The Dangers of Using Adderall for Improving your Focus: Use these 7 Alternatives Instead
I’ve been using nootropics for quite some time now and if you were to ask me whether it’s Modafinil vs. Adderall, I would definitely say Modafinil any day.
I’ve had extensive experience with Adderall and although it gives me intense focus, I didn’t like the side effects. Ever since I made my switch with healthier nootropic drugs like Modafinil, I never looked back.
If you’re new to the nootropic world but you’re not familiar with Adderall, below I will discuss some fast facts about the drug that you should know. After this, I’ll share with you some alternatives that you can use in replacement of Adderall.
Table of Contents
What is Adderall?
Adderall is a central nervous stimulant related to recreational drugs methamphetamine and ecstasy. It’s mainly prescribed for ADHD, narcolepsy, and depression but recently, overachieving individuals have been on it in the hopes of enhancing their productivity.
How Does it Interact with the Body?
Adderall is an amphetamine that mainly affects two of the brain’s neurotransmitters, dopamine and norepinephrine. First, it interacts with VMAT (vesicular monoamine transporter 2) which reverse transports the monoamines (dopamine, histamine, norepinephrine and serotonin) into the synaptic vesicles. Think of vesicles as storage units for the neuron’s chemicals.
It then activates TAAR1 (trace amine-associated receptor 1) which blocks certain dopamine and norepinephrine transporters in the neurons.
This allows the reverse transport of endogenous catecholamines which is a part of the body’s stress response system, released during moments of high stress.
It moves from the neuron to the synapse making it bind really well to the receptors. This is what causes the stimulating effects of Adderall making you feel really good, alert, energetic, and even euphoric.
What Are The Long Term Effects of Adderall?
Adderall’s effects on the brain are quite harmful. It may give you short-term benefits such intense focus, more energy, and better motivation but these heavily outweigh its negative side effects. Even the short-term wins may not be as good as it has the following side effects on people who’ve used it short-term
- Suppressed appetite
- Unhealthy weight loss
- Dry mouth
If you have a pre-existing heart condition, Adderall puts you at more risk since it increases the heart rate and blood pressure. The level of arousal this drug provides can be so intense that it leaves you feeling anxious bordering on psychosis.
Here’s another dangerous thing about the drug: thinking you won’t develop a tolerance. Your doctor may prescribe you a low dosage but after a certain period when the effects start to wear off, you’ll ask for a higher dosage in the hopes of getting the same benefits.
And when that wears off, you ask for more. The next thing you know, you’re sweating and squirming like an addict waiting to get the next fix.
It’s a fact that Adderall is a highly abused drug.
In fact, one study found it to be one of the top drugs abused by older teens and adults. It’s so easy to say you will be an exception, but the brain is a brain. Once it experiences the stimulating but addictive effects of Adderall, it’s going to keep asking for more.
When used the long term, Adderall can lead to depression, paranoia, and hostility. So do yourself a favor and steer clear of this drug if you’d like to avoid the negative permanent effects of Adderall.
7 Alternatives to Adderall for Improving your Focus
Adderall and Modafinil are similar in a way that they stimulate your central nervous system but what makes them different is how they affect your dopamine. Adderall stimulates your dopamine levels way too much while Modafinil does it in a healthier way.
Modafinil also has a better medicinal value compared to Adderall. Aside from enhancing with your mental performance, Modafinil has been shown to help with depression, Parkinson’s, cocaine addiction, and schizophrenia.
Can you get addicted to Modafinil? It’s highly unlikely.
As mentioned earlier, it’s been known to help people with addiction and it’s very rare to see someone become dependent on this nootropic. The worst side effects, which can happen when you overdose, include fever, sore throat, sore mouth, chest pain, allergic reactions, and irregular heartbeat.
If you’d like to make the switch from Adderall to Modafinil, consider speaking with your doctor so they prescribe you with the proper dosage.
2. Smart Caffeine
Smart Caffeine is another nootropic which can help boost alertness and cognitive performance. As the name suggests, Smart Caffeine is made with the world’s most popular stimulant, caffeine. It’s complemented by another ingredient, L-theanine which is an amino acid that promotes relaxation and enhances memory recall. Put together into one supplement and the result is increased alertness minus the crash or jitters.
