ADHD and ADD Symptoms

Understanding Adderall’s Role in Helping ADHD and ADD Symptoms

ADHD and ADD Symptoms


One medication frequently prescribed for those diagnosed with either Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is Adderall. This brand-name prescription medication has been found to dramatically decrease some of the symptoms of ADHD and ADD, such as forgetting things, talking too much or at the wrong time, inability to focus, and frequent interrupting. Many individuals who may ask, “what is Adderall used for?” may not even realize that people in their social circles may have a prescription for this helpful medication.

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Adderall – What Exactly is It?

Getting down to the nitty-gritty, Adderall is a prescription medication that is made of amphetamine salts – 4 types to be exact. The mixture of amphetamine aspartate, amphetamine sulfate, dextroamphetamine saccharate, and dextroamphetamine sulfate can be prescribed and purchased either in the brand name or generic form. Both forms carry one type that is called immediate release, and another type that is called extended release.

Basically, the first one metabolizes faster, lasting 4 hours or less, meaning the person who takes the prescription usually takes one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The second type is manufactured to metabolize slowly throughout the day, lasting from 7 – 12 hours, so that a single dose in the morning will be effective all day.

How Does Adderall Work?

Scientists have found that there are two neurochemicals in the brain that are very important.  Known as norepinephrine and dopamine, these help people with both focus and attention in the part of the brain that is supposed to work on organizing, planning, and carrying out tasks. Each of these chemicals has a more specific task as well.

adhd and add symptoms

Adderall’s Help With ADHD Symptoms

At the correct levels, norepinephrine helps to clarify or improve the information or task your brain is trying to pay attention to. Dopamine, on the other hand, should be working to block signals from things that tend to be distracting. Adderall uses tend to get both levels of these chemicals to the right levels, so the brain can focus correctly.

What Percentage of ADD/ADHD Sufferers Benefit by Taking Adderall?

Though it is difficult to say exactly what percentage of individuals suffering from ADHD or ADD benefit from taking Adderall as opposed to other types of prescription medication, a 2013 study compiled by Express Scripts found that Adderall holds about 38 percent of the market on this type of medication. Those who do not respond to Adderall are often prescribed a methylphenidate type instead such as Ritalin to see if the results are better.

Are There Worrisome Side Effects to Adderall?

Almost every type of medication has side effects. Understanding these risks before beginning to take any medication, as well as knowing what possible negative interactions may occur with existing medications is key to retaining good health.

Some Adderall side effects include:

  • A faster than normal heart rate
  • Mood swings
  • Decreased appetite
  • Headache and/or dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Insomnia
  • Feelings of nervousness

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Not everyone will experience all of these side effects, but they should be mentioned to the prescribing physician at regular med check appointments.

How Often Do You Need to See a Doctor for an Adderall Prescription?

The frequency of doctor visits for those taking Adderall varies from state to state. Required med check visits may be required on a monthly, bi-monthly, or more frequent basis. The average length of time between doctor visits for those who are taking Adderall is 3 months. Each visit gives the prescribing physician a chance to evaluate the effectiveness and proper use of the medication before prescribing any more.

Another Interesting Adderall Use

Though Adderall is mainly used to treat ADHD and ADD, [1*] doctors also prescribe it at times for people who have a disorder that causes them to fall asleep no matter what is going on around them. In fact, amphetamines have been prescribed for people with narcolepsy dating back to the 1930s. As with ADHD, these medications help to increase the level of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain which can help to combat this extremely sleepy disorder.

Side effects of Adderall

Side Effects of Adderall

How to Find Out if Adderall Will Help You

There are many indicators that someone may be struggling with ADHD or ADD, however, diagnosing children and adults [2*] is usually done differently. With children, a teacher or parent typically notices symptoms and recommends an evaluation by a medical professional. Many adults, however, notice their own ADHD symptoms, as well as how they negatively impact their abilities, after having one of their own children go through the process of diagnosis.

For adults, making an appointment with a qualified physician or mental health professional, like those at the EZCare Clinic in San Francisco, is the right first step to understanding and addressing the issue. This initial visit will most likely include a thorough physical to assess overall health, then move on to a few tests such and questionnaires that will help them understand the extent that your life is affected negatively.

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Contacting our ADHD doctors today is the first step toward getting the answers you need. Don’t let fear hold you back from scheduling an appointment. We are here to help you understand your symptoms as well as create a multi-faceted solution just for you.


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Evidence Based

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.

Our team of experts strive to be objective, unbiased, honest and to present both sides of the argument.

This article contains scientific references. The numbers
in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.