ADHD is a condition that interferes with people’s concentration, focus, planning abilities and executive function. If you have ADHD, your brain’s dopamine system is dysregulated, meaning it releases too little dopamine or doesn’t use this neurotransmitter efficiently enough. Prescription stimulants like Concerta can help you manage your ADHD because they increase dopamine production and keep it in the synapses longer. However, Concerta has some risks that may make you search for natural alternatives.
How Does Concerta Work?
Concerta and Ritalin have the same primary ingredient, called methylphenidate. The difference is that Concerta has longer-lasting effects, thanks to its controlled-release delivery system that gives people a consistent dosage of the drug. Concerta can be helpful for ADHD patients who worry that they might forget to take their medication more than once every day.
Concerta is available in tablets of strengths ranging from 18 to 54 milligrams. Health professionals usually start with the lowest dosage and increase it only as necessary.
Potential Risks of Prescription Stimulants
When you rely on a drug like Concerta to control your ADHD symptoms, it’s possible to become physically or psychologically dependent on it. The DEA has placed methylphenidate on Schedule II, which is the same category as cocaine and opioids. That means stimulants have a high potential for abuse, even if you take your medication under a doctor’s supervision and always follow the instructions that came with the prescription.
When you become addicted to a stimulant like Concerta, you will eventually experience withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop taking it, including mood changes, fatigue, paranoia, body aches and drug cravings. As your tolerance builds, you may wish to take higher doses or experiment with a different way of taking the drug to get stronger, more immediate effects.
Natural ADHD Remedies
While medication is one way to manage your ADHD symptoms, stimulant drugs aren’t the only solution available if you are worried about the potential side effects of medications like Concerta. For instance, you may find success in controlling your ADHD by working with a therapist or making specific lifestyle changes.
1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
CBT is a form of talk therapy that helps change irrational or negative thought patterns. People who struggle to stay on task due to impulsive, intrusive ideas can benefit from working with a therapist.
Some dietary supplements, like magnesium and zinc, can be a powerful non-stimulant treatment for ADHD. Talk with your doctor before making any significant changes to your diet. They can order a blood test to screen you for any nutritional deficiencies.
3. Mindfulness Meditation
If your ADHD causes you to have trouble focusing, developing a practice of mindfulness can help you manage stress and live in the moment. Even if you only meditate for 20 minutes a day, you can improve your mental clarity and concentration.
Exercise brings a vast array of advantages for your physical and mental health, making it one of the best natural alternatives to Concerta. After you exercise, your brain releases mood-boosting chemicals that can improve your ability to pay attention to the task at hand.
How to End Your Dependence on Prescription Stimulants
It can be challenging to stop using Concerta by yourself if you experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Seeking help at an accredited treatment center is the first step to getting your life back on a healthy path. At Vista Taos, our continuum of care starts with medically supervised detox and includes a full range of holistic services to help you recover physically, mentally and emotionally. Contact us today to start your journey to wellness.