The New York Times reports today that there is an Adderall shortage nationwide, affecting perhaps hundreds of thousands or even millions of people.  As someone who takes antidepressants for my unipolar depression, I can empathize greatly with all of you out there, feeling almost a sense of panic if I weren’t able to get my own prescribed Sertraline, Bupropion, and Olanzapine in the mail regularly.  However, as someone who has long been a vocal critic of ADHD as a medical disorder, and who has cautioned against certain aspects of ADHD drugs (yes, I know I sound like a hypocrite, but hear me out) in my book The Myth of the ADHD Child, I can see how an overreliance on a drug for treating symptoms like hyperactivity, distractibility, and impulsivity can lead to problems like this one.

Diversification is the name of the game.  The Irish got themselves into a lot of trouble in the 19th century when they relied too much on a single variety of potato.  When that potato was decimated by the fungus-like Phytophthora infestans, they were caught short and over a million people died.  Same thing with money.  Put all your money in cryptocurrency markets and see where that gets you. It’s always best to have a variety of alternatives available, and when it comes to disorders like ADHD and depression, the larger the arsenal of available methods to handle it, the more flexibility you have, and the more powerful your ability to control the symptoms.  Yes, I take antidepressants, but I also exercise daily, have a mindfulness practice, do yoga daily, eat a Mediterranean diet, see a therapist once a month, pray, nourish social connections, and engage in other activities that bring me joy like playing my piano, reading great literature, and watching classic movies.

I wrote The Myth of the ADHD Child as a response to parents who got angry at a lecture in Pennsylvania many years ago when I said ”I just don’t think parents are aware of all the non-drug alternatives that are out there.” So the great majority of the book is dedicated to 101 practical non-drug strategies that parents can use to help their ADHD-diagnosed kids.  I’ve adjusted the list so that it works for adults (see below).  So while you’re waiting for your Adderall prescription to be filled, here are 101 non-drug strategies to look over.  See which ones you’re already doing, and which ones can be easily added to your daily routine.  It won’t make all the withdrawal symptoms or the recurrence of ADHD symptoms go away, but it could help in the meantime.  And help is what we all need.

  1. Let Yourself Fidget
  2. Channel Your Creative Energies into the Arts
  3. Emphasize Your Diversity, Not Your Disability
  4. Enroll in a Martial Arts Class
  5. Make Time for Nature
  6. Hold Family Meetings
  7. Teach Yourself Focusing Techniques like Mindfulness
  8. Discover Your Best Time of Alertness
  9. Engage in Hands-On Activities
  10. Build, Borrow, or Buy Wiggle Furniture
  11. Consider Alternative Healing Options
  12. Take Care of Yourself
  13. Eat a Balanced Breakfast
  14. Give Yourself Choices
  15. Remove Allergens and Additives from Your Diet
  16. Use Music to Focus and Calm
  17. Teach Yourself Self-Monitoring Skills
  18. Use Effective Communication Skills with Others
  19. Take a Course on Mindfulness
  20. Nurture Your Creativity
  21. Hold a Positive Image of Yourself
  22. Give Yourself Space to Learn New Things
  23. Follow Your Interests
  24. Establish Consistent Rules, Routines, and Transitions
  25. Celebrate Your Successes
  26. Make Time to Play
  27. Get a Personal Coach
  28. Build Resilience in Yourself
  29. Have People Give You Instructions in Attention-Grabbing Ways
  30. Limit Junk Food
  31. Learn Something New
  32. Nourish Your Social Connections
  33. Learn About How Your Brain Works
  34. Eliminate Distractions
  35. Engage in Daily Exercise
  36. Learn How to Communicate with Others
  37. Strengthen Your Working Memory
  38. Limit Junk Media
  39. Engage in Flow Experiences
  40. Use Online Learning as an Educational Resource
  41. Use Metacognitive Tools to Help You Think Better
  42. Learn Emotional Self-Regulation Skills
  43. Teach Yourself Mindfulness Meditation
  44. Engage in Spontaneous Self-Talk to Help You in Your Work
  45. Engage in Exercise and Recreation as a Family
  46. Learn Stress Management Techniques
  47. Identify ADHD-Friendly Mobile Apps That Can Help You
  48. Find a Mentor
  49. Play a Favorite Sport
  50. Exposure Yourself to Stimulating Experiences
  51. Learn Goal-Setting Skills
  52. Ask People for Immediate Behavioral Feedback
  53. Work to Promote Worker-Boss Rapport
  54. Consider Neurofeedback Training
  55. Get Professional Massages
  56. Allow Yourself to Move During Work
  57. Make Time for Plenty of Humor and Laughter
  58. Spend Positive Time Together with Your Family and Friends
  59. Discover Your Multiple Intelligences
  60. Develop a Growth Mind-Set
  61. Make a List of Your Strengths
  62. Work and Study Under Natural and Full-Spectrum Light
  63. Cook with Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  64. Consider Therapy
  65. Pep Up Each Day with at Least One Novel Experience
  66. Look for Positive Role Models (e.g. Celebrities with ADHD etc.)
  67. Eat a Mediterranean Diet
  68. Learn to Do Yoga
  69. Use Aromas to Calm and Center Yourself
  70. Teach Yourself Something New
  71. Rule Out Other Potential Contributors to Your ADHD Symptoms
  72. Get Outdoors Regularly
  73. Provide Your Child With Real-Life Tasks
  74. Use Time Out in a Positive Way
  75. Enhance Your Self-Esteem
  76. Avoid Exposure to Environmental Contaminants
  77. Make Sure You Get Sufficient Sleep
  78. Activate Positive Career Aspirations
  79. Teach Yourself to Visualize
  80. Play Chess or Other Concentration Games
  81. Be a Mentor to Someone
  82. Practice Self-Awareness
  83. Plant a Garden
  84. Play Video Games That Help You Focus
  85. Engage in Products Involving Augmented and Virtual Reality
  86. Try Out for the Community Theater
  87. Learn to Take Deep Breaths to Help You Center Yourself
  88. Care for an Animal or Garden
  89. Support Your Own Late Blooming
  90. Consider Individual Psychotherapy
  91. Positive Behavior Contract With Your Child
  92. Engage in Positive Niche Construction (see The Power of Neurodiversity)
  93. Develop Your Social Skills
  94. Engage in Strenuous Exercise Once a Day
  95. Start a New Business
  96. Practice Gratitude on a Daily Basis
  97. Create a Blog on Your Experience with ADHD
  98. Expand Your Social Network
  99. Engage in Projects or Hobbies that You’re Passionate About
  100. Learn a Few Work-Arounds to Get Things Done
  101. Learn Organizational Strategies

We could also add a strategy #102:  Help Your Child With His/Her Own ADHD Symptoms.  To do this, get my book The Myth of the ADHD Child:  101 Ways to Improve Your Child’s Behavior and Attention Span Without Drugs, Labels, or Coercion.


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About the author

I’m the author of 20 books including my latest, a novel called Childless, which you can order from Amazon.

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