When it comes to addressing common symptoms of ADHD, from inattention to hyperactivity, one of the most popular forms of treatments is the stimulant medication Adderall®. Like other stimulants, Adderall works by targeting brain chemicals like dopamine and norepinephrine to reduce symptoms of ADHD. It is available by prescription only.
A newer type of stimulant that is available without a prescription is Thesis nootropics, which contains ingredients like functional mushrooms, choline, vitamins, and adaptogens to enhance cognitive function. Though they are not recommended to treat any health condition, including ADHD, many people do use them to manage symptoms like inattention and hyperactivity to avoid the side effects associated with prescription stimulants like Adderall.
But do they work? This is what we’ll explore in the following article: which product is better for ADHD, the side effects of each, and alternative medications to consider.
ADHD Medication Overview
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects a person’s ability to focus, control impulses, and regulate their emotions. Medications are often a key component of ADHD treatment and there are several different types. They include:
- Stimulant Medications: Stimulant medications work by increasing the levels of certain neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain to improve attention and impulsive control. Examples include Adderall, Ritalin®, Concerta®, and Vvvanse®. These are the most commonly prescribed ADHD medications and are sometimes taken as needed.
- Non-Stimulant Medications: Though stimulants are the most common drugs for ADHD, in some cases, a doctor will prescribe non-stimulant ADHD meds if a patient doesn’t respond to stimulants or if side effects are too intense. Non-stimulant meds also target brain chemicals to control symptoms of ADHD, but these drugs tend to work slower than stimulants and are typically dosed for daily use. Examples include Strattera®, Intuniv®, and Kapvay®.
- Other Medications: In some cases, doctors may prescribe antidepressants, such as Wellbutrin®, tricyclic antidepressants, or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) like Effexor® if the patient doesn’t respond to stimulants or non-stimulants. Alternatively, some individuals consider taking non-prescription homeopathic medications like Brillia to avoid the side effects associated with prescription drugs or to avoid having to increase the dosage of current prescription drugs. Brillia is designed to reduce symptoms associated with ADHD and anxiety without harsh, synthetic chemicals or harmful side effects, making it a suitable choice for those with co-occuring conditions.
Thesis Nootropics vs Adderall: Which is Better for ADHD?
Though nootropics like Thesis are sometimes referred to as “smart drugs” because of their ability to boost focus and cognitive function, they may not be as potent as prescription stimulant drugs like Adderall in reducing symptoms of ADHD. There are some distinct differences between their mechanisms of action, their safety profiles, and the research surrounding each.
The active ingredients in Thesis nootropics, which include functional mushrooms, vitamins, and herbal extracts are generally safe and gentle on the body, which could be appealing to those who have not responded well to prescription drugs like Adderall, which contains the chemical amphetamine. However, nutritional supplements like Thesis are not regulated by the FDA in the same way as prescription drugs, so questions remain surrounding their safety and efficacy.
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How Thesis Nootropics Work to Boost Cognitive Function
According to the manufacturers of Thesis, the ingredients in their formulas work across “multiple brain pathways,” to support brain energy, optimize neurotransmitter status, improve cerebral circulation, and enhance neuroprotection.1 Like many other supplements, Thesis is not intended to target the source of symptoms; rather the nutrients in their different blends can help the general function of the brain and improve overall well-being. This is different from medications, which target specific chemical imbalances in the brain to stop the instigation of symptoms altogether. Some of the research-backed nutrients include:
- Lion’s mane mushroom: May increase levels of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) to improve clarity and focus2
- Vitamin B12: May improve attention and mood3
- Bacopa monnieri: May improve memory4
- Tyrosine: May increase dopamine synthesis5
- L-Phenylalanine: May reduce depressive symptoms6
- Panax ginseng: May improve executive function (when combined with omega-3s)7
What to Know About Adderall
First approved in 1996, Adderall is a prescription drug consisting of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, which are central nervous system stimulants that bind to dopamine and norepinephrine receptors in the brain.8 This binding effect increases the levels of these neurotransmitters, which is thought to improve concentration and alertness while reducing hyperactivity and impulsivity.
Though Adderall and other stimulant medications are highly effective for many and typically a first-line treatment, this medication is associated with a number of side effects, including headache, upset stomach, and decreased appetite — which is one of the reasons many try to avoid using them to see if more gentle options can give the level of support that is adequate. Adderall is also notorious for being misused and abused by high school and college students due its reputation as a study aid and euphoria inducer.
Side Effects of Both
Though the side effects of Thesis nootropics are generally milder than those associated with Adderall, they should still be considered. Explore the side effects of both products below.
