OTC Adderall Alternatives: Are They Safe and Effective?

OTC pills and bottle

Many people are searching for ways to improve their energy levels, mental focus, and attention to perform better at work or school. If you’re currently taking Adderall, you are likely aware of its risks and side effects and you may be looking for a natural alternative.

If you’re searching for over-the-counter Adderall, you may be disappointed to find that it does not exist. However, several OTC Adderall alternatives may provide the desired effects you seek. Before taking any over-the-counter substance or supplement, it’s important to recognize that any natural alternative to Adderall will have side effects and risks. Therefore, we do not recommend taking any supplement or herbal product before talking with a doctor about it.

With that in mind, here are some natural alternatives to Adderall that may improve your energy levels and your ability to study and focus.

OTC Adderall Alternatives

  • Nootropics: Nootropics are also known as “cognitive enhancers” or “smart drugs.” They can be dietary supplements, synthetic compounds, or prescription drugs.1 Some common nootropics that are marketed as OTC Adderall alternatives include:
    • AdderRx
    • Addrena
    • ADDTabz
    • Alpha Brain
    • Aniracetam
    • Noopept
    • Qualia Mind

Overall, health experts disagree on whether healthy people should be taking nootropics for cognitive enhancement and these substances are not regulated by the FDA. Many experts say nootropics are not proven to be effective or safe. Although some of them may have a positive effect on cognitive performance, research studies warn that they can also have negative and potentially life-threatening side effects like blood pressure fluctuations, kidney problems, increased heart rate, stomach upset, or possible psychosis. Certain individuals may also be more prone to experiencing these negative side effects.2,3

  • Vitamin supplements: Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can sometimes contribute to cognitive impairments and lack of energy. Research from the journal Integrative Medicine Insights provides evidence that vitamin supplements can be an effective way to enhance mental functioning, increase energy, and regulate mood.4 In particular, Zinc, B vitamins like B12 and folate, as well as essential fatty acids like omega-3 may be some of the best natural alternatives to Adderall. You should always work with a doctor to supplement with vitamins. He or she can help you determine a safe and effective combination of vitamins and avoid negative interactions with other supplements or medications you are currently taking.
  • Herbal products: Some herbal products also claim to be the closest thing to Adderall over-the-counter. Popular ones include peppermint oil, rosemary, Ginkgo biloba extract, Maidenhair tree extract, American ginseng, Arctic root, and French pine bark extract (pycnogenol), although there are many more.5,6 While these herbal remedies work in different ways within the brain and body, researchers have found evidence that they improve cognitive ability with relatively few side effects. These herbal remedies are generally safe to use in moderation, but you should always talk to a doctor first.
  • Energy supplements: Energy pills that work like Adderall or boosters like coffee, soda, energy drinks, and caffeine pills are all examples of OTC Adderall alternatives that are very easy to find, but they are not always healthy. Other supplements that are known to enhance energy include coenzyme Q10 (a natural antioxidant produced by the body and found in meat, fish and whole grains) and guarana, which comes from a highly-caffeinated Amazonian rainforest vine.7,8

Although energy supplements are often effective, their short-term benefits are outweighed by serious health risks. The journals Frontiers in Public Health and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) cite specific health risks like kidney damage, increased blood pressure, mental health and behavioral issues, heart problems, anxiety, dehydration, difficulty sleeping, and digestive problems.9,10

Are Natural Alternatives to Adderall Effective?

Some natural alternatives to Adderall may be effective, but most of the options listed above come with significant risks that may not outweigh the benefits. If you are looking for a natural alternative to Adderall, the safest course of action is to talk with your doctor about other safe holistic or prescription options.

Is there a Non-Prescription Adderall?

No. Since Adderall is a prescription amphetamine drug and a federally controlled substance in the U.S., you will need a valid prescription to legally buy it.

Is Adderall Legal?

Adderall is only legal in the U.S. if you have a valid prescription for it. Without a prescription, it is illegal to buy Adderall in America, whether you purchase it online, through a doctor, or from a dealer.

Is Adderall Addictive?

Yes, Adderall is a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning it has a high potential for abuse, dependence, and addiction. Adderall should not be used without a prescription, recreationally, or for other non-medical purposes because it can be highly addictive.11 People who develop an addiction to Adderall can experience severe withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit, including fatigue, depression, insomnia, and agitation.

How to Boost Energy and Focus Naturally

If you are looking for ways to boost your energy levels, attention, and mental focus, there really is no substitute for a healthy lifestyle. If you do the following things, you are likely to experience positive results without needing Adderall to enhance your life.

  • Eat a variety of healthy foods.
  • Sleep well.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Engage in mindfulness practices like meditation and yoga.

How to Overcome Adderall Addiction

If you are addicted to Adderall, finding natural alternatives to Adderall will not solve the underlying problem. Substance use disorder is a chronic medical condition that requires long-term care and ongoing treatment for a full recovery.

Adderall abuse can change the way your brain works and quickly cause dependence or addiction. Misusing Adderall also makes it more difficult for you to focus, think clearly, and regulate your emotions. If you have taken Adderall for a long time, you will likely experience severe withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop using it. This can be uncomfortable, dangerous, and is unlikely to result in lasting sobriety.

Although you may feel like it’s hopeless, recovery from Adderall addiction is completely possible with the right treatment and support. The treatment process for Adderall addiction is highly individualized, but often includes medical detox, residential drug rehab, IOP, and sober living. Call (888) 857-0557 to learn more about our drug detox services at Briarwood Detox Center and let us help you start fresh with a new life in recovery.

 

References:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/features/nootropics-smart-drugs-overview
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4756795/
  3. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/fda-101-dietary-supplements
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3046018/
  5. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/221676516_Natural_Cognitive_Enhancers
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24675223
  7. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-coenzyme-q10/art-20362602
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2966367/
  9. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpubh.2017.00225/full
  10. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/energy-drinks
  11. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2007/011522s040lbl.pdf

 

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