Many different prescription stimulants are quite often used to treat disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and related learning problems. These drugs include methylphenidate, or Ritalin®; dextroamphetamine, or Dexedrine®; and dextroamphetamine-amphetamine, or Adderall®.

The purpose of these drugs are to help people who have been diagnosed with ADHD to feel more focused. Unfortunately, the very efficacy of these drugs has caused problems. Students who couldn’t pay attention now enjoy a wonderful sense of focus, and students who were failing classes now start getting recognized for academic achievement.

The spin-off effect of this success has been misuse of these stimulants. Parents and teachers encourage the use of this drug due to a lack of awareness of associated risks and even students who don’t have ADHD start using these drugs.

Let’s take a quick look at one type of stimulant drug, Adderall, as an example:

The Story of Adderall

Adderall has been particularly effective, however the success of this drug in helping increase focus and concentration has often ended up doing more harm than good. Those taking it can easily become addicted to it. As a result, Adderall rehab sometimes becomes necessary to wean someone off the drug. This need may increase for those who were prescribed the drug as a child and have continued the use into adulthood. However, not everyone who hears about the addictive qualities of Adderall is convinced that it’s a harmful drug. Those who have benefited from Adderall are somewhat skeptical about giving it up. After all, it’s power to transform a D student into an A student and opening a world of opportunity appears to be a significant gain. Moreover, continued use of the drug appears to promise a successful academic life and a brilliant future career. The drug, in short, appears to be a miracle.

Unfortunately, the side-effects are also fairly high, with abuse of the drug increasing risk. One of the most serious side effect is that the drug causes circulation problems. Fingers and toes may feel numb. In worst case scenario, they can even turn red or blue. The result of constricted blood vessels raises blood pressure and increases heart rate. In some individuals, these problems can lead to a stroke or a heart attack. However, even if someone does not suffer these more severe issues, Adderall can cause many other unpleasant side effects like headaches and blurred vision, restlessness and agitation, insomnia and an unpleasant taste in the mouth, diarrhea and vomiting, hair loss and weight loss.

Neuroenhancement Without Prescription Stimulants

Fortunately, there are alternative therapies and herbal supplements to provide the benefits delivered of prescription stimulants. However, before taking a new course of action, it’s important to first consult a doctor and safely wean oneself off the prescription drug.

Alternative remedies fall into two groups: health supplements and over the counter substitutes. Beneficial supplements to increase brain function include B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, Pycnogenol®, and zinc. Nootropic alternatives to improve learning and concentration include AdderRx®, AddTabz®, Adrafinil®, Alpha Brain®, Aniracetam® , Noopept® and Piracetam® .

Many problems associated with “brain fog” are actually due to poor diet, insufficient exercise, and not getting enough sleep.

The first thing to do to improve diet is to seek out a good nutritionist to identify any food allergies. They will help design a diet that removes processed foods that might be causing a negative reaction. Food allergies are often attributed to eating foods with toxic ingredients, preservatives, and chemicals. Other foods that cause problems are those that have excessive amounts of sugar or wheat.

Vitamin B foods are particularly effective in improving brain and nervous system function.

Here is a quick list of food sources for vitamin B:

  1. Thiamine (B1): ham, fortified whole-grain cereals, enriched rice, lentils, and green pea.
  2. Riboflavin (B2): milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, fish, chicken, and dark green leafy vegetables.
  3. Niacin (B3): fish, turkey, chicken, pasta, legumes, peanuts, and fortified cereals.
  4. Folic Acid (B9): spinach, turnip greens, and breads, rice, and pastas.
  5. Pyridoxine (B6): leafy green vegetables, bananas, seafood, spinach, and fortified cereals.
  6. Cobalamin (B12): shellfish, mussels, and beef. Many other foods like cereals and soy products.
  7. Biotin (B7): egg yolks, liver, pork, salmon, avocado, and cheese.
  8. Pantothenic Acid (B5): yogurt and avocados.

Although prescription stimulants to enhance cognitive function can appear to have a miraculous effect on students who were not doing well in school due to restlessness and lack of focus, they also have many undesirable side-effects. However, it’s not necessary to go back to suffering academically by giving up these neuroenhancing drugs. Natural remedies, over the counter alternatives, and lifestyle changes can also help students cope with ADHD or other learning challenges.