Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health condition that affects millions of people across the USA. While mainly affecting children, the condition can continue into adulthood.
The problem is that ADHD makes it difficult for people to focus on simple tasks. Often, they’re easily distracted and have trouble organizing daily tasks.
Put simply, ADHD can make daily life much more complicated.
That leads people with ADHD to seek out medication, usually stimulants. These stimulants have a host of side effects and can even create a dependency.
However, people have begun to turn to a radically different treatment—psychedelics. People with ADHD have started experimenting with microdosing psychedelics.
Many believe that microdosing psychedelics has helped with ADHD immensely. That’s gotten researchers interested in microdosing psychedelics as a potential treatment for ADHD.
If you’d like to know more about ADHD, its treatment, and why many people are turning to psychedelics, then continue reading below.
What Is ADHD?
ADHD is a condition that causes unusual levels of hyperactivity and impulsive behaviors. People with ADHD have difficulty sitting still for long periods of time or focusing on a single task.
Currently, it’s believed that there are three types of ADHD:
- Predominantly Inattentive Presentation
- Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation
- Combined Presentation
Someone with predominantly inattentive presentation will have trouble organizing a task, paying attention to details, and following instructions or conversations.
Others with hyperactive-impulsive presentations will often fidget and talk a lot. People with this type of ADHD feel restless and struggle with impulsivity.
The third type is a combination of symptoms from the other two. However, symptoms can change over time, and so can the type of ADHD that a person has.
How Is ADHD Normally Treated?
ADHD is normally treated through medication and behavioral therapy. However, like many other mental disorders, many people skip the therapy part of treatment.
That leaves medication as the primary source of treatment for ADHD. Most of these treatments are known as stimulants.
That’s because they’re central nervous system (CNS) stimulants. They work by increasing the amounts of two brain neurotransmitters called dopamine and norepinephrine.
When these neurotransmitters are elevated, it helps people with ADHD boost their concentration while reducing impulsive behaviors.
The most common of these drugs are methylphenidate (Ritalin) and amphetamine-based stimulants like Adderall. However, there are other non-stimulant medications available.
Unfortunately, these non-stimulant medications include antidepressants like Wellbutrin.
What’s the Problem With Stimulants?
The problem with stimulants is their long-term effects and potential for abuse. For starters, stimulants work by raising blood pressure and heart rate.
On top of that, they can sometimes cause people to have trouble sleeping. The stimulating nature of the drugs can lead to a troubled sleep schedule.
Another common side effect is eating issues. Extended-release capsules can suppress appetite and then come back with a vengeance once the medication wears off.
However, the main issue with stimulants is that it seems like their effects wear off over time. Studies have shown that using stimulants leads to a quickly building tolerance.
That means that the effectiveness of stimulants may wear off over time. This decreased effectiveness can lead to people using more medication than prescribed.
ADHD and Psychedelics
Over the past decade, there’s been a growing interest in the therapeutic effects of psychedelics. It turns out that psychedelics may provide relief for people suffering from ADHD symptoms.
Although the evidence is scant, it’s theorized that psychedelics may be able to help with ADHD. That’s because ADHD usually comes with co-existing conditions.
Researchers have found that having ADHD can trigger anxiety and depression disorders. That’s because the symptoms of ADHD often lead to trouble maintaining relationships and daily tasks.
Besides that, there may be a connection between psychedelics and the brain mechanisms of ADHD. Researchers think that having less brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) may lead to ADHD.
The interesting part is that psychedelics like psilocybin and LSD may be able to increase levels of BDNF. That can lead to an easing of ADHD symptoms by increasing treating one underlying condition of ADHD.
Microdosing Psychedelics for ADHD
One problem with psychedelics is that many people don’t want to experience a psychedelic trip to get the benefits. On top of that, it’s not realistic to take a strong dose of psychedelics regularly.
That’s where microdosing comes in. Microdosing is the concept of taking a sub-perceptual dose of psychedelics—usually psilocybin or LSD.
That means that one won’t feel the psychedelic effects of the substances. However, it’s thought that one can still take advantage of the therapeutic effects.
Although there aren’t many official studies, there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that microdosing psychedelics can help ADHD.
For example, researchers conducted an online questionnaire with over 3,500 participants who microdosed psychedelics. The researchers asked participants why they were microdosing and how effective they felt it was.
In the end, the researchers found that microdosing psychedelics was overwhelmingly positive for those with ADHD and ADD. Of course, this is not a professionally conducted clinical trial, so further research is needed.
Are Psychedelics the Future of ADHD Treatment?
Right now, the world is going through a psychedelic revival. Interest in psychedelic research is at an all-time high.
That means that there’s the perfect foundation for further research on ADHD and microdosing psychedelics. With the few studies that are already available, there’s a strong case to see if psychedelics can indeed be effective for ADHD.
In fact, one company is already taking the initiative. MindMed, a psychedelic biotech company, recently got the green light to perform a small-scale study of microdosing LSD for adult ADHD.
Many people will be eagerly awaiting the result of this study, which will likely take a long while to complete. Unfortunately, the illegal nature of psychedelics creates miles of red tape for companies and scientists to perform research.
Hopefully, this study and others will find that psychedelics are effective for ADHD. If that’s the case, we might see a much safer and more holistic future for treating ADHD.