Alternatives to Adderall
Regardless of whether ADHD medications are used, there are several steps that can be taken to help children with ADHD. Helping the child to develop a routine is often useful. Developing systems to keep the child organized (such as notebooks or binders for homework) can also be helpful.
Be sure to talk to your child's school about a 504 plan. A 504 plan (named after the law that requires public schools to accommodate children with disabilities) outlines the steps the school will take to help your child to do his or her best at school. The 504 plan also addresses how your child will receive medication at school.
Any behavioral change involves a well-balanced ADHD treatment plan, including social, educational, and mental therapy. There are several different types of therapy for ADHD, including:
- Behavior therapy
- Social skills training
- Support groups
- Parenting skill training
- Behavioral interventions.
Sometimes, only the child with ADHD needs counseling support. But in many cases -- because the problem affects the family as a whole -- the entire family may need help. If lifestyle changes alone are not effective in improving ADHD symptoms, medications, such as Adderall, may be necessary.
(Click Behavior Therapy for ADHD for more information about the different types of ADHD therapy.)
Stimulant Medications for ADHDAdderall is probably the best known stimulant medication for ADHD. However, there are many other choices in stimulant medications that may be considered Adderall alternatives. Stimulants are very effective, but they are also controlled substances and have the potential to be abused. As a result, there are strict rules concerning how stimulants are prescribed (see Adderall: A Controlled Substance for more information).
Many of the stimulant medications for ADHD contain similar ingredients, but differ in how long the medication lasts or how the medication is released (immediate release versus extended release). In addition to Adderall, other stimulant medication choices include:
- Desoxyn® (methamphetamine)
- Vyvanse™ (lisdexamfetamine)
- Dexedrine® (dextroamphetamine) and a longer-acting version, Dexedrine Spansules®
- Focalin® (dexmethylphenidate)
- Focalin XR® (dexmethylphenidate extended release), a long-acting version of Focalin
- Methylphenidate products, including:
- Ritalin®, the original short-acting version of methylphenidate
- Methylin®, which is short-acting like Ritalin, but comes in chewable tablets and a liquid form
Provigil® (modafinil) is a stimulant that is sometimes used off-label to treat ADHD (it is not approved for this use and has not been adequately studied in people with ADHD). Provigil may be less likely to be abused than other stimulants.