Are Adderall Side Effects Different For Women?

Adderall is a medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Men and women can experience different side effects from taking Adderall because of dosage differences, body mass, and hormone levels.

Get Help Now!

Studies have found that men and women react differently to the process of metabolizing Adderall — also known as amphetamine — when it enters their system.

Adderall is a stimulant medication that increases neurotransmitter activity in the central nervous system (CNS), specifically increasing responses from dopamine and serotonin neuroreceptors.

As such, the bioavailability of this ADHD medication in the CNS can be affected by the presence of estrogen, a female hormone.

A study by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) noted that, when women take Adderall within 14 days of their menstrual cycle, Adderall becomes more potent due to the presence of estrogen.

Adderall side effects may increase in women who are abusing Adderall, or taking it in high doses, more frequently than prescribed, or with other substances of abuse.

Common Adderall Side Effects In Women

The same FDA study found that the differences between the side effects of Adderall experienced by men and women were mitigated when body mass was factored into dosage methodology.

When women and men were given the same dose regardless of body mass, a 20 to 30% increase in metabolized Adderall was found in women.

Regardless, when women are prescribed balanced doses of Adderall in line with their body mass and menstrual cycle, side effects between them and their male counterparts are almost the same.

Common side effects of Adderall consumption in women are:

  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • anxiety
  • increased heart rate
  • chest pain
  • cardiovascular problems
  • dry mouth
  • weight loss due to loss of appetite
  • trouble sleeping
  • sexual dysfunction
  • heart palpitations
  • high blood pressure
  • serotonin syndrome
  •  mood swings

Side effects of Adderall use can be significantly increased when taken alongside antidepressants and nootropic supplements.

Avoiding drug interactions is strictly recommended, as it can lead to heart disease, heart attacks, psychosis, and other health concerns.

Why Adderall Affects Women Differently

Adderall affects women differently due to the effects of stimulant medication on the menstrual cycle, which increases levels of estrogen in the body.

The two menstrual phases most directly affected are the estrogen-predominant phase and the follicular phase.

When Adderall is bioavailable during these phases, more of the prescription medication is processed by the body, leading to excess dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.

This can lead to a number of adverse effects, including over-supplementation of neurotransmitters, which can result in psychosis, serotonin syndrome, and other mental health issues.

When correct dosages are administered, paired with an understanding of a given client’s metabolism and body mass, women report feeling euphoric, energized, and intellectually sharp.

How Adderall Affects Pregnancy And Breastfeeding

The use of Adderall while breastfeeding is not recommended, as long-term use of Adderall can pass amphetamine metabolites to the infant.

This can result in the infant experiencing unnecessarily dangerous health conditions, such as troubles with breathing, feeding, sleeping, agitation, and in some cases physical dependence.

Additionally, Adderall abuse or the use of illicit amphetamines, such as methamphetamine, can facilitate a substance use disorder (SUD) and increase the chance of infant mortality.

Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms For Women

Withdrawal symptoms from Adderall in women can range from unpleasant to potentially dangerous, depending on the circumstances.

Women often report the following symptoms of Adderall withdrawal:

  • hypertension
  • stomach pain
  • nausea and vomiting
  • suicidal thoughts
  • depression
  • constipation
  • heart problems
  • volatile ADHD symptoms

Other serious side effects of Adderall withdrawal in women include mental health concerns, such as psychosis and effects on bipolar disorder (BPD) due to lower-than-normal CNS activity.

Treatment Options For Adderall Addiction

There are many treatment options for Adderall addiction, as Adderall is deemed a Schedule II controlled substance by the FDA and, as such, requires certain treatment programs.

Fortunately, many treatment programs, therapies, and other services exist for men and women seeking to overcome their addiction to prescription stimulants.

Some of these treatment programs and services are:

  • drug abuse education and counseling
  • individual case management and programming following assessment and medical advice
  • inpatient and outpatient programs
  • detoxification
  • individual, group, and family therapy
  • telehealth services
  • evidence-based therapies
  • holistic treatment alternatives

Find Drug And Alcohol Addiction Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center

If you or a loved one is seeking addiction treatment for substance abuse, call Bedrock Recovery Center today to discuss obtaining a referral to a rehabilitation center near you.

  1. U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus
  2. National Library of Medicine (NLM)
  3. National Library of Medicine (NLM)

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2023 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

Prefer Texting?
We've got you covered.

Receive 24/7 text support right away.
There is no obligation and you can opt out at any time.

Sign up for text support

Receive 24/7 text support right away.
There is no obligation and you can opt out at any time.
Ready to make a change? Talk to a specialist now.
(617) 657-2877
icon-angle icon-bars icon-times