To get the most out of Smart Caffeine, make sure to take it with food. Skip coffee to avoid adverse interactions with the supplement. Take one in the morning and another in the afternoon to avoid that post lunch sluggishness.
However, if you’re a coffee lover and can’t live without it, I recommend that you skip Smart Caffeine altogether and go for other nootropics instead.
Qualia is one of the newer nootropic supplements consisting of 40+ ingredients, making it one of the most advanced nootropic stacks in the market. I’ll spare you the long list of ingredients which is listed here and instead, tell you what it does for you.
Qualia was specially formulated to help its users optimize brain function. It not only impacts your brain performance but also your mind, body, and energy. When you take it, your energy, creativity, and motivation gets enhanced. Of course, this doesn’t happen in an instant. The effects of Qualia come after regular use so getting the most out of it means you should take it daily.
Though it’s a relatively new product, many have written positive Qualia nootropic reviews, raving about how great the product is. If you are unsure because this drug just seems too good to be true, you can do your own research on the ingredients used on the label and decide for yourself.
Not to be confused with Piracetam, is Phenylpiracetam which is a derivative of Piracetam. It has the added group compound of Phenyl which allows it to work more efficiently. Compared to piracetam, Phenylpiracetam travels through the blood-brain barrier faster and stays in your system longer. This means you only need to take small doses to get the benefits.
When using Phenylpiracetam for focus and concentration, you only need as little as 100 mg per day. The effects include increased brain energy, focus, and memory recall. In addition, your learning capacity gets better and your fear and anxieties decrease. Because it’s such a potent nootropic, it’s recommend that you only take it on a cyclical basis. That means no more than a few days every week. After that, give it a break of a week or two before taking it again.
5. Mind Lab Pro
Mind Lab Pro is another incredibly well-marketed nootropic well-known for improving cognitive performance. Is it worth the hype though? Online consensus seems to agree. If you’re new to nootropics, Mind Lab Pro is a good place to start. It’s a well-formulated blend consisting of high quality ingredients that help impact brain performance.
Each ingredient used in the formulation has been studied and tested so you don’t have to worry about any serious side effects. Though the benefits are not as strong and noticeable as other stimulants (no stimulant ingredients used), you can be assured that it’s working to improve your brain not just for the short-term but also the long-term, meaning its effects are permanent. This is why you need to take it regularly to fully enjoy its benefits.
Piracetam is one of the first nootropics ever created, synthesized in the 1960s to treat cognitive impairment without sedative or stimulative effects. Today, it’s one of the most widely used nootropics for its ability to provide its users a cognitive boost. Despite being one of the oldest nootropics out there, its exact mechanism isn’t fully known. No need to worry however as countless studies and accounts show that piracetam is safe to use. It has a very low toxicity, meaning it’s considered safe to take even on higher doses.
It increases the production of acetylcholine and affects the NMDA glutamate receptor sites, both of which are powerful neurotransmitters that affect memory and learning. It’s also helps the brain to use oxygen more efficiently which in turn affects your cognitive performance.
To really get the best of this nootropic, you need to get the right Piracetam dosage. Anywhere between 1.2 to 9.6 is safe. Start with low dosage first and build up from there to see what dosage works best for you.
7. Rhodiola Rosea
What was once just an herb to treat fatigue is quickly becoming a popular nootropic used by biohackers. Rhodiola Rosea benefits your brain in many ways:
- Reduces stress
- Improves mood
- Helps repair and grow new neurons
- Improves mental performance
Its wonders lies in its ability to undo the damage caused by chronic stress. Aside from that, it also improves your ability to deal with stress by influencing brain chemicals such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and beta-endorphins. So the next time you are feeling sluggish and unmotivated but you know you have a lot to do, take rhodiola for better concentration.
There are many more alternatives to Adderall that are way less dangerous, more effective, and safe to use for the long term. Do you have other Adderall alternatives you can recommend? Share your thoughts in the comments!