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5 Things You Need to Know About Adderall

By Livestrong Contributor ; Updated August 14, 2017

Adderall's Packed With Amphetamines

The main active ingredient in Adderall is a chemical called dextroamphetamine. There are also a handful of other amphetamine salts in Adderall, each packing a unique energizing punch. These drugs combine to give you a powerful shot of mental and physical energy that helps you stay focused and be productive for long periods of time. A new version of the drug called Adderall XR spreads out the amphetamines' effect more evenly, creating a smoother and longer-lasting boost in energy.

Adderall Treats ADD and ADHD

The alertness, improved concentration and accelerated mental processing Adderall provides help people with ADD and ADHD lead more productive lives. The treatment of these disorders is somewhat controversial due to the recent explosion in the numbers of affected kids. However, many sufferers say Adderall works great and gives them relief from the distraction and impulsiveness that normally impede their ability to do work.

Watch Out For Drug Interactions

Adderall works by changing the amounts of certain chemicals in your nervous system to make you more alert. The neurotransmitters affected by Adderall are the same ones affected by certain antidepressants, such as tricyclics and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Diuretics and antacids also produce negative side effects when mixed with the amphetamines in Adderall. If you're receiving treatment with any of these medications, be sure to talk with your doctor about whether Adderall's safe for you.

Expect Strange Side Effects

As a stimulant, Adderall speeds up the basic processes in your body. While this improves your mental energy, it also creates the potential for a number of discomfiting side effects. The most common side effects are those that affect your mood like nervousness, anxiety, insomnia and changes in your libido. Physical side effects like nausea, vomiting, headache, diarrhea and loss of appetite are also common. In rare cases, Adderall produces a number of severe and even life-threatening side effects, including seizures, hallucinations, mania and psychosis.

You Might Get Hooked on Adderall

The potent mix of amphetamines in Adderall is also highly addictive. The drug is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning it carries the risk of extreme physical and psychological addiction but is approved for carefully-monitored medicinal use. Other drugs in this category are Oxycontin, morphine and cocaine (occasionally applied as a topical anesthetic). If you're taking Adderall, it's important for you to stick with the dosage and length of treatment your doctor recommended. Taking Adderall in larger doses or for a longer period of time than prescribed can lead to serious addiction.

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