Treating ADD Without Drugs
How do we get from talking about alcoholism and getting sober to treatment for ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) that doesn’t involve stimulants? Fair question.
Sobriety and recovery are about more than just not drinking alcohol, though. Addiction can traverse many different substances, and it sinks into a person’s behavioral patterns.
When people get sober, it is common for them to question other substances in their lives that may not be serving them. Some individuals realize that sugar affects them too much and cut out processed sugars from their diets. Others might decide that coffee and other caffeine products aren’t for them. Many people in sobriety are against medications that can be addictive, even if the medications can have clinical benefits.
While Adderall and other medications used to treat Attention Deficit Disorder have proven to be helpful, the possible harm may be worse. Adderall is an amphetamine, with a close chemical structure to methamphetamine. It can be addictive, especially if taken outside the guidelines of a prescription. Additionally, Adderall is a neurotoxic substance.
Addiction & ADD
Addiction is closely tied to instant gratification, as the brain associates drinking or drugs with immediate “weeee!” It shouldn’t then be a surprise to know that people who suffer from addiction tend to seek out instant gratification, even in sobriety.
The reward system in the brain has been overpowered by the instant release of feel-good chemicals when you drink. Other addictive substances may be enacting a smaller version of this, and so you could become reliant on them in an unhealthy way. Also, enacting the instant gratification with a substance like Adderall could trigger cravings for alcohol, by engaging the same reward system.
Additionally, people in sobriety often want to feel freedom from any substance. After so much time being ruled by alcohol and when the next drink would be, any kind of dependence seems awful.
Of course, there are some conditions that require medication—some cases of ADD included. If there is a possible alternative, though, at least explore it.
ADD Symptoms Don’t = Neurological
ADD is considered a neurological disorder in the US. We diagnose it by assessing symptoms, but there are a number of things that are not neurological but may cause these symptoms. This means that you might not even have Attention Deficit Disorder in the classical sense. While medication may help alleviate the symptoms anyway, it maybe be possible to treat them via other methods.
Detriment in a person’s social environment or emotional health can cause symptoms of ADD. Food allergies and poor dietary habits can also cause them. For example, diets of mainly processed foods with high sugar and carbs is linked to more impulsive behavior. Some foods can cause inflammation, which affects blood circulation to the brain.
The specific population of people who have suffered from addiction are very susceptible to all of these different factors.
People isolate themselves in addiction and may struggle to develop a strong community for years after finding sobriety.
50% of alcoholics also suffer from major depressive disorder, and the majority of people with addiction suffer from some kind of co-occurring mental disorder. Trauma is also common among this population.
Finally, nutritional practices often suffer during addiction. While some do, many people in recovery still do not have an ideal diet or exercise regime.
There are numerous holistic treatments that could be totally effective in treating symptoms of ADD. If the most ideal option for your unique situation is still medication, then of course that is a respected treatment method. Someone in recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction and is wary of taking a drug like Adderall, though, may want to consider the alternatives.
Alternative Treatment for ADD
There are four main areas of health to address when treating ADD without medication: biological, psychological, social, and spiritual. Diet, sleep, and exercise routines can have very strong affects on your ability to concentrate. Seeing a therapist to work through unhelpful thought and behavioral patterns or work through traumas can also help.
Strengthening your family unit with family therapy might help also, or considering whatever other social structures you keep in your life. Your friends, family, and the dynamic you have at work with coworkers can all affect your attention.
Perhaps most importantly is your spirit. Improving the “spirit” is mostly to do with giving a meaning to your life. With purpose, passion, enthusiasm, and high spirits, you may be able to manage your ADD symptoms better.
Seeing a professional might help you in this. Consider getting in touch with a naturopathic doctor. They will consider your ADD symptoms in the context of your body and mind’s entire system, holistically. A naturopath can give suggestions on all four of these aspects of heath to guide you in treating your ADD, without medication.
Help With Addiction
If you are struggling in your sobriety, or you still need help getting into full sobriety, call (877)670-8451. The expert who answers the phone will listen to you with an open heart and resources to help you get through this.