The prominence of attention deficit disorders has become more widespread than ever before. Diagnosis’ of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have reached all-time highs.

In fact, currently 1 in 10 adolescents under the age of 18 are currently diagnosed with ADHD. This is nearly double the number of children diagnosed with the disorder in the 1990s.

The influx of social media, television, and cellular phones definitely do not seem to be helping this cause. It’s not uncommon for children as young as a couple months of age to be sitting in front of cellular phones.

In fact, some studies say attention spans currently averages around 8 seconds.

That’s barely enough time to read the next few sentences.

After diagnosis, many parents resort to prescription medication to treat these disorders at a young age. One commonly used treatment is Adderall. It has become one of the most widespread medications for treating these types of disorders.

BUT it’s use is not only limited to people diagnosed with ADHD. It is also used illicitly by people for various reasons.

On high school and college campuses, Adderall has become one of the most abused substances.

What percentage of young adults on college campuses regularly take Adderall?

A recent study performed at the University of Michigan found that approximately 1 in 4 college students admit to regular use of Adderall.

  • Save a paper until the last minute? Take an Adderall.
  • Neglect chapters of studying all semester? Pop an Adderall.
  • Stay up all night partying? People take Adderall for that too.

It is not uncommon to see college students use Adderall to stay up all night. Whether it be for academics or recreational use, Adderall use has become progressively more widespread in recent years.

Students are rarely prescribed the medication through proper medical channels. Instead, they frequently rely upon the black market for consumption leading to questionable substances being distributed.

Most people on college campuses know someone that can provide them Adderall.

When used regularly Adderall can produce an array of negative side effects. Adderall can also create dependency problems and serious health issues if abused.

While Adderall may help some people focus and concentrate on school or work, the drawbacks may outweigh any positive benefits.

Top Natural Adderall Alternatives in 2020




Ginkgo Biloba

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120–600 mg

Bacopa Monnieri

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300 mg

Rhodiola Rosea

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50–680 mg


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120-400 mg


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100–200 mg


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200-500 mg

Huperzine A


50–200 mcg

Alpha GPC


250–600 mg



500–1000 mg


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100-200 mg


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150-500 mg

Why is Adderall Dangerous?

Adderall is considered a Schedule II controlled substance and is from the same family of drugs as methamphetamine.

Yes, that’s right the chemical composition of Adderall is similar to Methamphetamine.

Even though it is a commonly prescribed prescription medication, it can be harmful when taken in excess. In fact, Time magazine claimed Adderall is 9.6 times more likely to linked to violence compared to other medications.

The illicit consumption of Adderall has become so profound it may be more readily available than many other drugs on college campuses.

Most students think of Adderall as a short-term fix to help them study, but negative side effects can quickly appear.

Some of the commonly cited short-term effects of heavy Adderall use include:

  • Appetite suppression
  • Unhealthy weight loss
  • Irritability
  • Dry mouth
  • Feelings of restlessness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Serious cardiac issues
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Paranoia

Although these side effects appear to be harmful, chronic abuse of Adderall can have an even larger negative impact. Some of the long term effects of Adderall may include:

  • Erratic behavior
  • Malnutrition
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • Physiological disorders
  • Risk of heart attack
  • Chronic hypertension

The chemical composition of the drug makes it physically addictive and harmful to the central nervous system (CNS).

The drug can raise neurotransmitters such as dopamine, epinephrine, serotonin, and norepinephrine to dangerously high levels. As with other drugs, this can make it more difficult for the body to produce these chemicals naturally over time.

When combined with heavy alcohol abuse, the potential for harmful or deadly side effects increases to an even greater extent.

Although these drugs can temporarily provide sudden rushes of alertness and motivation, this can cause long term damage in the form of tolerance and chemical dependence. Over time, addiction and dependence can wreak havoc on one’s life. Eventually, permanent and irreversible damage can occur.

What are Nootropics?

Often praised for their brain and focus abilities, nootropics are known as mind enhancers due to their cognitive benefits.

Nootropics are a class of drugs or supplements created to enhance cognitive performance, strengthen memory, and increase motivation. The first ever nootropic was created by Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea in 1964.

Dr. Giurgea is cited as the creator of nootropics. As he researched new performance-enhancing supplements, he had the main goal of creating a new class of substance that would improve memory and cognitive abilities.

Since some nootropics deal with cognition and focus, they may be able to taken in place of Adderall in certain circumstances.

Which natural nootropics are best suited as alternatives to Adderall? Let’s take a look.

Best Natural Alternatives 

There are a variety of natural alternatives that may be taken in lieu of Adderall. Each of these substances provide benefits leading to improved cognition, memory, and enhanced learning capabilities.

1. Ginkgo Biloba

One of the most supplemented herbal remedies for brain health is ginkgo biloba. As a tree native to China it has been shown to have several positive health benefits.

Most of the positive effects associated with ginkgo biloba center around brain function and blood circulation.

Studies associated with ginkgo biloba have shown evidence of increased mental performance when taken regularly.

Research has shown ginkgo biloba may play a key role in improving memory, attention span, and overall focus.

2. Bacopa Monnieri

Another natural herbal supplement commonly used for mental acuity is Bacopa Monnieri.

Like it’s synthetic counterpart Adderall, Bacopa Monnieri interacts with neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin to increase alertness and enhance energy.

