Have you or someone you love been prescribed Adderall? If you have questions about your Adderall dosage, it is essential that you read, research, and talk to experts to make sure you are taking the correct amount to manage your symptoms without harming your body. Between 2002 and 2010, Adderall prescription to children has increased by 45%, so it is likely that you know someone who is currently taking the medication, whether you know it or not.
Adderall was first approved by the FDA in 1960, but doctors and researchers are still discovering new ways in which this drug works within the body, and the best ways to prescribe it and use it effectively. Read on to discover the true facts behind Adderall, the myths doctors and patients alike still believe, and how to best keep you and your loved-ones safe and on the correct Adderall dosage.
What Is Adderall?
Adderall is a prescription medication created by DSM Pharmaceuticals. There are also generic versions of this drug, but as Adderall use and prescriptions have gained popularity, Adderall is the commonly known name. In 2010, over 18 million prescriptions were written for Adderall alone, making it one of the most popular prescription medications.
What Is in Adderall?
Adderall is a stimulant and combines two different types of stimulant. It incorporates both amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Adderall is classified as a central nervous system stimulant. It increases the brain stimulant dopamine.
What Are Different Adderall Dosages?
Adderall pills come in several dosage amounts, varying from 5 milligrams to 30 milligrams. This gives your doctor flexibility in prescribing the perfect Adderall dosage for your needs.
Adderall XR is a timed release version of the medication, also available from 5 milligrams to 30 milligrams.
What Is Adderall Prescribed For?
Adderall is generally prescribed for people who have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Adderall dosages have also been prescribed to treat patients who suffer from narcolepsy, a chronic sleeping disorder which causes sudden sleepiness and waves of sleep during the day.
The number of individuals (children especially) diagnosed with ADHD has skyrocketed in recent years, leading to the increase in Adderall prescriptions.
What Is ADHD?
ADHD is a brain disorder that consists of periods of inactivity, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. People with uncontrolled ADHD often have severe periods of these behaviors, making it difficult for them to complete tasks, maintain conversations, and follow through. ADHD can be diagnosed at any point in a person’s life, but it is common among young children.
What Is Adderall Supposed to Do?
When the correct Adderall dosage is applied and adhered to, Adderall can help increase attention spans, keep people awake and focused, and help people organize their thoughts. The goal of Adderall is to give patients the ability to focus and function normally. If you are feeling overly amped-up or lethargic, talk to your doctor about adjusting your dosage.
Myth #1: Adderall Dosage Is Connected to Height and Weight
The best dosage for Adderall (and other medications) is not tied to the patient’s height and weight. Discuss your symptoms and side effects with your doctor to determine the most effective Adderall dosage.
Myth #2: There Is an “Average Dose”
Adderall dosage is based on many factors, including genetics, past history of drug use, and symptoms, and there is no generic or average dose amount.
Myth #3: Adderall Dosage Will Be Increased in Certain Amounts over Time
Every individual is different, and instead of increasing your dosage by a specific amount every two or four weeks, work closely with your doctor to determine the correct Adderall dosage to manage your symptoms without overwhelming your body with side effects.
Myth #4: You Will See Improvement Right Away
There are many reasons why this may not be the case for everyone. Many people have pre or co-existing conditions that limit or change the effectiveness of a drug, some people may need a higher Adderall dosage before they see results, or perhaps Adderall isn’t the right medication for you. Just because it has a strong history of working effectively doesn’t mean it will work right away.
Myth #5: Don’t Take Stimulants (Like Adderall) If It Disrupts Your Sleep or If You Have High Blood Pressure
While both of these are reasons to continue having conversations with your doctor about your Adderall dosage, they are not necessarily reasons to stop or never start taking Adderall. There are many stimulant options for people with high blood pressure, and there are many ways to address sleep pattern disruption without leaving behind your stimulants if they are working for you in other areas of your life.
What Can Go Wrong?
Initial Side Effects
At the beginning of ADHD treatment with Adderall, many people experience nervousness, restlessness, irritability, agitation, fear, and fatigue. Usually, these initial side effects are mild and should go away after the first couple of weeks on the medication. To reduce side effects, consider taking your medication with food, drinking more water, and avoiding caffeine. If your side effects persist or become extreme, talk to your doctor about modifying your Adderall dosage.
Common Side Effects
Even with the right Adderall dosage, there are potential side effects to the medication. Appetite suppression and lethargy are two of the most common side effects. While neither of these are life-threatening, if they persist or drastically change your life, talk to your doctor about potentially decreasing your Adderall dosage.
In small children, Adderall might delay development and growth; if your child is currently on Adderall, make sure his/her doctor is regularly checking for developmental delays.
If you stop taking Adderall after talking to your doctor, there are also common side effects during the withdrawal period. You may experience depression, sleep disorders, and mood swings. Your doctor may be able to help.
Serious Side Effects
The use of Adderall can increase your risk of developing a number of ailments and illnesses. Adderall is known to heighten the risk of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure, especially in those who have a family history of heart problems. Additional serious side effects of Adderall include vision changes, seizures, full-body rashes, trouble breathing, weakness, difficulty talking, and fainting. If you experience any of these side effects, contact your doctor right away.
Adderall can also affect mental health. While taking Adderall, your risk for displaying psychotic symptoms (like hallucinations and delusions) increases, as does your risk for developing depression, bipolar disorder, or aggressive behaviors.
Adderall is also habit-forming; the longer you take Adderall (even with the prescribed Adderall dosage) the more likely you will be to develop a dependence on the medication.
Signs of an Overdose
If you or someone you know are experiencing symptoms of an Adderall overdose, call the poison control hotline or 911 immediately. Signs of an Adderall overdose are panic attacks, aggression, racing heart, confusion, fever, loss of consciousness, rapid breathing, hallucinations, extreme restlessness, and tremors.
With the increasing number of Adderall prescriptions, the frequency of Adderall addiction in people without Adderall dosage prescriptions has increased. As Adderall increases dopamine, taking it in large or unprescribed amounts can give the user an artificial feeling of happiness or euphoria. Generally these drug users crush the Adderall and then snort or inject the powder for a temporary high.
Even individuals who aren’t looking for a drug high have used Adderall without a prescribed and safe Adderall dosage. Adderall can increase focus and attention, making it seem like a quick fix to students who need an extra study boost. This unsafe use of Adderall has made Adderall the second most widely used drug on college campuses, and because Adderall has not been proven to work effectively in people without ADHD, these individuals are risking life-damaging consequences for nothing.
Because of the medication’s frequent appetite suppression side effect, many people have used unprescribed Adderall to lose weight. This, like any other unprescribed use of the drug, is not safe.
How to Ensure You're Safe
Talk to your doctor! The best way to make sure that you, your children, and your loved ones are safe on your Adderall dosage is to have frequent, detailed conversations with your doctor about the way you are feeling on and off the medication.
When you are first diagnosed with ADHD, your doctor will test different medications at different dosages to make sure he/she is giving you the best treatment for you specifically. What works for someone else might not work for you, so make sure to take notes of side effects and symptoms as you try each new dosage and medication. If at any point you feel worse or experience serious or long-term side effects, contact your doctor immediately.
Adderall has been an effective solution for people suffering from ADHD for years. If you are currently on an Adderall dosage or are considering talking to your doctor about Adderall for yourself or your child, do your research, ask lots of questions, and be an advocate for your own health. This medication comes with responsibility, and it's best for you to be in the know.