Have you been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and were prescribed Adderall to cope with the symptoms? Are you in recovery from substance use disorder (SUD) and trying to manage ADHD without Adderall? Millions of males of all ages across the country are struggling with ADHD. While many do not develop SUD, it is not unheard of for someone with ADHD to self-medicate with substances or try to manage their ADHD symptoms without medication. Like other co-occurring disorders, ADHD is manageable while in addiction recovery. You may just have to get creative with how you manage it effectively.
Recovery begins with a single step. Before you can focus on managing ADHD and SUD, you must focus on treating both simultaneously. Time spent in treatment at a facility with a focus on dual diagnosis may help teach you the skills necessary to cope with SUD and ADHD. Reach out to a medical provider if you have concerns about managing ADHD without medications like Adderall today.
What Is ADHD?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes ADHD as one of “the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood.” It typically develops in childhood, lasting into adulthood, but many people are diagnosed with adult ADHD later in life. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) describes ADHD as “an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.” According to the NIMH, individuals experience constant patterns of different symptoms. Those symptoms include:
- Inattention: This means someone may struggle with staying on task, organization, and maintaining concentration.
- Hyperactivity: This symptom means that a person constantly moves around, which may sometimes be perceived as inappropriate. Moving around for them may include excessively fidgeting, tapping, or talking. The NIMH also indicates that in adults, hyperactivity may present as “extreme restlessness or talking too much.”
- Impulsivity: This is when a person may act without thinking, have difficulty with self-control, may be unable to delay gratification, or make impulsive decisions without the thought of consequences.
Recognizing these symptoms may be challenging, especially when trying to discover them within yourselves. Additionally, ADHD is typically diagnosed in childhood, and children rarely recognize the signs themselves.
Signs and Symptoms of ADHD
Some of the signs and symptoms of ADHD to be on the lookout for include:
- Overlooking details at school or work
- Trouble maintaining attention
- Seeming distracted when being spoken to
- Difficulty following instructions to finish tasks
- Trouble organizing tasks or doing things in a particular order
- Avoiding tasks that require sustained mental effort
- Being easily distracted by random thoughts
- Forgetfulness in everyday activities
- Excessive fidgeting when sitting
- Inability to engage in hobbies quietly
- Talking excessively
- Interrupting conversations or activities
- Having trouble sitting still in situations where it may be expected, such as a work meeting
What Causes ADHD?
Despite ongoing research, the cause of ADHD remains unknown. However, some scientists have theories on the subject. According to the CDC, some of these theories indicate that genetics plays a significant role in the development of ADHD. Other risk factors include:
- Brain injury
- Exposure to environmental risks
- Using alcohol and tobacco while pregnant
- Premature birth
- Low birth weight
Despite these potential factors, many individuals only develop ADHD in adulthood. However, ADHD may manifest differently in adults.
ADHD in Adults
The NIMH indicates that adults diagnosed with ADHD experience symptoms before age 12. However, many adults may be unaware they have ADHD. They may have trouble staying organized, sticking to a job, being punctual, or keeping up with their daily tasks and responsibilities, but they do not realize it is due to ADHD. Without a diagnosis, life can become troublesome, and many experience judgment or ridicule from others.
Unfortunately, undiagnosed ADHD may lead adults to substance use to cope with the symptoms. Self-medication with drugs or alcohol can quickly lead to SUD. If you feel you may have adult ADHD, consult a doctor today before turning to substance use.
Many doctors prescribe medications to children and adults to help manage their ADHD. The most common prescriptions used are stimulants, including Adderall. According to the NIMH, stimulants increase “dopamine and norepinephrine, which play essential roles in thinking and attention.” However, when struggling with SUD, people may have to abstain from stimulant prescriptions. So, how can individuals with SUD manage their ADHD without medications like Adderall?
Aside from medications, psychotherapies can also help individuals maintain their ADHD symptoms. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and stress management techniques can be effective in addition to other holistic practices. Calming techniques, supplements, taking care of our body, and quality sleep can help with managing ADHD symptoms and maintaining recovery.
If you or someone you love is worried about managing ADHD while in addiction treatment or recovery, you are not alone. Despite the challenges, you can manage ADHD without drugs like Adderall and maintain recovery simultaneously. Talk to your doctor about any concerns regarding your ADHD and SUD today.
Many co-occurring disorders may make it more challenging for people to maintain their addiction recovery. That often includes anxiety, depression, and mental health conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Another co-occurring condition you may have trouble managing while in recovery is attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Doctors often prescribe prescription stimulants like Adderall to help patients cope with ADHD. However, if an adult develops substance use disorder, they may have to abstain from such drugs. Behavioral therapies, supplements, taking care of your body, and getting enough sleep can help with your ADHD symptoms without using stimulants. To learn more about maintaining recovery without the use of stimulants, contact Healing Pines Recovery at (720) 575-2621.