Alternatives to Ritalin
Common alternatives to Ritalin may include other ADHD medications and lifestyle changes. These changes generally consist of social, educational, and mental therapy, which are systems that can help the child learn to develop a routine and organization skills. Drug alternatives to Ritalin may include other stimulant medications, such as methamphetamine, dextroamphetamine, or other methylphenidate products. Non-stimulant ADHD medications may include atomoxetine, guanfacine ER, or certain off-label ADHD medicines.
An Introduction to Ritalin Alternatives
Ritalin® (methylphenidate hydrochloride) is a prescription medication used for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. The drug is part of a group of ADHD medications called stimulants. For most children, Ritalin is effective in treating their ADHD symptoms, and most children tolerate it well. However, as with all medicines, side effects can occur, or the medicine may not adequately control symptoms. Fortunately, several alternatives to Ritalin are available to treat ADHD.
Some of these alternatives include:
- Lifestyle changes, including various therapies
- Other stimulant ADHD medications
- Non-stimulant ADHD medications.
(Click Narcolepsy Treatment for information about alternatives to Ritalin for narcolepsy.)
Whether or not ADHD medications are used, several steps 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. 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 do his or her best at school. The 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. Several different types of therapy are used for ADHD, including:
- Behavioral therapies
- Social skills training
- Support groups
- Parenting skill training
- Behavioral interventions.
Sometimes, only the child with ADHD needs counseling support. In many cases, however, the entire family may need help, because the problem affects the family as a whole. If lifestyle changes alone are not effective in improving symptoms of ADHD, medications (such as Ritalin) may be necessary.
(Click Behavior Therapy for ADHD to learn more about the different types of ADHD therapy.)