In a perfect world, our health would always be in order and we would not suffer from any ailments or conditions.
Unfortunately, this perfect world is only attainable in our dreams and some of us face challenges to our physical and mental health, like those of us who struggle with conditions like ADHD.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a complex health disorder that affects one’s mental system so that certain aspects of their everyday social life are not in order.
The disorder normally occurs in childhood and continues to adulthood. Some of the common symptoms of ADHD in children include hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention and all these affect a child’s functioning, growth and development.
Some of the symptoms that apply to adults include anxiety, memory problems, impulsiveness, addictions and substance abuse, depression, abrupt mood changes, anger problems and relationship problems among others.
It is not easy to identify this disease and it takes the skills of a qualified medical practitioner, such as a licensed pediatrician, psychiatrist or psychologist to evaluate and come up with the right diagnosis for this disease.
The symptoms vary among different people, meaning two people suffering from the disorder could portray different signs and symptoms. The disease is diagnosed after several tests and criteria are used. For a person diagnosed with this disorder, the symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity must be persistent and chronic.
ADHD comes with no prevention or cure. Discovering the disease early enough is however quite beneficial since you are able to come up with an efficient management plan, which includes therapy and use of medication.
Both Focalin and Adderall are prescription stimulants used to treat ADHD. As much as the two stimulants are used to treat the same disorder, there are a number of differences between the two. There are a couple of similarities as well.
The process for diagnosis from medical professionals to determine which drug is the best fit for your particular situation, personality, and medical history is based on the following:
Adderall is a drug that contains a combination of both amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. The two are stimulants which have a calming effect on the central nervous system since they effect on the chemicals in the brain and nerves which lead to impulse control and hyperactivity. Adderall is an amphetamine since this is the active ingredient in the stimulant.
It has the effect of controlling one’s activities, increasing attention spans as well as preventing symptoms of narcolepsy which is a brain disorder that leads to interruptions in the sleep-wake cycle.
All these functions are achieved by regulating the amount of dopamine and norepinephrine chemicals in the brain thereby changing brain chemistry as well as assisting neurotransmitters to send messages between nerve cells in the brain. Treating ADHD with Adderall was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1966.
Focalin is a drug that contains dexmemethylphenidate, a mild stimulant used by the central nervous system to treat ADHD.
It is administered in tablet form and it can be bought over the counter or it can be prescribed by a doctor. Focalin is similar to Ritalin and Concerta in function. It is used in the treatment of ADHD since it has a stimulating effect so that there is increased release of chemical neurotransmitter levels in the brain.
It works in a manner similar to that of Adderall. This medication was approved by the FDA in 2005 and it is processed by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.
Adderall has been approved for use in the treatment of ADHD by the Food and Drug Administration. The amphetamine should be used only under the prescription of a doctor since using it inappropriately or for non-medical reasons could lead to potential dependence, drug abuse and could lead to withdrawals. It is habit-forming if overdosed or used without prescription.
The user should use the stimulant alongside engaging in other forms of treatment such as special education, diet, exercise, supplements, behavior modification as well as regular counseling. Adderall stays active in a person’s body longer than Focalin.
Focalin should be used under the doctor’s prescription since it is addictive in nature if used for the wrong reason or beyond the recommended dosage.
Dexmethylphenidate which is a mild stimulant has the effect of blocking the reuptake of dopamine and norepinephrine into the presynaptic neuron and this way there is increased released monoamines into the extra neuronal space. This form of medication should be used alongside other forms of treatment such as therapeutic treatments. These include psychotherapy and behavior therapy.
Adderall should be taken according to the prescription of a doctor or a pharmacist to avoid situations of overdosing or under dosing. The intake also varies with age.
The medication is taken in the form or tablets either once, twice or thrice a day. Successive doses should be given after 4-6 hours. The dosage should not exceed a total of 40 mg per day. It should be prescribed to children above the age three. Adderall is able to offer more dosage options, compared to Focalin, therefore, it is simpler to come up with accurate adjustments in a patient’s prescription.
The stimulant has a milder effect than Adderall, therefore, it does not last in the system long. Focalin is able to function 4-6 hours after it is administered.
The amount of dosage may vary for different patients but there is a set maximum of the amount that must not be exceeded and that is 40 mg per day. The medication should not be ministered to children under the age of three.
The impact that this stimulant has on the brain is that it balances the neurotransmitters, norepinephrine and dopamine, in the brain by increasing their release. There is therefore proper coordination of body activities since the signals will be effectively relayed between the neurons.
This will, in turn, lead to controlled symptoms for the ADHD patient for cases of difficulty in concentrating, ability to keep calm as well as control of actions. Adderall works such that it stimulates release of more dopamine and norepinephrine from the vesicles.
Focalin works such that it inhibits the re-uptake of dopamine and norepinephrine and this way their concentration is increased in the extra-neuronal space. The chemicals have a resultant effect on controlling hyperactivity and impulse control. The patient is, in turn, able to feel more focused and alert in whatever they are doing.
Tests have been done on patients, mainly children, suffering from the disorder and it has proven to be effective for most of the patients.
The positives about using the stimulant are that if you suffer from ADHD disorder, you are able to reduce impulsivity and hyperactivity, improve on your ability to focus, perform tasks and learn and improve the ability to keep calm. Adderall is approved for treating both ADHD and narcolepsy, while Focalin is only approved for treating ADHD.
More than 80% of patients who have used this stimulant have recorded massive improvement with respect to the disorder. They are able to concentrate and focus, control their emotions and anger as well as perform tasks to completion. They are also able to maintain good relationships with people unlike before.
The drug is highly addictive and therefore it should only be used under a doctor’s prescription. It is a schedule 2 controlled medication and therefore it should be administered in the right dosage since overdosing could also slowly lead to addiction.
The stimulant, just like any other, has serious withdrawal effects as well. There are a couple of side effects associated with this particular stimulant. A few may occur when it is medically approved but most occur when it is abused.
The mild side effects include a persistent headache, nausea, stomach upsets, loss of appetite, diarrhea or constipation, difficulties in breathing, fatigue and restlessness among others.
The severe side effects which result from long-term abuse include stunted growth and general poor health for children, seizures, chest pains, eyesight problems, cardiovascular problems, tremors and could even lead to coma.
Before taking this stimulant, you should consult your doctor for a checkup since there are some situations when you are supposed to avoid the drug as much as possible. You should not use the drug if you have a history of heart problems such as high blood pressure or any heart condition such as coronary artery.
There is a high probability that Adderall has a higher abuse potential than Focalin. Adderall contains two chemicals while Focalin only contains one
The stimulant has quite a number of side effects that result from its continued use. It is described as a Schedule 2 controlled medication. Some of the mild side effects include insomnia, loss of appetite, regular stomach upsets, persistent headaches, feelings of restlessness and anxiety, fatigue among many others.
Some of the serious side effects that result from abusing the drug in context for quite a long time include constant convulsions, problems with vision, abnormally high blood pressure, regular chest pains and uneven heart rates among others.
One should avoid situations where they are taking the drugs without prescription or overdosing their prescriptions. Also, you should conduct tests and checks to make sure you are eligible to use the drugs.
You should keep off the drugs if you have severe depression or high blood pressure, seizures or epilepsy, any heart condition whatsoever, heart attack, mental illness or substance addiction.