Thesis Nootropics Side Effects
Numerous Thesis reviewers have expressed satisfaction with the product, reporting no adverse effects. While some blends include caffeine, which can cause jitteriness or interfere with sleep, users have the option to exclude it. On the flip side, some reviewers have mentioned experiencing side effects such as nausea and insomnia9.
Thesis is also not suitable for children.
Adderall Side Effects
Adderall, like other stimulants, is known to cause a number of side effects in users. These side effects may go away on their own or you can work with your doctor to adjust your dosage or switch to another medication.
Side effects of Adderall include:
- Upset stomach
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Mood changes
- Fast heart rate
- Dry mouth
Which Product is More Effective?
When it comes to Thesis vs Adderall for ADHD, reviews are mixed. Adderall seems to outshine Thesis in terms of efficacy, but it does come with a higher risk of more serious side effects.
Here is a sampling of the reviews of Thesis on TikTok and Reddit:
- Worked for a few hours, then downhill: TikTok user mikerapadas said: “Motivation [blend] provided me a real feeling of drive. I could feel myself being pulled towards my task and I felt little hints of extra optimism. But…it lasted only a few hours. After that came the negatives: mainly, I just felt less well overall; my temper was slightly more sensitive, and I could feel myself getting annoyed a lot more easily.”10
- More focused, but poor sleep: Reddit user jamie_choo wrote: “Not sure if it's just a placebo effect but I do feel more focused throughout the day. However, I've been losing sleep in the last couple of days since my mind is way more active at night than usual.”11
Reviews on Adderall are also mixed, but lean toward the positive when it comes to efficacy alone. Adderall has an average rating of 7.2 out of 10 from a total of 372 reviews On Drugs.com. Sixty-four percent of reviewers reported a positive experience, while 20 percent reported a negative experience.12 Negative reviews of Adderall have more to do with the side effects than efficacy, with remarks that the medication caused rapid heart rate, stomach pains, anxiety, insomnia, hallucinations, and suicidal ideation.13
Alternative ADHD Medications
If you’re looking for something safe and impactful to reduce ADHD symptoms, there are other options beyond nootropic supplements and prescription ADHD medication.
Brillia is one alternative option to consider. Free from harsh, synthetic chemicals and harmful side effects, Brillia is a clinically-proven non-prescription homeopathic medication that contains targeted antibodies to the S100B protein, a crucial regulator of various brain processes, both intracellular and extracellular. By modulating the activity of this protein, Brillia can effectively manage symptoms of ADHD and anxiety without causing side effects like drowsiness, nausea, decreased appetite, dependency, nor does it mask the personality in any way.
It's worth noting that Brillia does not disrupt blood chemistry, a common feature of stimulant medications like Adderall. In balancing the S100B protein Brillia also helps to normalize the levels of monoamines, including dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, in different brain regions, mirroring the neurotransmitter targets of drugs like Adderall.
In contrast to dietary supplements like Thesis, Brillia adheres to rigorous FDA standards and regulations, encompassing quality, claims, and labeling. The product's active and inactive ingredients must undergo thorough review, and supporting evidence for its claims is required for sale in the United States. Backed by clinical evidence supporting its safety and efficacy, Brillia can be safely used by children as young as five and adults, without the need for an official diagnosis or medical supervision.
Brillia is also incredibly versatile. You can use the medication as an alternative to prescription medication or in conjunction with prescription medication to address lingering symptoms like anxiety (a common side effect of Adderall and other stimulant medications). Some users take Brillia with their prescription medication to avoid having to increase the dosage of their current meds, which also increases the likelihood of side effects.
If you choose to transition to Brillia from a prescription medication, we ask that you do so under the guidance of your doctor to ensure this path is right for you.
How to Choose Which One is Right for You
There is no single way to treat ADHD and what may work for you may not work as well for another person. Weighing the pros and cons of each option available is the best way to make an informed decision regarding your own care. At Brillia, we recommend starting with healthy lifestyle changes, including following a nutritious diet, getting enough sleep, controlling your screen time, and practicing mindfulness techniques regularly. These are all powerful factors that can make an impactful improvement in your symptoms and potentially help you avoid medications and supplements altogether.
If you need more support and choose to try Brillia, we ask that you find the dose that best meets your needs and remain consistent with your dosage while the product builds up in your system. Brillia is a gentle and cumulative product, and your body relies on a steady trickle of the active ingredient to get the best results. Most users see a result in 3-4 weeks, but it may take longer. If you need help finding the right dose, our Customer Care team is always available to offer guidance to ensure you experience the best results with Brillia. You’ll also have access to a wide community of Brillia users who can share tips and resources on how to make the most of your Brillia journey.
To explore other options on managing symptoms of ADHD with or without prescription medication, visit the Brillia(nce) Resource Center and learn how a holistic approach can help you develop the tools you need to control your symptoms long-term.
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