Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health condition which causes unusual levels of hyperactivity and impulsive behaviors. Individuals suffering from ADHD find it difficult to focus on a single task or sit still for a long period.
Many adults experience inattention and changes in energy levels. A person with ADHD often experiences this to a greater extent compared to people who do not. It can also have a significant effect on their studies, work, and home life.
Both adults and children can have ADHD. Diagnosis is recognized by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).
In recent studies, ADHD has been seen to have a significant relationship with dopamine. People with ADHD have very low dopamine levels in the brain. Therefore, when treating patients with this disorder, it is important to analyze the issues caused by the gene variations.
Causes of ADHD
Clinical trials are ongoing to study causes, and risk factors and to find better ways to manage and reduce the chances of an individual having ADHD as well as effective medications for treatment.
The causes and risk factors for adult ADHD also known as adult ADD (Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) are unknown, however, recent data shows that genetics plays an important role in patients with this disorder. Also, it is important to note that family members of individuals with ADHD are often affected.
In addition to genetics, scientists are studying other likely causes and risk factors including brain injury, exposure to environmental risks (e.g., lead) during pregnancy or at a young age, alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy, premature delivery and low birth weight.
Additionally, research does not support the popular belief that ADHD is caused by eating food with excess sugar, fatigue, parenting, or social and environmental factors such as poverty or family chaos.
In adults, the symptoms of ADHD are quite difficult to define due to lack of research. As ADHD is a developmental disorder, it is believed it cannot develop in adults without its first appearance during childhood. However, symptoms of ADHD in children and teenagers often continue into adulthood.
The way inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness occur in adults can differ from the way they occur in children. For example, hyperactivity tends to decrease in adults, while inattentiveness tends to remain as the pressures of adult life increase. Adult symptoms of ADHD are mild compared to childhood symptoms.
Medical doctors and other health professionals have suggested the following as a list of symptoms in adults with ADHD.
They include carelessness, lack of attention to detail, continually starting new tasks before finishing old ones, poor organisational skills, inability to focus, continually losing things, forgetfulness, restlessness, difficulty keeping quiet, speaking out of turn, blurting out responses, interrupting others, mood swings, irritability, a quick temper, inability to deal with stress, extreme impatience, taking risks in activities, little or no regard for personal safety or the safety of others such as driving dangerously.
Types of ADHD
ADHD presents itself in different ways depending on the strongest symptom in the individual. It could be:
- Predominantly Inattentive Presentation: It is hard for the individual to compose or finish a task, focus, follow instructions or have conversations. They are easily distracted in their day-to-day activities.
- Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation: The patient suffers from anxiety and talks a lot. It is hard to sit still for long. Young children may run, jump or climb constantly. The individual experiences restlessness, increase wakefulness and has trouble with impulsivity. They lack attention and inability to listen to directions.
- Combined Presentation: Symptoms of the above two types are equally present in the patient.
There might be changes in presentations over time because symptoms too can change.
There are several life-threatening complications associated with ADHD. They include;
- Teens with ADHD often experience academic issues and failure.
- Children and adults with ADHD tend to be prone to accidents because of their impulsive nature and constant need for movement.
- Children and adults with ADHD may suffer from low self-esteem
- Social interaction may be quite difficult in those with ADHD as their conversation may seem erratic, or they may suffer difficulty following a storyline or interrupt the person talking.
Alcohol and drug abuse is also a risk for adults with ADHD due to difficulty with impulse control.
ADHD has not been discovered to cause other developmental or psychological issues. However, children suffering from ADHD are likely to have other conditions such as:
- Learning disabilities and being unable to communicate effectively.
- Overwhelming worry and nervousness are associated with anxiety disorders.
- Depression is the most common occurrence in those with ADHD.
- Irritability and frustration issues are characteristic of disruptive mood disorder (something commonly experienced in those with ADHD).
- ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) is commonly defined by a pattern of defiant, hostile and negative behaviour towards those in authority. In the case of a child with ADHD, they may seem rebellious to their parent’s authority and instructions.
- Depression and manic behaviour, are often the result of bipolar disorder.
- Tourette syndrome is also seen in those with ADHD. The condition is characterised by both motor and vocal tics.
How Does Modafinil Work?
Modafinil (drug brand name: Provigil) has various mechanisms of action. One of the modafinil’s mechanisms of action is to increase dopamine concentrations in the brain. Although, this occurs in a slightly different way to other drugs (stimulants with similar effects) like Adderall or Ritalin.
Furthermore, Modafinil (Provigil) prevents dopamine from being absorbed and broken down instead of boosting its production. There is minimal effect on the brain unlike other drugs thus, modafinil users rarely suffer from the crashes or serious side effects many people taking Adderall and Ritalin experience.
However, modafinil (Provigil) is not without side effects but toxicity or quick tolerance and addiction should be the first focus. There are a lot of things to keep in mind. Being a wakefulness-promoting agent (stimulant) and officially used to treat sleep disorders, obstructive sleep apnea, excessive daytime sleepiness (or excessive sleepiness), clinical depression, Modafinil may be disruptive to your regular sleep pattern, hence, trouble sleeping well.
Allergic reaction is also possible in some people which is similar to other drugs used in the treatment of ADHD.
