What Are the Long-Term Effects Adderall of Use?
Adderall is a medication often used in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is usually used in conjunction with therapy and other treatments. In some cases, Adderall is used to treat narcolepsy, and it can be prescribed to help people stay awake.
According to WebMD, the medication is a combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine, both of which are stimulants. Adderall helps increase concentration, focus, and the ability to pay attention. It can also reduce squirming.
The medication works by increasing the effects of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. It’s not meant to help people stay awake if they don’t have sleep disorders, and those who take it to stay awake might become dependent on it. For this reason, doctors tend to prescribe the lowest possible dose and increase the dose slowly over time, as needed.
Healthline states that under US law, Adderall is treated as a controlled substance, and it’s illegal to buy or sell the drug without a prescription.Long-term use of Adderall has been linked to weight loss, tremors, and decreased dopamine levels over time. Because it affects the nervous systems, there could be damage to nerve cells, which increases the likelihood of a stroke.
One must consult a doctor before stopping use of Adderall, since not taking, after a period of consistent use, could cause a “crash.”
Gradually reducing Adderall intake before stopping its use altogether can keep people from experiencing withdrawal symptoms, such as:
- Extreme hunger
- Trouble sleeping; some people may be unable to sleep while others sleep excessively
- Irritability or anxiety
- Fatigue or decreased energy
- Cravings for more; some people report an inability to feel “normal” without Adderall
- Suicidal thoughts
- Increased aggressiveness
Taking the medication at high doses or for long periods of time can cause other serious side effects. Panic attacks, nightmares, and phobias have also been reported as withdrawal symptoms, and these are higher risks when individuals suddenly stop taking Adderall.
Other related withdrawal symptoms include paranoia and hallucinations. These changes are often referred to as Adderall-induced psychosis or stimulant psychosis. These symptoms and panic attacks were once associated with cocaine and other street drugs, but they can be caused by abuse of Adderall since it is part amphetamine. Even if people do not mean to abuse Adderall, those who take it in high doses may become dependent on it, thus triggering these symptoms.
Panic attacks are some of the most serious withdrawal symptoms reported if Adderall is used for long periods. According to Molecular Psychiatry, people who have been taking Adderall and other methamphetamine substances for long periods are at risk for the types of psychosis that are usually seen in schizophrenic patients. More studies need to be conducted about why certain people are more likely to get panic attacks, psychoses, or be vulnerable for other withdrawal symptoms that affect one’s mental health. Follow-up care is also important in monitoring and preventing panic attacks, psychosis, or other effects on mental health in patients.
Some say that Adderall may contribute to panic attacks. As Adderall is a stimulant, it increases neurotransmitters in the brain and changes how these neurotransmitters might be reabsorbed. Chemical messengers, such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, are affected by this intervention. The aforementioned messengers help stimulate the brain, increase energy levels, and increase the ability to feel pleasure. They allow the brain to feel the benefits of reward, become motivated, and regulate emotions.
The long-term use of Adderall can change these regions in the brain, altering a person’s brain chemistry as a result. Using the medication keeps dopamine levels consistent in the bloodstream and stopping use of Adderall suddenly means these chemical messengers are greatly diminished. Since dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine are now gone, panic, depression, and other negative feelings might set in. These negative effects could be mistaken for mental health disorders, exacerbate undiagnosed problems, and cause discomfort.
Some side effects of Adderall include:
- Decrease in appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dry mouth
- Upset stomach
- Increased nervousness
- Difficulty sleeping
More serious physical side effects could include:
- Mood or behavior changes
- Temperature sensitivity in the fingers and toes
- Numbness in extremities
- Grinding of teeth
- In males, prolonged erections
- Skin color change
- Changes in libido
- Continuous movements in the jaw, such as chewing movements
Consult a doctor and get treatment immediately if experiencing blurred vision, fainting, irregular heartbeat or other abnormal changes in heartbeat, confusion, slurred speech, swelling in the ankles or feet, or weakness on only one side of the body.
In rare instances, individuals may experience an allergic reaction. Those who experience a rash, hives, shortness of breath, itching, or swelling on the throat, face, or tongue should get medical help right away.
Children and Teens
Diagnoses of ADHD have increased, particularly in children and teens, and Adderall has become a popular prescription for this demographic. Children and teens might be more sensitive to Adderall’s side effects than adults. Parents should keep track of their children’s height and weight when they are taking this medication, as Adderall has been shown to slow growth in children.
Senior citizens may also be more sensitive to this medication’s side effects, especially as they pertain to pain, weight loss, or difficulty sleeping.
Pregnant or nursing patients should only take Adderall if absolutely necessary and only under direct medical supervision. Taking Adderall during pregnancy could increase the risk of giving birth early, having a baby with a low birth weight, or cause newborns to have withdrawal effects. The medication is also passed through breast milk, so breastfeeding while taking this medication isn’t recommended.
People with heart problems, mental health issues (such as psychosis or bipolar disorder), overactive thyroid, kidney problems, blood circulation, history of uncontrolled movements, or a personal or family history of depression or other mood disorders should disclose these issues to their doctor before using Adderall.