5 Drugs to Avoid with ADHD

5 Drugs to Avoid with ADHD

How Drugs Affect People with ADHD

ADHD medications such as Ritalin, Adderall, and Concerta, are stimulants that increase levels of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. These drugs can help improve focus, attention, and impulse control in people with ADHD. However, the effects vary from person to person and the side effects can include decreased appetite, insomnia, increased heart rate, and anxiety. It’s important to consult a doctor for proper evaluation and to determine the best course of treatment for ADHD.

ADHD Drug Interactions 

5 Drugs to Avoid with ADHD

ADHD drugs can interact with other medications, vitamins, and supplements, causing changes in effectiveness or adverse side effects. Some common drug interactions include:

  • Blood pressure medications: Stimulant ADHD drugs can increase blood pressure, leading to dangerous interactions with blood pressure-lowering medications.
  • Antidepressants: ADHD drugs can interact with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and other antidepressants, potentially increasing the risk of heart problems and other side effects.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol can amplify the effects of stimulant ADHD drugs and increase the risk of dehydration and other health problems.
  • Cold and allergy medicines: ADHD drugs can interact with decongestants, leading to increased heart rate, high blood pressure, and other dangerous side effects.

Generally, before you begin treatment for ADHD, your healthcare provider will do a comprehensive physical to ensure that there are no other health issues that need to be addressed. It’s never advisable that you attempt to manage ADHD on your own and self-medicate as this is something that could lead to serious health issues. 

Drugs That Make ADHD Worse

Certain drugs and substances can worsen the symptoms of ADHD or interact negatively with ADHD medications. Some common ones include:

  • Alcohol: Alcohol can increase impulsiveness, decrease focus and attention, and worsen ADHD symptoms.
  • Stimulants: Abusing street drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, and ecstasy can increase hyperactivity and impulsiveness, making ADHD symptoms worse.
  • Caffeine: High doses of caffeine can increase restlessness, anxiety, and impulsiveness, worsening ADHD symptoms.
  • Sleeping aids: Certain sleeping aids, especially sedatives, and tranquilizers, can increase drowsiness and decrease alertness, making ADHD symptoms worse.
  • Tobacco: Smoking and using tobacco products can increase impulsiveness and make it harder to focus and pay attention, worsening ADHD symptoms.

It’s important to avoid these substances and discuss any substance use with your doctor to avoid potentially negative interactions with ADHD medications.

Foods to Avoid With ADHD 

There’s limited scientific evidence linking specific foods to ADHD symptoms, but some individuals may notice a difference in their symptoms when they make dietary changes. Here are some common foods that are often recommended to avoid for people with ADHD:

  • Processed foods: High-fat, high-sugar processed foods can lead to blood sugar spikes and crashes, worsening symptoms like impulsiveness, hyperactivity, and inattention.
  • Artificial food additives: Some artificial colorings, flavorings, and preservatives can increase hyperactivity in some children with ADHD.
  • Caffeine: Excessive caffeine intake can increase restlessness, anxiety, and impulsiveness, worsening ADHD symptoms.
  • Gluten and casein: For some individuals with ADHD, consuming gluten (found in wheat, barley, and rye) or casein (found in dairy products) can worsen symptoms.
  • High-tyramine foods: Tyramine is a substance found in certain foods that can cause mood swings, headaches, and impulsiveness, potentially worsening ADHD symptoms.

Substance Abuse and ADHD

Individuals with ADHD are at a higher risk for substance abuse and addiction compared to the general population. Here are some reasons why:

  • Impulsiveness: Individuals with ADHD may be more likely to act on impulse and engage in risky behavior, including substance abuse.
  • Self-medication: Some individuals with ADHD may turn to drugs or alcohol to help manage their symptoms, which can quickly lead to substance abuse and addiction.
  • Co-occurring disorders: ADHD often occurs alongside other mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder, which can increase the risk of substance abuse.
  • Difficulty in school or work: Individuals with ADHD may struggle in academic or work environments, leading to low self-esteem and an increased risk of substance abuse.

Effective treatment for ADHD and substance abuse often involves a combination of medication, behavioral therapy, and support from friends and family. It’s important to address both ADHD and substance abuse to increase the chances of long-term recovery and improved quality of life.

Treatment for Co-Occurring ADHD and Addiction at Quantum 

At Quantum, our focus is on providing our clients with the tools and resources that they need to work through their substance abuse issues. We have a wide range of clients who struggle with both physical and mental health issues that may influence their approach to their substance abuse recovery or concerns. Before you can begin a comprehensive addiction treatment program, it’s always recommended that you begin your recovery in a detox program. Taking this step will help you during the period that you’re experiencing different withdrawal symptoms which is something that could be physically and psychologically challenging. Detox will also provide you with the support that you need during a period when you’re unable to properly care for yourself. 

Following detox, you will be in a better place to commit to an addiction treatment program. We personalize our treatment programs to ensure that you have the support that you need to work through the challenges that you have faced as a result of your addiction. If you feel as though the only way for you to overcome your substance abuse issues is to remove yourself from the people, places, and things that may trigger your addiction, then the best option for you would be an inpatient or residential treatment program. During inpatient or residential treatment, you will have the opportunity to live on our beautiful campus and interact with not only our team but with other people who are working on their recovery. Our campus is designed in a way to provide you with a home away from home type of environment which can help you to focus on the steps that need to be taken to work through your substance abuse issues. 

If you don’t feel comfortable in an inpatient program, we also offer outpatient programs. A program such as an intensive outpatient or a partial hospitalization program will provide you with the structure that you need to address your substance abuse issues. These types of programs are often chosen by individuals who have work or school responsibilities and need the flexibility to continue fulfilling these responsibilities. 

Regardless of whether you choose an inpatient or an outpatient treatment program,  you will participate in different forms of addiction therapy throughout your program. Although therapy is something that may feel awkward at times, it is helpful in the sense that you will be able to address the root cause of your substance abuse. 

When you choose to work with the Quantum team, you can take comfort in the fact that we will help you to address the physical or emotional challenges that often come along with substance abuse issues. Our intake team is available around the clock to help you to begin your recovery journey. We encourage you or your family members to reach out to us today to learn more about our treatment options. Don’t live another day living with the struggles of addiction. Get in touch with us today and begin your new journey in life!