Adderall is a branded version of amphetamine-dextroamphetamine, a stimulant and Schedule II controlled substance capable of triggering many Adderall side effects.
The medication is typically prescribed to treat ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), and less frequently to treat narcolepsy. Adderall works by intensifying the effects of neurotransmitters in the brain that include norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin.
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Adderall comes in two forms:
- Adderall IR (instant release) lasting for 3 to 4 hours
- Adderall XR (extended release) lasting for up to 12 hours
Like all Schedule II substances, Adderall has some medical utility but a strong abuse and addiction profile. This guide highlights the main effects and Adderall side effects of this prescription stimulant.
Side Effects of Adderall
Stimulants like Adderall increase body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure levels. This serves to promote wakefulness while at the same time suppressing appetite and inducing a sense of calm and focus.
Adderall can induce positive effects when taken as directed by a prescribing physician. Abusing Adderall for non-medical purposes, though, can bring about dangerous side effects.
The sustained use or abuse of this stimulant can lead to changes to brain structures and the regulation of emotions. Chronic stimulant abuse is also hard on the lungs and cardiovascular system.
The most reported side effects of Adderall include:
- Stomach ache
- Dry mouth
- Appetite loss
- Mood swings
The most common side effects of Adderall IR are:
- Stomach ache
- Loss of appetite
- Dry mouth
- Reduced appetite
According to the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration), factors that include body mass, age, hormonal cycles, and co-occurring health conditions may influence the risk of experiencing Adderall side effects.
Serious side effects associated with Adderall abuse may include:
- Panic attacks
- Muscle weakness
- Kidney disease
- Sexual dysfunction
- Addiction (stimulant use disorder)
Adderall side effects in men include all of those outlined above.
Additionally, it is possible that some men who take Adderall may experience ED (erectile dysfunction). One of the primary Adderall effects is the constriction of blood vessels, changes that may affect the penis. Problems in getting and maintaining an erection may trigger changes to sex drive, embarrassment, and distress.
That said, research indicates that while some males report that Adderall adversely impacts their sex lives, many others do not experience ED, with some reporting an uptick in libido.
The side effects of Adderall in females have been poorly studied. Some research suggests that stimulants like Adderall may impact menstruation in females. Researchers believe that the effects of Adderall and other stimulants may be more acute during the estrogen-predominant phase of a woman’s menstrual cycle. This can lead to increased energy levels and euphoria. This intensifying of effects does not appear to occur during other phases of the menstrual cycle. More research is required to understand more fully whether Adderall affects females differently.
The effects of this prescription stimulant on pregnancy and fertility issues are also poorly understood. Some studies show a minor increase in pre-term deliveries and preeclampsia in those taking Adderall. Again, more research is needed to further understand the effects of Adderall on pregnant women. Voice any specific concerns you may have about taking Adderall while pregnant with your prescribing physician.
Effects of Adderall
Adderall effects may vary from person to person and depending on variables that include:
- Whether the medication is being prescribed or abused non-medically
Adderall increases heart rate and blood pressure. Over time, this can weaken or damage parts of the cardiovascular system, including:
Hypertension – the clinical term for high blood pressure – and tachycardia (elevated heart rate), are both commonly associated with stimulant abuse.
Chronic Adderall abuse may also trigger lung damage.
Other physical effects of Adderall abuse can include:
- Chest pain
- Heart palpitations
- Irregular heart rate
- Abdominal pain
- Gastrointestinal complications
- Increased urination
In those with underlying heart conditions, Adderall may lead to stroke, heart attack, or seizure.
Adderall reduces appetite, so it may bring about unhealthy weight loss or disordered eating.
Long-term use of Adderall is associated with pronounced mood swings or dramatic shifts in behavior.
In some cases, stimulants like Adderall may trigger panic attacks or psychosis involving delusions and hallucinations.
The New York Times reports that in rare cases, those taking Adderall may experience suicidal thoughts, even when using the medication as directed. The risk increases with non-medical use.
It is non-medical use of Adderall that often leads to the development of tolerance and physical dependence. In many cases, this prompts the development of Adderall addiction (stimulant use disorder, a chronic and relapsing condition. If you have been abusing Adderall or another prescription stimulant to this extent, we can help you move beyond the vicious cycle of Adderall abuse.
Adderall Addiction Treatment at California Detox
If you have developed an addiction to Adderall or any other stimulant, we can help you address the physical and psychological components of stimulant use disorder at California Detox in Laguna Beach.
To initiate your recovery as safely and comfortably as possible, we recommend our supervised medical detox program. Your treatment team can administer medications to reduce the intensity of the withdrawal process while monitoring for any clinical complications during detox. Emotional care is available around the clock to mitigate the cravings that often accompany drug withdrawal.
At California Detox, we provide treatment programs at all levels of intensity, including:
- Inpatient programs (residential rehab)
- IOPs (intensive outpatient programs)
- PHPs (partial hospitalization programs)
- Dual diagnosis treatment programs (for co-occurring disorders)
- Virtual IOPs (remote rehab program)
All treatment programs at our luxury beachside rehab offer personalized therapy that combines science-backed treatments and holistic interventions that may include:
- Medication-assisted treatment
- Counseling (individual and group)
- Family therapy
- Holistic therapies
Call admissions today at 949.694.8305 and start your recovery from Adderall addiction tomorrow and overcome Adderall side effects today.