Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a chronic condition stemming from problems with brain development. It affects millions of children and adults across the US and almost always begins in early childhood and continues to cause problems well into adulthood for most. While it’s not a life-threatening condition, it can take its toll on a person’s ability to function normally.
The most common symptoms of ADHD are the lack of focus and concentration and the tendency to be very hyperactive. This might not sound like much to those who have never experienced it, but the symptoms can be overwhelming and don’t go anywhere or diminish over time.
ADHD that goes untreated can cause marital, relationship and friendship problems for many who have to live with it. The same kind of strain can cause stress at work and make even the simplest tasks seem daunting. Some of the good news is, the symptoms of ADHD can be treated with the help of various medical and psychological therapies.
Effective medical and psychiatric treatments
Well-balanced levels of chemicals produced by the brain lead to a balanced and clear state of mind. When chemicals in the brain, known as neurotransmitters, are out of balance, the result is always a troubled state of mind. There are many known neurotransmitters, including dopamine and serotonin.
Medications that are commonly prescribed for mental and psychological disorders are designed to manipulate the production of certain kinds of neurotransmitters in the brain, either reducing or increasing their production. A chemical imbalance in the brain is behind the most uncomfortable symptoms of most mental and psychological disorders.
There are a host of medications that are available for relieving the symptoms of ADHD. Individual cases of ADHD might or might not respond to these medications, but these are some of the most widely used pharmaceutical drugs:
- Adderall is often referred to as a combination medication because it contains four different types of amphetamines. This precise combination is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of ADHD. It increases the focus and attention of patients by increasing dopamine levels in the brain.
- Ritalin is one of the oldest medical treatments for symptoms of ADHD, having been used since the 1950s. It is a central nervous system stimulant that can ease symptoms as well as increase focus and attention.
- Focalin mildly stimulates the central nervous system by influencing the production of neurotransmitter activity in the brain. Its effect is very similar to the kind produced by Adderal, so it’s known as a good alternative.
- Modafinil has been used to treat extreme sleepiness caused by various sleep disorders. Although it’s not intended for the treatment of ADHD, it has helped many who live with it stay alert and calm at the same time. Modafinil and Armodafinil are two of the safest pharmaceuticals that have been proven to effectively treat ADHD.
The off-label use of Modafinil for cognitive enhancement has risen because of its usefulness as a reducer of ADHD symptoms. Although it has not been proven that Modafinil can make you smarter as well, it has been used by students for staying alert and focused while they study. Entrepreneurs use it to amp up productivity and work for hours on end. People generally prefer to buy Modafinil online, as it’s cheaper and requires less effort than going to the doctor.
In the US, an application to market modafinil for pediatric ADHD was submitted to the FDA, but approval was denied due to major concerns over the occurrence of Stevens-Johnson syndrome in clinical trials
It can take a combination of medication and cognitive therapy sessions to experience the most relief from ADHD if you choose to receive medical help for it. Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of counselling that involves talking a patient through the process of changing the way they think.
Changing the thought process can get rid of fears and anxieties because the production of key neurotransmitters in the brain are affected by the thoughts we think. Think about the last time you were happy and suddenly remembered a problem you had yet to reconcile. You probably immediately felt nervous and anxious, almost by magic.
You were feeling the overproduction of neurotransmitters in your brain released during fight or flight responses from your nervous system. This occurs naturally in situations of danger that require a high sense of alertness.
Natural treatments for ADHD
Along with medical and/or psychiatric treatments for ADHD, there are natural ways to treat ADHD symptoms. This is good news for people with ADHD who want to limit their dependence on medications and frequent visits to their doctors. These methods can be seen as lifestyle choices or changes that can help balance out your brain chemistry.
Exercise on a regular and intense level can have a positive and balancing effect on the levels of certain chemicals in your brain. For starters, it will increase dopamine levels in a time-release fashion, making positive clear-headedness last for hours after an exercise session.
Being extra careful about what you eat can be a valuable safeguard against worsening ADHD symptoms. Artificial sweeteners, colourings and other additives in packaged foods have been shown to adversely affect the nervous system. Taking special care of your daily eating habits can significantly reduce or keep symptoms from worsening.
James Wallace has been an advocate for mental health awareness for years. He holds a master’s degree in counselling from the University of Edinburgh.