Dextroamphetamine and amphetamine-based drugs, such as Adderall, are used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy, but this stimulant drug also has the potential for abuse.
This is because it is classified by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) as a Schedule II controlled substance due to its nature as a stimulant drug.
Stimulant medications can lend themselves to drug abuse since they enhance dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels in the central nervous system (CNS).
This creates a euphoric, focused, and slightly warm ‘buzz, among other Adderall side effects. It can also suppress your appetite, leading to potential eating disorders (EDs) if abused.
Why Adderall Causes Weight Loss
Adderall causes weight loss because it suppresses the appetite, meaning that people prescribed the drug for attention deficit disorder (ADD) or abusing the prescription medication eat less.
It tricks the brain into thinking that it is not hungry, so you may either eat less because you don’t feel the need to, or it can make you feel ‘full’ so that eating becomes unpleasant.
Dangers Of Abusing Adderall To Lose Weight
There are many dangers of abusing Adderall, outside of the motive to lose weight. Calorie deficits, when repeated, can facilitate anorexia or other eating disorders.
Stopping Adderall use suddenly as a reaction to the development of an eating disorder can also be unhealthy, since it can cause weight gain and even obesity as an extreme opposite reaction.
Additionally, the mental health side effects of abusing Adderall cannot be understated, as it can cause depression, anxiety, psychosis, and other negative psychological effects.
How Adderall Affects Growth In Children
Children prescribed FDA-approved prescription stimulants such as Adderall and Ritalin can experience weight gain after discontinuing Adderall use.
Poor weight gain and slowed growth are also effects of Adderall use in children, and can cause obesity once the child either switches to a different medication or ceases its use altogether.
Higher doses of Adderall are typically not given to children for this exact reason, as the body mass index (BMI) of the average child under the age of 15 is significantly less than that of an adult.
This means that children have a far higher bioavailability of amphetamine metabolites in their system, so less medication is necessary for proper ADHD or narcolepsy treatment.
Other Side Effects Of Adderall Abuse On Weight
There are other side effects of misusing Adderall that, while not directly linked to weight loss or gain, can cause negative health conditions to develop.
These may include symptoms such as spiked blood pressure, elevated heart rate, dry mouth, nausea, and more.
How Weight Loss Is Linked To Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms
Adderall withdrawal symptoms can range from mildly unpleasant to dangerous — and, in some cases, result in psychosis and prolonged periods of ADHD paralysis.
A person who is withdrawing from Adderall may experience symptoms which affect appetite, which could in turn result in weight loss.
Symptoms of Adderall withdrawal include:
- insomnia and nightmares
- increased appetite
- suicidal ideation
- difficulty concentrating
- bodily aches and pains
Treatment Services For Adderall Addiction
Fortunately, there is a wide range of treatment services and programs designed to tackle Adderall addictions.
Rehabilitation programs and services for Adderall addictions include:
- inpatient programs
- outpatient programs
- medication-assisted treatment
- cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- telehealth services
- individual, group, and family therapy
- educational and vocational programs
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Bedrock Recovery Editorial Team
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