Here's what you should know about common ADHD medications, possible side effects and potential treatment options such as text-to-speech technology.
Are you taking any ADHD medication at the moment? Are there any viable alternatives that can help you? Here are some things you need to know about common ADHD medications, possible side effects and potential treatment options.
This can help you achieve important goals such as better healthcare and alternative ways to manage your well-being. Keep in mind you should always consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication or health-care decisions.
What is Adderall, Focalin, and Ritalin?
Adderall, Focalin, Ritalin, Vyvanse and many other medications are frequently used by people who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Although these medications can contribute to similar health outcomes, they have different formulations.
For example, Adderall (or Adderall XR) and Dexedrine are trade names for a combination drug that includes mixed amphetamine salts. There are also differences in how the medications work. There are often options including immediate-release (IR), extended-release (ER or XR), short-acting and long-acting, depending on what your doctor recommends.
Focalin and Focalin XR use dexmethylphenidate, and Ritalin, Ritalin LA (or long-acting), Daytrana, Metadate CD, and Concerta have a methylphenidate base. Ritalin can also treat narcolepsy, but to a lesser extent than its other use cases.
All three brand names are common in the U.S. They are authorized by the Food and Drug Administration – in other words, FDA-approved – and they are routinely prescribed. Additionally, they are controlled substances because they can include meds such as Adzenys XR, which is an amphetamine.
Usually, ADHD medication targets dopamine and norepinephrine. It restores the balance of neurotransmitters. Stimulant drugs (often spansules) and, in rare cases, antidepressants can also be prescribed depending on your doctor’s recommendation.
Common side effects of using ADHD medicines
ADHD medication can cause side effects. This is a primary reason many people are interested in alternatives for ADHD treatment. Side effects vary depending on the type of medication you use.
In many cases, side effects appear when a person starts using the medication or increases their dosage. These can include sleep problems, loss of appetite, moodiness, impulsivity, headaches, increased heart rate, dry mouth and others.
Some people report having long-term effects as a result of ADHD medication. These can include heart disease, irregular heartbeat, seizure (with atomoxetine or Strattera), high blood pressure, skin discoloration, mental health problems, weight loss and more.
Your doctor should determine whether the benefits of any medicine outweigh potential side effects.
Nonmedicated alternatives to ADHD medicines that can improve focus and productivity
Although medication prescribed by a doctor helps many ADHD patients, there are additional ways to pursue treatment of ADHD. It’s encouraging to know there are multiple ways to deal with the symptoms of ADHD.
Some of those strategies are listed here. Each person is different, so some of these might work better for you than others. Perhaps these approaches can help reduce or even eliminate potential side effects and problems resulting from medication or supplements.
1. Using text to speech applications
For people with ADHD who choose to read, it can be easier to focus on the act of reading rather than on the message behind the words.
Because Speechify provides a free plan, there are zero barriers to checking it out. The app works on any type of text. You might notice it makes everything a bit simpler.
2. Distraction-free zones
Having a distraction-free zone in your workplace (or home) can make a world of difference. For people who struggle to concentrate, anything can be a distraction. Although these distraction-free zones might seem sterile to some, they are quite effective.
You won’t spend a lot of time shuffling channels on your TV if you don’t have one in your office. It’s great if your workspace had good sound isolation as well, since noise can disrupt your workflow.
It all comes down to personal preference. As you spot distractions, you can work to remove them.
3. Create fun routines
Routines can be dull. At the same time, having a routine means having a plan. This can be quite helpful for your concentration because it enables you to maximize productivity.
Even an hour of focus can be multiples better than a half-day of wasted energy. As you notice what helps you focus, include those things in your everyday routine. It might take you a couple of tries, but you will get there.
4. Do one thing at a time
Trying to multitask only causes problems. Focus on several things at once and your attention will spread too much. As a result, you won’t be able to finish anything.
Make it a habit to do one thing at a time. Once you finish your first task, you can proceed to the next.
5. Use fidgets
For many people, handheld fidgets can improve concentration. You can use anything for this, whether it is a small toy, an anti-stress ball, or even pen and paper. These toys are quite affordable.
Tools that help you improve concentration pay dividends every step of the way. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Use Speechify to help improve your overall focus and productivity
It’s easy to get exhausted reviewing countless business emails at work. If you have ADHD, the task can be even tougher. Using Speechify can allow you to relax, listen to emails and focus on the AI voice.
The app works on webpages, emails, PDFs, OpenDocument Text files (ODT) and anything else you can imagine. You can even use it on physical texts, as well. Just take a photo of the text, and the app will do the rest.
How do you stop the side effects of Focalin?
The simplest way to stop the side effects of Focalin is to stop using the medicine. Of course, this isn’t something you should decide on your own. Always consult your doctors to learn about the safest way to avoid the side effects of medication. Never change your prescription without the input of your doctor.
Can you take Focalin and Ritalin together?
Some people report that mixing stimulant medication and non-stimulant medications (such as clonidine and guanfacine or Intuniv) can be beneficial and might reduce side effects. Never mix medications unless you have explicit permission from your doctor to do so.
How do you get rid of ADHD tics?
For some kids and adolescents, tics disappear on their own. For others, meds can worsen the condition and make tics more noticeable. Talk to your doctor to learn about ways to avoid tics and improve your well-being.