What to Do When ADHD Medications Don’t Work

Post Highlights

    There are alternative treatments for ADHD. For a lot of people, medications will not work. This is unfortunate because medications have such a good track record in terms of efficacy and can lead to significant improvements in individuals that can take them. There is a targeted approach with regard to medication management.

    There's more to it than just meds.

    The good news is that ADHD is a manageable condition. If you read my other posts, then you know that I don't believe it to be a true disorder or diseases like diabetes or cancer. I believe it to be a trait that is inheritable like eye color. If you look at it from this standpoint, you'll see that there are many options available.

    Alternatives to medications

    Medications release dopamine in our brain. There are many things that release dopamine. A few examples are smoking, drinking, sex, and drugs. Of course, if you use any of these to the extent of treating ADHD you will most likely have other issues. That is why we need to discuss other socially acceptable activities that can release dopamine.

    Exercise is the first thing that comes to mind. The good thing about exercise is you do not need to continuously move around but rather exercise regularly. This is even true for short bouts of exercise like doing 10 jumping jacks when you find yourself drifting off.

    For us couch potatoes with ADHD.

    There are other non-physical routes as well. Any form of artistic expression whether it be playing music, painting, or simply journaling one's thoughts can help moderate the release of dopamine during those periods in between these activities. Albert Einstein played his violin whenever he needed to regain his focus. Can you imagine if he had the ability to play Call of Duty?

    Albert Einstein at his messy desk was a classic sign of ADHD.
    Does your desk look like a genius was there?

    Finally, one of the things that deplete us of dopamine very quickly is poor nutrition. Poor nutrition isn't just about putting bad stuff in us but not putting enough good stuff in us. I love my Twinkies but I also make sure that I'm getting enough fruits and vegetables in my diet. As an alternative, ADHD symptoms are also improved by omega fatty acids.

    In conclusion, ADHD is a very treatable condition and for those that are unable to take medications either due to side effects or contraindications, there are many alternatives that fall under the category of "lifestyle design", as I like to call it.

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    Devang Patel

    I am a board certified family physician. I am married and have two beautiful girls. I have ADHD too (hence blog name ADHD2.com). I was diagnosed with ADHD during my residency training AFTER medical school. Now I want to help others lead more productive lives by giving practical examples and suggestions.

    DISCLAIMER: The content in this blog is not intended to constitute or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this blog or on this website.

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    1. […] Einstein is one of the most important physicists of the 20th century. He was known for his carelessness and forgetfulness. But Einstein is another award-winning, famous person to prove that it is possible to be successful and productive with ADHD. […]

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