Stimulant Alternatives: New to this... - ADHD Parents Toge...

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Stimulant Alternatives

New to this group as of today. I really would like to hear your feedback on alternatives to stimulant medications. We have tried a few different ones over the last couple of years without a great deal of satisfaction. My son is 10 years old, very bright, has issues with impulsivity and hyperactivity. At this point, he does not seem to have the inattentiveness as his greatest challenge. Would you please share what has been successful for you? Thank you in advance!!!

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We tried stimulants with my 11-year old son last year but had too many negative side effects. It's been a long journey and what has made a world of difference is the combination of fish oil, iron, Magnesium, PS100 (phosphatidylserine) and 5-HTP. He also takes a multivitamin for teenagers with high amounts of B vitamins and folate instead of folic acid. His behavior has improved tremendously within four weeks, and he sleeps much better because tryptophan (5-HTP) is a also a precursor to melatonin. After two years of crankiness and irritability his mood has become fun and pleasant (increased serotonin levels from the tryptophan). The PS100 has helped with focus and behavior and the Magnesium, which he gets 5x a day 40 mg as gummies, has helped a lot with restlessness. He also does a lot of sports, and just runs around with our dog in the backyard. Now every child is different, and I had to do a lot of trial and error, but knowing your child and paying close attention, talking to them and not giving up with tons of research has brought me to this point where I truly enjoy being around my son again. I wish you all the best!


Thank you for your response. I am definitely going tot look into these options. Our experiences with the stimulants has been somewhat of a challenge. I greatly appreciate your help!!


Here is our experience, though every child is different. In general, the non-stimulants have a lower success rate than the stimulants.

We first started with guanfacine (Intuniv), as my then-6-year old also has a tic disorder and my husband was very resistant to using medicationand wanted to avoid stimulants. It did calm his body. He had minor nighttime waking issues with it (he reports - I did not see it.) However it flattened his personality a bit, without actually helping his focus at school much, so we discontinued it after @ 2 weeks. He did gain some weight on it (which my son is so skinny, that was fine.) I imagine in the future we may combine this with our current medication.

Next we tried Strattera. This was probably the worst for us of any medication. He vomited if it taken with food. He lost weight. The first few weeks he was SUPER emotional - we were back to age 3 fits. It calmed his body a bit, helped even more with his anxiety, and he slept great. But he became very surly and negative (even had an argument with his teacher - and acting up at school had never previously been an issue.) So we discontinued than after 6 weeks.

After that we decided to try Metadate CD (a long acting methylphenidate stimulant), and it has been a game changer for us. My son has finally matured a bit. Our only real issues with it are making sure he eats, and how to handle him when it wears off (we currently do not do an evening booster.) It doesn’t seem to make his tics and anxiety significantly worse, though I noticed they also haven’t faded this summer as they typically do. Though that could also be his age, as tics tend to get worse the closer you get to the tween years.

My husband, who previously was anti-medication (particularly stimulants), is now the one of us most adamant that my son takes his stimulant every day. 😊


The ‘wearing off’ part is one of the concerns I have with my son. He doesn’t like the stimulant meds and says they just make him tired or kind of out of it, then when they wear off he is quite irritable....which is then at the end of the school day and usually occurs at home. This ends with family issues, of course. Thank you for your response!


How long was/has he been on stimulants? My son was extra sleepy the first week or two - nothing too concerning, but noticeable. But it wore off once his body got use to the meds, and we saw so much improvement in other areas, that we were fine with it.

Also - which stimulants have you tried? There are a variety, so if you don’t like the side effects of one, there are other options to try. Or combine them with a non-stim - I imagine we will do that at some point in the future.

My son is more just “back to his old self” after they wear off - not any more or less irritable. Though I know the tween can be a time for medication changes for some people - and just the hormones of emerging tween years.

The medication trial can be a big scary ordeal - especially as that when many parents are still hesitant to medicate. But for many many kids, once you find a good fit, it can make a huge difference.

Best of luck to you!


We just started saffron supplement with our 6 year old. Starting with half of a 15mg capsule. You can look up a very interesting study indicating that it works similar to ritalin. Just make sure you only use very low doses below 15 to 30mg. I will continue to monitor him over the next 6 weeks. We also give him a half tablespoon of chia daily for omega 3. It has definitely helped already.


Thank you! I will look into this supplement! I appreciate your response!


Both of my grandsons are now on Intuniv. One is also on respiridione and straterra because of anger issues and intuniv alone won't take care of his ADHD.

The older one was on Focalin XR for years with great results but it stopped working in middle school. He is also on welbutrin because like his mother before him he struggles with depression.

All of the talk about supplements intrigues me although we had the older one on Vayarin for 2 years with no noticable difference.

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Yes, the idea of at least trying the supplements is appealing to us, including my son since he does not like how the meds make him feel.


My son was on stimulants and non stimulants at the same time. He had a lot of anger and the medications would sedate him but then he would explode. Psychiatrist finally recommended broad spectrum micronutrients. He has been doing wonderfully for going on four months. I encourage everyone to look into them. The two companies are Hardy Nutritionals and True Hope. My son takes Hardy Nutritionals Daily Essential Nutrients. I have a friend who uses True Hope with her son and has had success. The psychiatrist did not recommend one brand over the other. Best of luck to you!


Thank you! I will look into those!!



I noticed when I follow a strict high protein low carb diet, not easy, I think more clearly. There are side effects to that as well though.

That discovery was on accident.


There aren't any

Not that Will work


Wellbutrin, bupropion, is commonly prescribed to adhd children instead of stimulants for growth and development reasons.

I am an adult and use adderall at work and when needed. I take bupropion. sets a calm that is needed for some of the anxiety I have adhd associated or otherwise.

Bupropion isn't enough. For children it may be. It not a controlled substance either which is nice.

Please forgive typos


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