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ADHD Medication – Stimulants vs. Nonstimulants

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ADHD can be treated by a variety of medications, and the two most common drug classes used for treatment are stimulants and nonstimulants. The main difference between the two is that stimulants stimulate the Central Nervous System (CNS), and nonstimulants do not. Once stimulated, the CNS releases dopamine and adrenaline, prompting multiple reactions in the body, such as increased focus and a faster heart rate.

Welcome back to what in the adhd i’m sydney and today’s topic is adhd medication um but you already talked about that yes i know but i’ve gotten a lot of really great questions on previous videos and on social media so i wanted to make sure that i have all of the information for frequently asked questions all in one place for everyone but before we get into stimulants

And non-stimulants i wanted to start off with story time imagine you’re walking through the woods and you’re alone and it’s dark and maybe a storm is approaching you’re trying to keep your whole but you can’t help but feel a little nervous when all of a sudden you hear a noise after the initial what the was that moment what happens when we’re startled we have

What’s called the fight or flight response since the beginning of time humans have reacted to threats with a stress response that prepares our body to either run away or fight whatever the threat is of course this response isn’t always prompted by something that’s dangerous necessarily people commonly have this response to loud noises or everyday stressors so odds

Are you know what it feels like when your body goes into this mode during the fight-or-flight response the central nervous system or cns responds to the stimulation by releasing epinephrine also known as adrenaline this causes a few other things to happen in the body increased heart rate slowed digestion alertness faster breathing higher blood pressure dilated

Pupils and a burst of energy these things happen because your body is trying to prepare itself to fight or run side note and fun fact that i promise has relevance your digestive tract slows down its activity because during the fight-or-flight response your body is sending as much blood as it’s allowed to your extremities or your arms and legs you want more blood

Flow to the extremities because you’ll need them to either flee or throw hands so what does this have to do with adhd medication exactly as most of you know there are two classes of drugs that are commonly used to treat adhd stimulants and non-stimulants stimulants are going to stimulate the central nervous system while non-stimulants are not wait wait wait hold

Up play that again stimulants are going to stimulate the central nervous system while non-stimulants are not we just talked about what happens to the body when the central nervous system is stimulated but does that same idea apply here too the answer is yes when you take stimulant medication you’re giving your body synthetic forms of cns stimulants that in turn

Increase the production of adrenaline and dopamine that’s why some people experience the symptoms i mentioned earlier when they take stimulant medication an increased heart rate feeling alert and feeling energized many people will also have a decreased appetite after taking stimulants when the body pulls resources away from the digestive tract you’re not going

To get as many cues for hunger that you normally would without the stimulants see i told you the thing about digestion was relevant okay so now that we have a general idea of how stimulants work let’s go over the popular stimulant medications and the types of compounds that are in each of them first up adderall since it seems to be the most popular adderall’s

Main compounds are amphetamine and dextroamphetamine not to be confused with methamphetamine an illegal drug to put it simply these compounds increase dopamine and adrenaline levels which increase focus next up ritalin the long sciency name for this drug is methylphenidate hydrochloride through a slightly different mechanism than adderall this also increases

Dopamine and adrenaline and then there’s concerta this is methylphenidate without the hydrochloride even though the name is slightly different from retalin they’re essentially the same drug the only real difference between the two is that concerto only has extended release while ritalin also has immediate and an intermediate release the last stimulant i wanted

To talk about is vibance or lisdex amphetamine this is also known as lvans in some countries vyvanse is a special one because it has a different metabolic process in the body than the others when you ingest adderall ritalin focalin dexadrine and concerta the drugs get absorbed into your bloodstream and act on your central nervous system as they are in other words

Nothing too drastic is going to change about these drugs after ingesting them vivants however requires an additional step when being metabolized liz dexamphetamine is what’s called a pro-drug which means that it’s not in its final form just yet it first has to be metabolized by the liver once the lysdex amphetamine reaches your liver your liver will take a look

Around at its ingredients that it has in stock and combine them with the vivants sometime later the liver will start to produce dextroamphetamine which will then act on the cns and increase dopamine and adrenaline because your liver has to metabolize it before it can be useful vivants has a lower chance of being abused or causing dependency or addiction once your

Liver runs out of its own ingredients dextroamphetamine can no longer be made that day no matter how much lesdexamphetamine goes into your system vyvanse is also unique in the sense that you can take it with food and still experience its full effect this is because of the liver metabolism aspect when you take adderall or any of the other stimulant drugs i listed

