Adderall UK Guide
The ultimate guide to Adderall in the UK, as told by experts.
Once you've read this blog post, you will have all the information you need to know to make an informed opinion on Adderall.
We will go into Adderall’s prescribed uses in the UK, its off-label uses (including use as a 'smart drug'*), its side effects, Adderall’s legality in the UK, and attitudes towards Adderall in the UK. Finally, we will offer some alternatives to Adderall as a ‘study drug’, like ‘natural nootropics’.
Prescribed Uses In The UK
In the UK, there is a very different medical usage of Adderall compared with the US. It is widely used as a sort of 'drug to improve concentration' among those with attention disorders in the USA, but it is an unlicensed medication under the British NHS. This means Adderall is much less well-used in the UK - though it is sometimes prescribed if a patient is referred to an NHS ADHD unit and is determined by a specialist to have a need for Adderall.
That being said, dexamfetamine (a primary ingredient in Adderall) is quite commonly prescribed in the UK for treatment of severe ADHD. On the whole, though, it's very rare to be prescribed 'Adderall' in the UK.
There are some off-label uses of Adderall/dexamfetamine that are sanctioned by the NHS. It can be used to treat narcolepsy or other sleep-related disorders in some instances, though this does not seem to be commonplace as this sort of treatment can only be initiated by a "sleep medicine specialist."
A Drug To Improve Concentration?
But, the way the NHS or other official bodies in the UK use Adderall is just one side of the story. Adderall is also used off-label as a ‘smart drug’, as it believed to be a drug that improves concentration. Many students thus use it to try and focus more on their work: this use of Adderall as a concentration-improving drug has been increasing recently, as many students feel under more pressure to succeed when studying. Read more about Adderall and studying here.
Alongside its use as a drug to try and improve concentration Adderall might be used to fuel all-night study sessions as it is a powerful stimulant. Amphetamines like Adderall have been used for this purpose for many years, though non-therapeutic use carries several risks which we will address shortly.
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According to the NHS, the common side effects of dexamphetamine include feeling or being sick, stomach cramps, dizziness, eyesight problems, headaches, dry mouth, diarrhoea, unsteadiness or shakiness, loss of appetite, weight loss, thinning of hair, rashes, sweating, unusual movements, sexual difficulties and problems sleeping.
The same document states that the following, more severe, side effects may occur: changes in your mood, behaviour, or thinking; chest pain, fast heartbeat, or unexplained breathlessness; and suicidal thoughts, or thoughts about harming yourself. These are implied to be rarer than 0.01% of cases, but do pose potential (if minimal) risks. Read more about Adderall’s side effects here.
Adderall is illegal to possess in the UK without a prescription. The NHS, in advising prescriptions, frequently references Adderall or dexamphetamine as a controlled substance, which may a reason for their reluctance to prescribe it. As they are Class B drugs, illicit possession of Adderall/dexamphetamine could result in a 5 year prison sentence, an unlimited fine, or both. Selling of these drugs can also be punished by a 14 year prison sentence, an unlimited fine, or both.
Attitudes Towards Adderall
Attitudes towards Adderall in the UK are very mixed, though generally seem quite negative. The NHS frequently expresses a reluctance to prescribe Adderall or dexamphetamine, due to its potential for misuse and addictive qualities. Adderall seems to be regarded with some suspicion by many media outlets in the UK, with articles indicating that it can only boost performance as a placebo, or that it can cause many serious problems that seem to outweigh perceived benefits.
Attitudes towards Adderall from British students appear to be rather negative also. They are frequently aware of its addictive properties and potential side-effects, with one student suggesting people have experienced a ‘zombie-like’ feeling as a result of Adderall use. Others have said that they were much more productive after taking Adderall, but ended up a “wreck” after using it for a week.
Why Use Brain Drugs Like Adderall?
The ambivalent attitude from students towards Adderall raises the question: Why even use brain-enhancing drugs for studying?
This is due to a combination of factors. Many students today are aware that they are in an increasingly globalised and competitive world. Many thus feel they must stand out from their peers, which often means they take Adderall to try and excel in their studies.
Students are also under more fiscal pressure: rises in tuition fees means it can be an economic imperative that a student does well, otherwise they may feel there is no way for them to pay off their student loans or other debts. This, again, translates to brain-enhancing drugs being used to try and study more effectively.
There may be problems with managing workload, too. When a student has fallen far behind their work, whether it's due to procrastination, a turbulent personal life or whatever else, they may turn to drugs like Adderall to fuel their late-night study sessions to try and pass their exams. Frequently they view side-effects as a necessary evil, in exchange for a passing grade on their paper.
Options Other Than Adderall?
But, if you want to take a 'smart drug' and would also like to avoid the side effects of Adderall, then consider a ‘natural nootropic’ like BrainZyme.
'Natural nootropics' are fast growing in popularity among both experienced nootropic and new users. Why? Because they can deliver similar results but by using natural, herbal or protein based ingredients.
BrainZyme, for example, uses Tyrosine, which has been found to boost dopamine in the brain in a similar way to Adderall. But, as it's from a naturally occurring protein rather than a synthetic pharmaceutical, it can arguably cause less of the side-effects associated with Adderall.
This article has examined Adderall in the UK. It has looked at Adderall’s prescribed uses, its common off-label uses, its side effects, Adderall’s legality in the UK, and attitudes towards it in Britain. It has also presented other alternatives to Adderall as a ‘smart drug’, such as ‘natural nootropics’.
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