What Does Adderall Do?
This article will cover what Adderall does. This will include how Adderall works by affecting your brain chemistry, Adderall’s prescribed uses & effects, and Adderall’s side-effects. We will also present some alternatives to Adderall used as a ‘smart drug’*, such as ‘natural nootropics’.
How Adderall Works
Adderall is a stimulant drug. It’s made up of amphetamine salts, namely dextroamphetamine and levoamphetamine. These two chemicals affect your brain in a particular way, by boosting the amounts of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine.
These are the ‘pleasure neurotransmitter’ and the ‘fight-or-flight neurotransmitter’ respectively. Dopamine, widely known as helping you feel good, can also help with concentration, motivation and general performance. Norepinephrine works to boost wakefulness and alertness by triggering the body's 'stress' response.
Adderall both encourages the release of these neurotransmitters, and partially blocks their dissipation, meaning its effects are very strong.
As Adderall has a large degree of impact on the nervous system, it can have significant effects following use. The drug takes effect around 30 minutes after it’s been ingested, and its effects peak 1-2 hours after it’s first been used. It may last an entire day, or a few hours depending on the formulation.
Adderall is normally prescribed for people suffering from ADHD, as increasing levels of dopamine can help concentration. Moreover, increasing dopamine levels can aid performance in the brain’s prefrontal cortex, an area that is often less active in people with ADHD.
However, this effect seems to be limited to people suffering from ADHD only, as some studies indicate that Adderall is no more effective than placebo for improving cognition in neurotypical subjects. Others indicate that it can help, but only in those who are already slightly below-average with regards to cognition.
As Adderall boosts norepinephrine, it can significantly help with wakefulness. Adderall may be prescribed for people suffering from narcolepsy or other fatigue-related disorders. Additionally, Adderall may be used off-label as a wakefulness aid for people who must work for long hours.
Adderall might be prescribed for cases of depression that are resistant to more commonly-used antidepressants, and may also be able to help people with chronic obesity lose weight in severe cases.
As mentioned earlier, Adderall is believed by some to be able to enhance brain performance and concentration even in people without ADHD. This, combined with its wakefulness-promoting effects, means that some people may use Adderall without a prescription as a ‘study drug’* when they are pressured to produce academic work.
If you want a study drug without the issues associated with Adderall, we'd recommend checking out natural nootropics. See our favourite natural nootropic here.
And because Adderall gives a significant ‘rush’ and helps wakefulness, it might be used as a party drug. Adderall can also produce a somewhat ‘euphoric’ feeling, meaning it might be used recreationally.
Adderall commonly reduces appetite, and can cause issues like nervousness or stomach aches. Adderall can also make you thirsty, both as a result of Adderall increasing your body temperature, and the drug inhibiting saliva production. This is because the 'fight-or-flight' response triggered by norepinephrine release diverts your body's resources away from your mouth.
Adderall may also cause more serious side effects such as heartbeat irregularities, fever, diarrhoea, vomiting or nausea.
On the most extreme end of the scale, Adderall can cause psychiatric problems, and people with heart disorders may have very serious complications from using Adderall. However, fatalities as a result of using Adderall are very rare.
Studies support these conclusions. It has been found that Adderall can cause ‘psychosis, seizures and cardiovascular events’, and the most common cardiovascular issues from Adderall use are hypertension and tachycardia. As mentioned, Adderall can also elevate your body temperature - this can lead to a condition known as hyperthermia, which can be life-threatening.
Other common side effects from Adderall according to studies include: loss of appetite, insomnia, emotional lability, nervousness and fever. These are largely described as ‘time-limited’, as they stop soon after discontinuing use of Adderall.
Adderall can also be addictive, particularly when not used in a therapeutically. As Adderall is made from amphetamine, a very addictive drug, it’s quite possible that a psychological and physiological addiction can result from its use. Moreover, Adderall can cause tolerance, meaning it’s necessary to take more and more of the drug to get the same effect.
To avoid the side-effects of Adderall while still boosting your brain, try a natural nootropic. See our favourite natural nootropic here.
Alternatives to Adderall
If you want to take a 'smart drug', but would also like to avoid the problems associated with 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 what Adderall does. It’s looked at how Adderall works, the effect it has on your brain, and what effects people feel from using it. It subsequently examined Adderall’s side effects and offered some alternatives to Adderall in the form of natural nootropics.
Our Favourite Adderall Alternative