Adderall for Weight Loss: A Dangerous Game
The thing about losing weight is that sometimes it seems like the route to happiness. Because of that, someone might be willing to do whatever it takes to shed their unwanted pounds. Over the years, some have turned to the drug Adderall as a way to boost or enhance their weight loss. Put simply, this can be dangerous and can potentially result in an addiction. It’s important to remember you should speak with a medical professional before starting any weight loss journey. And remember, the numbers on the scale do not reflect who you are or your worth.
Adderall: The “Study Drug”
Chances are you’ve heard of Adderall. Many refer to it as the “study drug” due to it sometimes being consumed by students to help them focus on schoolwork. Adderall, a central nervous system stimulant, is created from a combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, Adderall is prescribed to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which causes trouble with focusing and sitting still; and narcolepsy, a sleep condition causing sudden “sleep attacks.” Adderall should only be consumed by those with a prescription for it. Ingesting Adderall for purposes other than ADHD or narcolepsy, without a prescription, or at a higher dosage than prescribed are all considered misuse (consuming a substance in a way that can be harmful). Since Adderall is also a Schedule II controlled substance, you’re putting yourself at risk for problems with the law if you’re in possession of the drug without a prescription. Before prescribing Adderall, a medical professional will discuss important precautions with you to make sure it’s a safe option. For example, you may be asked what medications you’re currently taking, if you have any allergies, if you have any other health conditions, or if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Still, many misuse Adderall to increase energy levels, focus, or to feel a sense of euphoria (pleasure). The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says, “Prescription stimulants increase the activity of the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine. Dopamine is involved in the reinforcement of rewarding behaviors. Norepinephrine affects blood vessels, blood pressure and heart rate, blood sugar, and breathing.” Repeated misuse can lead to dependence (needing more of the drug to get the desired effects), which can sometimes lead to an addiction and other health problems. With that said, if you’re misusing the drug to lose weight, you’re putting your health at risk in more ways than one.
The Dangers of Taking Adderall for Weight Loss
As we’ve discussed, Adderall is prescribed to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. You will not be prescribed Adderall as a weight-loss tool. But yes, Adderall can cause some people to lose weight, mostly because it can tell the brain it doesn’t need food, acting as an appetite suppressor of sorts. If you’re not eating, your body will eventually enter starvation mode. And contrary to what some believe, sometimes, starving yourself can have the opposite effect of what you’d hoped for. According to information provided by Penn State University, “When you starve yourself, your body goes into survival mode. If the body perceives it is being starved and doesn’t have food to turn into energy, it continues to hold onto and store fat, rather than burn it.” Starvation can also have negative effects on your blood sugar by altering insulin levels in the body. If you starve yourself, you’re also putting yourself at risk of becoming malnourished. Healthy weight loss usually involves healthy lifestyle changes. Since you can’t starve yourself forever, this type of diet often ends with regaining the weight. Also, if you’re misusing Adderall to lose weight, you can eventually become physically dependent on it. Dependency can also lead to things like addiction and overdose.
How Do I Know If I’m Addicted to Adderall?
An Adderall addiction can be dangerous, which is why knowing when dependency or misuse has become an addiction is crucial. Those addicted to Adderall may find themselves:
- Struggling to stop consuming the drug despite wanting to
- Dealing with financial issues as a result of the addiction
- Dealing with family problems because of their addiction
- Failing to meet school or work requirements
- Needing more of the drug to achieve the desired effects
You may also find yourself having withdrawal symptoms if you haven’t taken Adderall in a while. Withdrawal symptoms can include fatigue, sleep problems, and depression. It’s also important to note you can overdose on Adderall. Symptoms of an overdose can include tremors, rapid breathing, confusion, irregular heartbeat, heart attack, nerve problems, hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there), fever, and more. If you believe you or someone you know has overdosed on Adderall, call 911 immediately.
What Are the Side Effects of Adderall?
Even if you’re prescribed Adderall, taking it can cause side effects, which is why only taking it with the guidance of a medical professional is so important. You may experience the following side effects when consuming Adderall:
- Weight loss
- Problems with speech
- Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there)
- Weakness in arms or legs
If you are experiencing any of these side effects, or if they don’t go away, call your doctor immediately.
Adderall Is Affecting the Youth
Adderall misuse is popular for younger generations. According to Johns Hopkins University and The Journal for Clinical Psychiatry, “Adderall misuse is highest among 18- to 25-year-olds, who are primarily getting the medication from friends or family members and without a doctor’s recommendation or prescription.” According to Johns Hopkins researchers, 60% of non-medical Adderall misuse among those ages 12 and up was happening among 18- to 25-year-olds. The study also mentioned many signs indicate the main cause of misuse and emergency room visits related to Adderall is people taking medication that is legitimately prescribed to someone else. For young people, prescription drug misuse overall is a problem. A 2018 NIH study reported, “Misuse of prescription drugs is highest among young adults ages 18 to 25, with 14% reporting nonmedical use in the past year. Among youth ages 12 to 17, 4.9% reported past-year nonmedical use of prescription medications.“
Knowing When to Seek Treatment
If Adderall has taken control of your life, do not lose hope. Help is out there. If you’re experiencing any signs of addiction or withdrawal, seeking professional treatment can help you take your life back and give you the tools you’ll need to live a life in recovery. Since Adderall addiction can be dangerous, it’s important to get help as soon as possible. Remember, there is no shame in seeking treatment for adderall addiction. Plenty of people care about you, love you, and want the best for you. You deserve to live a life of health and happiness.
Northpoint Washington is here to help you get to a point where you can live a life free from Adderall addiction. Our facility is primed to help you dedicate 100% of your time to recovery. We understand everyone’s Adderall addiction is different, which is why it’s so important to understand why you are struggling with it. To learn more, call us today at (888) 663-7106.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does Adderall help with loss of appetite? Typically, Adderall will act as an appetite suppressor since it sends messages to the brain telling it the body is full when it’s actually not. But by taking Adderall and not eating, you’re putting yourself at risk for malnourishment, addiction, and other health problems. Can you lose weight on Adderall extended release? Yes, one of the currently listed side effects for Adderall XR (extended release) is weight loss. But Adderall is not FDA approved for weight loss. Is Adderall dosage affected by body weight? No, height and weight typically do not factor into Adderall dosages. A doctor may prescribe a lower dose to begin with and will adjust as needed. Why does Adderall cause weight loss? Adderall can cause people to lose weight since it can tell the brain it doesn’t need food, acting as an appetite suppressor. However, Adderall should not be used as a tool to lose weight. By taking Adderall and not eating, you’re putting yourself at risk for malnourishment, addiction, and other health problems. Also, Adderall is currently only prescribed to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. Consuming Adderall for any other purpose, at a dosage higher than prescribed, or without a prescription is considered misuse. What does Adderall do to the brain? According to the NIH, prescription stimulants, like Adderall, increase the activity of the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine. Dopamine is involved in the reinforcement of rewarding behavior, while norepinephrine affects blood vessels, blood pressure and heart rate, blood sugar, and breathing. Adderall can also increase energy levels and focus. How do I help someone get treatment for an Adderall addiction? It’s important to remember you can’t force anyone to do anything. If you think your loved one may be dealing with an Adderall addiction, it’s important to remain supportive and not be judgmental. Your support and understanding will play a huge role in the recovery process.