Are ADHD Medications Safe?
Generally taking ADHD medications are safe, but there are four things to keep in mind about them:
- They come with side effects, of which you are likely to experience a few.
- ADHD medications are not always guaranteed to work.
- They can harm you if you don’t take them correctly.
- When they do work, they are considered the most effective treatment method.
It's important to know that the benefit of taking ADHD medication outweighs the risk for most people.
How to Treat ADHD Without Medication
There’s nothing wrong with taking medication to treat ADHD. All it does is increase the amount of chemicals (neurotransmitters) you need in your brain. Everyone relies on these same chemicals to function every day.
As for me, I think medication is a band-aid. I prefer to solve my own problems rather than rely on medication. If you feel the same way, you will enjoy reading this section.
Even if you want to take ADHD medication, you should still read what’s below. ADHD medication alone is not the correct way to treat ADHD.
1. Be Active Outside for at Least 20 Minutes Every Day
A study, published in Wiley Online Library, showed ADHDers who go out in nature for at least 20 minutes every day had reduced ADHD symptoms.
It has something to do with the fact that humans originated from nature, which is where we feel most comfortable. Especially as children.
Besides burning calories and keeping your body fit, exercise causes your brain to release endorphins. These make you feel good.
So if you don’t want to go outside, at least exercise. It will help you become healthier, which is something ADHD medication can’t do.
Therapy is the most common way to treat ADHD with or without medication. Medication doesn’t teach skills and coping mechanisms. Therapy does.
Children and adults with ADHD can both benefit from behavioral therapy. As someone who was an ADHD child, I can honestly say raising an ADHD child is a different challenge than what you expect. If both parents aren’t in the child’s life, it becomes even more challenging.
For adult ADHDers, behavioral therapy can help you develop coping skills you may not have learned on your own. If you’re lucky, your parents will be ADHD aware so they can take the unique approach necessary to develop coping skills in childhood.
Parental therapy is just like the name suggest. It’s therapy for parents to help them deal with the frustrations of raising an ADHDer. It also teaches parents (who may have ADHD themselves) skills to help them raise an ADHD child.
3. Eat a Healthy Diet
Having a healthy diet isn’t as hard as you think it might be.
For ADHD in particular, having a healthy ADHD-friendly diet will help your brain function better. Think of your ADHD brain as a brain operating, not exactly in a negative way, but in a way that makes your life difficult in certain instances.
Having a healthy diet is as simple as avoiding processed foods, fast food, foods with coloring and other additives, and junk foods. Likewise, you should consume more water, fiber, whole grains, veggies, and fruits.
4. Use a To-Do List to Create Structure in Your Life
As humans, we crave structure. We rely on rules and law. ADHDers lack structure.
It’s because our executive function isn’t as “on point” as it should be. Executive function is your ability to dictate task and manage your thoughts.
If you ever noticed how you take more time to do “easy” stuff than other people (like a shower) it’s because of your executive function. Not to mention, having ADHD almost makes you a non-conformist by default.
If you want to give yourself structure, you can either go to jail or take out a piece of paper and write down your to-do list. Both options will give you lots of structure!
Jails give you structure because you have to wake up at a certain time, eat at a certain time, every day. Jails create routine, and routines give structure.
A to-do list isn’t as extreme, but it can be just as effective in getting you into a routine so you can do what you need to do.
Seriously, a to-do list can change your life. It’s a form of accountability by you and for you. It will help you get more done, whether it’s work or something else.