Adderall UK: The Ultimate 2019 Guide: Legality, Alternatives & More
The ultimate guide to Adderall in the UK, as told by experts.
Increasingly, Adderall is being used on campuses and workplaces across the world to aid in concentration and energy.
Many users swear by it, others not so much.
Once you've read this blog post, you will have all the information you need to know to make an informed opinion on Adderall, including Adderall's uses, Adderall's side-effects, Adderall's legality and alternatives to Adderall (that are more effective and better value for money).
Adderall is much more common in the United States than in the UK.
Modafinil is used as a substitute in many places, both medically and off-label.
If you'd like to learn more about Modafinil, feel free to check out our Ultimate UK Guide to Modafinil in 2019.
Prescribed Adderall 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.
Adderall doesn't really have a generic name, as it is made up of two stimulants called amphetamine and dextroamphetamine.
There are two types of Adderall to be aware of - Adderall XR (Adderall extended release) and Adderall IR (Adderall instant release).
The first typically last longer, about 10-12 hours whereas the instant release variant works for 4-8 hours.
Both of them work the same way, so effects and potential side-effects remain largely the same.
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."
Adderall Uses As A Study Drug
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.
Most off-brand users buy their Adderall online or through friends, so the price can vary massively.
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.
Some users also report an Adderall high - a feeling of euphoria. This can help users enter the flow state and remain productive for a long time.
Watch Your Brain On Adderall - The Study Drug by ASAP Science.
Due to the rarity of being prescribed Adderall in the UK, it is more frequently sold by visiting students from countries in which Adderall is prescribed more often, or from unregulated online pharmacies.
Usually, buying it from online pharmacies is the most cost-effective way of acquiring Adderall, as the street price can be inflated.
Adderall is also used off-label as a weightloss aid - although this is not recommended.
Adderall can be found in drug tests - with it staying in your urine for up to 3 days. However, no university or workplace tests for Adderall at the moment - this could change in the future though.
If you would like to see Adderall compared to another popular 'study drug', then check out our Adderall vs Ritalin article.
If you have been prescribed Adderall by your Doctor, you should continue to take it at the dosage recommended by them.
For cases of ADHD, it is usually recommended to start with two 5mg doses a day, increasing in increments of 5mg every week or so until the optimum effect has been found.
For cases of narcolepsy, it is usually recommended to take between 5mg and 60mg a day, depending on your condition and how you react to it.
When people use Adderall as a study drug, the dosage can vary massively. This is due to the fact that people are taking it not under the recommendation of a Doctor.
A fairly standard dosage for Adderall is 20-30mg, either once or twice a day. However, due to the high risk of side effects, it is recommended you start lower (about 5-10mg) and build up once you get an idea for your tolerance levels.
Adderall Side Effects
Adderall abuse can be a big problem and lead to some serious side effects. Even if you are using Adderall as your Doctor intended, there is still a high risk of side effects.
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.
It is important to note that taking Adderall and alcohol at the same time can heighten the negative side effects of both, especially the effects on the heart.
Mixing Adderall and alcohol is therefore not recommended.
The same is true for other substances, such as Xanax - which should be avoided if you are taking Adderall.
Tolerance can build up quickly, and Adderall can be highly physically and psychologically addictive.
It isn't uncommon to have to take a higher and higher dosage to get the same results, and once you start taking them for an extended period of time it can be hard to concentrate without them.
As it can be habit-forming, the risk of an Adderall overdose is ever-present.
Below you will find a list of Adderall overdose symptoms, which often occur as a result of Adderall abuse.
If you experience any of these, you should contact a Doctor as soon as possible.
|Symptoms of an Adderall overdose.|
|Uncontrollable shaking||Rapid heart rate|
|Muscle aches and weakness||Loss of consciousness|
|Dark red or brown urine||Fainting|
Adderall XR, in particular, has a high half-life of around 10 hours, meaning care should be taken when taking Adderall.
Therefore, Adderall withdrawal symptoms are something to keep an eye out.
To try and avoid this, use Adderall only sparingly or as instructed by your Doctor.
If you notice any of the below symptoms, again you should consult with a Doctor.
|Symptoms of an Adderall Withdrawal|
Adderall pills are 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.
Again, there are now alternatives to synthetic pharmaceuticals which come without the side-effects.
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.
Legal Adderall Alternatives
Because of the issues listed above - namely side-effects and legality, we don't recommend the use of Adderall as a nootropic.
Instead, we recommend something that is:
- Just as effective at supporting concentration, mental performance and the reduction of tiredness.
- Comes with a lot fewer side effects.
- Is better value for money.
- Is completely legal around the world and available over the counter.
That alternative is BrainZyme®, a range of powerful naturally-sourced brain food supplement nootropics that has received excellent reviews.
Click here if you'd like to learn more about why BrainZyme is our favourite Adderall alternative.
To conclude, Adderall definitely has its uses as a medicine, and if you have been prescribed it by a Doctor you should continue taking it.
However, the recent trend of increasing usage off-label as a "study drug" is concerning due to the reported side-effects and health issues that may arise from abuse.
For those using it off-label (or considering it) should be made aware of the alternatives are now available on the market, such as naturally-sourced brain supplements.
If you are looking for a convenient, affordable and effective Adderall alternative, we recommend BrainZyme®, a range of three different supplements manufactured by the UK’s premier brain food supplement specialist.
If you’d like to learn more about how BrainZyme is an effective and better value Adderall alternative, please click here.
BrainZyme Professional works on the dopamine pathway in the brain, so we recommend that for effects closest to Adderall.
Or, you can check out our related articles:
- The Ultimate Ritalin Vs Adderall 2019 Guide: Which is Best for Studying?
- The Ultimate Modafinil UK Guide 2019 - Side Effects, Price And More
- Smart Pill UK 2019 Review - Which Ones To Try And Which To Avoid
- The Best 16 Brain Vitamins for Memory & Concentration in 2019