Through neuron communication channels, studies have shown Bacopa Monnieri can improve memory and enhance cognitive function.

3. Rhodiola Rosea

Native to the arctic regions of Europe and Asia, Rhodiola Rosea is a traditional herbal supplement known for curing fatigue and providing mental clarity.

Studies have shown it can increase energy, improve cognition, and provide neuroprotective properties.

Other studies on Rhodiola Rosea have shown significant reductions in anxiety, stress, anger, confusion, and depression.

Although the results are not entirely conclusive, it appears the cognitive benefits of Rhodiola Rosea may it at least a viable option when it comes to Adderall alternatives.

4. Caffeine

Most people do not consider themselves strangers to caffeine. If you consume coffee, teas, or energy drinks you know they can provide an extra boost of energy to power you through the day.

Few people are aware that caffeine may also be a substitute for Adderall.

Caffeine can help improve concentration and focus, making it a viable replacement for ADHD medications such as Adderall.

Considered a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant, caffeine use may provide several of the same cognitive effects seen from regular Adderall use.

Although generally considered a safe substance for regular use, be sure to consume in controlled quantities to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

5. L-Theanine

As an additive generally found in different varieties of teas, L-Theanine has been shown to be a substance with positive cognitive properties.

L-theanine can create a sense of calmness and relaxation through the activation of various neurotransmitters in the brain.

Often said to provide a level of calm alertness, L-theanine can help increase focus without the jittery side effects.

Studies have shown L-theanine can increase alertness and improve overall attention span.

Due to the various brain-boosting abilities associated with L-theanine it’s no surprise many have turned to the supplement as a natural Adderall alternative.

6. Omega-3 Fish Oil

Known as one of the best supplements on the market for heart health and function, fish oil can also be beneficial for cognitive support.

Fish oil contains two types of fatty acids known as DHA and EPA.  DHA is a fatty acid proven to improve memory and attention span.

Fish oil is also a valuable supplement for preventing mental decline. In studies performed on aging populations, they found fish oil decreased memory loss and improved focus.

As one of the world’s most popular supplements, fish oil can provide cognitive benefits for all people regardless of health or age.

7. Huperzine A

Known as a Chinese based nootropic for improving cognitive function, Huperzine A can provide a wide range of mental and cognitive improvements.

Through the enhancement of the neurotransmitters, Huperzine A works to block acetylcholine inhibitors.

Translation - Huperzine A increases the acetylcholine activation in the brain leading to improvements in learning, attention span, and mental acuity.

Huperzine A can even be stacked with other nootropics to create a synergistic relationship to help take the place of Adderall.

8. Alpha GPC

One of the best supplements to take along with Huperzine A is Alpha GPC.

Many children suffer from decreased acetylcholine activity. Alpha GPC acts as a nootropic that is able to quickly bypass the blood brain barrier and actively enhance transmission of the acetylcholine neurotransmitter.

Due to the nature of Alpha GPC as a concentration and focus enhancer, it is widely regarded as a viable substitute for prescription Adderall.

9. L-Tyrosine

Although not as widely used as some of the other nootropics mentioned, L-tyrosine can be a valuable supplement for people seeking an Adderall alternative.

Through its ability to increase transmission of dopamine and noradrenaline, it has the ability to improve focus and concentration during times of stress.

It can act as a mood stabilizer reducing feelings of anxiety and restlessness. For people having trouble focusing on tasks during stressful situations, L-Tyrosine may be the right solution for them.

10. GABA

GABA or gamma-Aminobutyric-acid, is a neurotransmitter within the central nervous system.

It can often be used as a sleeping aid but it’s main purpose is stabilizing brain equilibrium. By inhibiting glutamate receptors, it can provide a mechanism for increasing brain function.

Many people with lower natural GABA levels suffer from insomnia and ADHD. By counteracting these chemical imbalances within the brain, people with ADHD may be able to use the supplement in place of traditional Adderall.

By increasing serotonin levels and controlling neurotransmission, many people may benefit from regular GABA use.

11. Magnesium

Magnesium is the fourth most common mineral found within the body. Deficiencies of magnesium have been linked to hyperactivity within the brain, possibly leading to ADHD as a side effect.

In studies performed on children, magnesium was found to lower the rate of hyperactivity thereby decreasing the incidence of ADHD.

Lack of sufficient magnesium in the body has also been linked to insufficient sleep patterns, lack of focus, and irritability.

Correcting magnesium deficiencies may be a natural solution for offsetting some of the side effects commonly associated with ADHD.

Should you try Natural Adderall Alternatives?

Adderall can be an effective form of treatment for people suffering from the effects of ADHD. The problem with Adderall comes in the form of abuse and psychological dependency when taken unprescribed or in excess.

Students across the world use the drug as a study tool and recreational substance. However, they should be aware of the harmful and potentially deadly side effects that may be associated with taking the drug without a prescription.

Recreational use of Adderall is not recommended and should only be taken when prescribed by a licensed medical professional.

If you are struggling with focus or cognition, it may be in your best interest to look into natural Adderall alternatives before seeking prescription medication.

Though the nootropics suggested may not work for every individual, they could be a viable alternative to traditional medicine. It’s always best to seek the advice of your doctor before taking any new type of drug or supplement.

Try various options to determine which one works best for you. Eventually, you will find the right choice that fits within your lifestyle.

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