains healthy brain and cognitive function promotes a balanced moodDecrease mental nervousness and uncontrolled agitation decreases impulsive or unpredictable thoughts helps slow comprehension and clears a foggy mind maintains healthy nerve function helps neural messages within the CNS (central nervous system)Eases feelings of nervousness
Natural homeopathic remedies do exist as viable alternatives to conventional stimulant and non-stimulant antidepressant-type medications. They vary in formulations, but are natural products and so have no side effects.
A person with ADHD symptoms generally has a different metabolism than the average person. We are all different without having disorders. Many studies show the positive benefits in treating attention deficit disorder symptoms with supplements, mainly omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and B vitamins. Some people are naturally slim while others are naturally stouter. A metabolism requiring more nutrients more frequently is not a disorder. If taking supplements eases the symptoms, that shows that those nutrients are needed.
These non-stimulant drugs take at least a week before any effect is felt, and between one and two months before feeling the full effect. Natural supplements are similar, products like Attend, Memory, Express, and omega-3 fatty acids take 4 to 6 weeks before the full effect is felt. It is worth the wait because the body’s biochemical balance is being restored.
Of the various formulations, the one with the most value for your money is also the one with the most all-around ADHD-specific formulation. this is Attend for inattentive type attention deficit disorder symptoms. This supplement formula is as efficient in treating attention deficit as the best stimulant and non-stimulant medication but without side effects or risk of overdose.
Two other homeopathic treatments for ADHD supplements that fit well with Attend are:
- Memorin which helps build the short-term memory which is the cause of the scatterbrained effect often accompanying ADHD and
- Extress which calms the hyperactivity.
While stimulant medication helps the ADHD child to focus and sit calmly, there is an element of becoming compliant. The supplements Attend, Memory and Express do the same for focus and calming hyperactivity, but without taking the edge off the child’s vitality. Medications have their place and are helpful for many people, however, I would always give a child a natural product before trying any prescription medications.
As a chemist and an adult with ADHD and having spent a lifetime without drugs, my advice is to try Attend, Memory, Stress, an ADHD diet, and a regular exercise program as the first options. If there are serious behavioral problems, not hyperactivity, but with rebellion and/or aggression, I would try the following:
- Talking to Toddlers an excellent empathic guide for parents with toddler troubles.
- Behavior problems in children from 2 to 12 years old.
- Teenagers with serious oppositional and defiant behavior.
With aggression, stimulant medication, such as Adderall, Concerta, and Ritalin make the condition worse. Here non-stimulant medication and natural ADHD remedies or homeopathic treatment for ADHD together with behavioral interventions are the way to go.