When the general public thinks of recovery, most think of either Alcohol or Substance Abuse Disorder. In reality, many patients often are diagnosed with other conditions in addition to AUD or SUD. One common condition is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). If ADHD is diagnosed during recovery, a provider may prescribe Focalin. Likewise, the patient may already be taking Focalin for ADHD when they enter recovery. Focalin is an effective treatment option for ADHD, but can present challenges for patients in recovery. What exactly is Focalin, though? Let’s take a look at the following topics:
ADHD is one of many common conditions that affect patients with AUD/SUD. Scientists are just beginning to explore how these conditions affect one another. However, it is estimated that around 25% of adolescents with SUD/AUD also live with ADHD. Both SUD and ADHD are thought to affect dopamine levels in the body. Dopamine is one of the pleasure/reward hormones that the body produces. In normal circumstances, the body uses it to reward healthy behaviors like exercise or eating a meal. In patients with ADHD, dopamine levels may be incorrectly regulated by the brain. Common symptoms of ADHD can include:
For patients being treated for SUD/AUD, there are some considerations to keep in mind. First, Focalin can be habit forming if not carefully monitored by your care team. When you first enter treatment, your care team should conduct a full medical review. Be sure to tell them if you are taking Focalin during intake. This may affect which medications your team uses during treatment. Your team may also work with you to modify or alter treatment regimens as needed.
There are certain medications that cannot be taken with Focalin. Certain blood thinners and antidepressants can interact with Focalin. Likewise, tell your provider about any herbal or non-prescription treatments you may be using. Patients with heart problems may wish to avoid Focalin, as should patients with Tourette’s Syndrome. Finally, tell your provider about issues such as depression, mania, or bipolar disorder.
Focalin has been shown to treat ADHD symptoms effectively. However, there are other medications available as well. One such alternative is Vyvanse (generic name Lisdexamfetamine). Like Focalin, Vyvanse can be used to treat ADHD in adults or children. Vyvanse is also used to treat certain eating disorders. Like Focalin, though, Vyvanse can be habit forming. It is also not appropriate for many of the same medical conditions as Focalin. Despite the potential drawbacks, Vyvanse does provide an alternative for many patients. Your provider will be able to tell which treatment is best for you.
Some patients may choose to simply forgo medication and treat ADHD with therapy only. If you wish to consider this route, consult your provider first. Every situation is unique, and they will be able to help you make the best decision for your needs. Generally, though, therapy is a great choice whether or not you choose to use medication as well.