It’s really important to time your meals around it if you eat too soon before or after you take your adderall or concerto or ritalin there’s a chance that it won’t be as effective so think about the capsule of stimulant meds going down into your stomach the potency and efficacy of the drug depends heavily on how quickly and efficiently your body can absorb it

Into your bloodstream if you throw adderall down with a cheeseburger and fries it’s going to get lost in there and be of little use to you citric acid and ascorbic acid also known as vitamin c are also important to watch for for all of the stimulant medications these act as a sort of magnet for amphetamines the amphetamines will be drawn out of the body if citric

Acid and ascorbic acid are there and sent to the kidneys to be filtered and excreted because of this it’s best to wait at least an hour to have anything with citric acid or vitamin c after taking your medicine now let’s move on to the non-stimulants unlike stimulants these do not stimulate the central nervous system non-stimulants then are a great option for

People with severe anxiety and or people that are very sensitive to stimulant medication there are four non-stimulants that i wanted to touch on for this video the most popular non-stimulant is wellbutrin or bupropion which is a norepinephrine dopamine reuptake inhibitor a type of antidepressant another popular non-stimulant slash antidepressant is strotera or

Etomoxetine a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor and then there are two other well-known non-stimulants that are referred to as cognition enhancing medications rather than being full-blown antidepressants like stratera and wellbutrin the first is guanfacine which is a centrally acting alpha-2a adrenergic receptor agonist whatever that means and then

There’s clonidine a centrally acting alpha agonist hypotensive agent whatever that means side note i’m joking of course if someone really wants to know the science behind these drug classes i don’t mind researching it and getting back to you but for simplicity’s sake we’re just going to move forward for this video now that we have the big words out of the way

Let’s talk about dosage non-stimulants need to be taken every day in order to notice them working while stimulants can be taken once every few days or however often you want to take them and still have full efficacy each time non-stimulants need time to build up in the system before they really start to make a difference this can take anywhere between two to

Six weeks some people swear that they can feel the non-stimulants working immediately but this is more likely a general reaction from your body because something new is in your system or you know it could just be good old placebo effect i’ve had a few people ask me why certain adhd medications work for them and others don’t and if there’s a way to determine

Which one is best for you without having to try all the times first let’s think back to what i mentioned to the different compounds in each of the medications everyone’s body is different and that applies to how we metabolize drugs too here’s a personal example adderall works really well for me but i’ve also tried wellbutrin and vyvance neither of them worked

Well butrin made me feel depressed and vivants made me kinda tired and made my armpits smell weird yes that’s the whole thing and i have an entire blog post on my website explaining the science behind body odor and medication on the other hand i know people who hate adderall because it makes them jittery or nauseous or it just doesn’t work for them those same

People swear by vyvanse or wellbutrin it all comes down to how your body processes and metabolizes certain drugs and compounds lucky for you there is a way you can find out which drugs would work best with your body’s metabolism process all it takes is a quick cheek swab or blood test these are called pharmacogenetic tests pharmacogenetic tests can be ordered

By your doctor when your samples are sent off to a lab the scientists extract your dna and determine your body’s specific drug preferences based on your genotype for different metabolism genes i’ll link a website for more information on these tests if you’re interested in learning more about genetic testing for medication lastly i wanted to go over side effects

Things to watch out for and what to do if you’re concerned about your medication some of the super common side effects experienced by people taking adhd medication are decrease in appetite dry mouth headaches insomnia diarrhea increased sweating and body odor and tachycardia which is when your heart beats faster other side effects to watch out for that are far

More serious extreme weight loss heart palpitations severe nausea vomiting seizures panic attacks and a sharp increase in blood pressure if at any time you’re concerned about your medication whether you’re bothered by the side effects or you don’t feel the medication working it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor about it they could change your dosage

Or switch medication brands altogether if your doctor is unavailable pharmacists are also helpful professionals to talk to alright that is all i have for you on adhd medication today if you have any additional comments or questions feel free to leave them in the comment section below don’t forget to like and subscribe follow me on twitter join my facebook group

Read my blog oh and subscribe to my patreon where you can get access to so many cool things like scientific literature reading lists for adhd topics and all of my notes on said topics patrons also get first dibs on topic requests for videos blogs and surveys i will see you all next time on what in the adhd stay weird

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ADHD Medication – Stimulants vs. Nonstimulants By What in the ADHD?