In addition, treatment with modafinil (Provigil) can also lead to decreased appetite, dry mouth, fatigue and anxiety in some instances. Unlike other prescription drugs used in the treatment of ADHD, modafinil has very low addiction potential.
In the US, modafinil is a Schedule IV drug (substance abuse is possible) prescribed by a doctor, or you can either buy modafinil online or at your local pharmacy with a prescription from your doctor.
Modafinil and Dopamine
The use of modafinil (Provigil) has been shown to increase dopamine concentrations in the brain. This is similar to other prescribed medications for ADHD such as Ritalin and Adderall. It increases the hormone’s focus in the synapses by preventing the neurons from reabsorbing and breaking it down, thus, effects last longer.
This hormone is very vital to life, it helps the mind focus on one thing at a time. This is what patients with ADHD cannot do.
Dopamine is involved in the reward centre of the brain; the region within the brain that causes a release of molecules like oxytocin that make us feel good.
Unfortunately, it is this same centre that is also responsible for addiction. Because of the continual release of oxytocin, the mind starts to crave this feeling, which ultimately leads to addiction to Modafinil (Provigil). It is therefore essential to take the required dose and get the right drug information before using modafinil (Provigil) to avoid this problem.
Modafinil for ADHD and Clinical Depression
In clinical trials, Modafinil was discovered to be more effective than a placebo in treating attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children (aged 6 years and above) and adults. Modafinil has also been shown to improve cognition and executive function in children with ADHD.
Although Modafinil has not been approved by the federal government, many people with ADHD notice that Modafinil help them focus. Modafinil is not a perfect cure for this disorder, but it can be used to manage some ADHD symptoms. Modafinil is also used for other related conditions, such as narcolepsy, sleep apnea, and clinical depression.
Also, there are several benefits to using Modafinil for this disorder. It is an effective medication, safe and does not have any severe side effects. Modafinil’s half-life is 15 hours compared to Adderall’s, which is 9-14 hours, therefore, can easily cause insomnia if taken late in the day.
Is Modafinil FDA Approved for ADHD?
The approval of modafinil (Provigil) by the FDA for treating ADHD remains a controversial one. Though stimulants such as Adderall are effective treatments for ADHD, quite many patients (about 40%) do not respond to their treatments.
The comparison between Modafinil and Adderall is a difficult thing to do. While the drugs work in very different ways, they can produce some similar health benefits. Due to these similar health benefits, many people believe they can use them interchangeably for ADHD.
Modafinil (Provigil), according to the FDA, affects both attention and behavior. However, the doctor might not be able to predict which drug will work best for each patient, thus, the need for medication trials to determine which dosage is best for which patient.
The dose of Modafinil in ADHD patients varies from one person to the other. Ensure to follow the instructions given by your doctor and the instructions on the label. Do not change the dosage without approval from your doctor. Dosing depends on the strength of the medicine, the number of doses you take daily, and the duration of treatment. However, it is important to know the length of time to take the medication to achieve desired results.
Dosage of Modafinil in ADHD
The recommended Modafinil dosage is 200mg per day, taken orally first thing in the morning with water. It is the same as the standard Modafinil dosage prescribed for sleeping disorders. In elderly patients or those with decreased kidney function, a reduced dosage of 100mg per day is appropriate.
The alternative to using modafinil every day is taking it four times per week. Then, tolerance build-up and withdrawal symptoms will be less of a problem. However, not using it daily may as well have other downsides, such as reduced effectiveness. It is important to stick to the dose of Modafinil recommended by the doctor.
Side Effects of Using Modafinil
Besides insomnia, Modafinil may increase blood pressure, and trigger anxiety; very serious in people who are usually anxious. Another common side effect is headache usually in the majority of users not consuming enough water. However, some people experience headaches despite staying well hydrated.
Other relatively common side effects include dry mouth, upset stomach, and a reduced appetite. Proper nutrition is important when using Modafinil to minimize these effects.
Most side effects are mild and go away after a few days of taking the medication. Also, this is not the entire list of possible side effects, and drug interactions (especially with herbal supplements), if you notice any effects report them to your doctor.
Modafinil Alternatives in Treating ADHD
Neurotherapy helps patients improve brain function, which allows them to respond better when experiencing overwhelming emotions like anger, fear, or sadness.
Learning to self-regulate by improving brain function through neurotherapy allows patients to reduce or eliminate symptoms of brain dysregulation related to various mental health disorders and neurological conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, borderline personality disorder, and addiction.
ADHD is a condition that many people in the US and, around the world struggle with daily. It may lead to social rejection, difficulties studying, or problems finding and keeping employment.
Although Modafinil is not officially approved as a treatment for ADHD, it is still a viable option. Some patients claimed that it works better than any currently FDA-approved solution, especially in the long term.
Modafinil may have benefits over current therapies for ADHD with once-a-day administration and has fewer reinforcing properties than traditional stimulants.
Modafinil could potentially be a valuable new treatment option for patients with ADHD. However, in-depth comparative studies with current first-line treatments for ADHD and longer-term independent studies are needed to ascertain the drug’s safety before Modafinil’s role in the treatment of ADHD can be fully established.