Common Adderall Side Effects

Benjamin Martin - 6 April 2021

Adderall side effects

Adderall is a commonly used off-label drug in many universities. It’s more popular in America than in the UK, but it’s still present in many educational institutions in Great Britain.

Should its popularity be a concern? What are Adderall’s side effects?

We asked our team of experts to look at the scientific literature and draw some conclusions.


  • What is Adderall?
  • What are Adderall’s side effects?
  • Alternative options to Adderall
  • Conclusion

What is Adderall?

Adderall is a pharmaceutical, legitimately used for the treatment for disorders such as ADHD and narcolepsy. It is also an amphetamine, made from both amphetamines and dextroamphetamine.

As mentioned, it is increasingly used in universities because of a perceived cognitive enhancing effect, along with its properties as a stimulant allowing for long study sessions.

It might also be used by those in jobs that demand long hours, as a performance enhancer for sports, or recreationally.

What are Adderall’s side effects?

According to the American FDA, Adderall’s common side effects include decreased appetite, nervousness and stomach aches.

More severe side effects comprise diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, fevers, heartbeat irregularities and other issues.

It can also cause psychiatric problems, as well as potentially lethal complications in people with heart disorders, though fatalities as a side effect of Adderall are very rare.

Studies support many of these conclusions, indicating that Adderall’s side effects from chronic use may include psychosis, seizures and cardiovascular events. These are rare issues but can be a concern for those using stimulants nonetheless.

The most common cardiovascular issues from stimulant use are hypertension and tachycardia. It’s also possible to experience very high (potentially life-threatening) body temperatures as a result of amphetamine abuse, known as hyperthermia.

Other common side effects of Adderall, according to studies, are a loss of appetite, insomnia, emotional lability, nervousness and fever. Most of these are described as time-limited, meaning that they disappear soon after discontinuing the use of Adderall.

There are some concerns from researchers that studies are on short durations of exposure, and that studies are too small. As with modafinil, Adderall’s side effects are not well-researched enough for long-term use, particularly in those who take it without being prescribed it.

A significant side effect of Adderall is its addictiveness: when used at high doses, Adderall (like all amphetamines) can lead to addiction, as it increases dopamine in the brain.

It can also form a tolerance when used recreationally or in other non-therapeutic situations, meaning that more of the drug must be taken to produce the same effect overall.

Adderall’s side effects might not be limited to your health: they may also include legal repercussions.

While most psychoactive drugs are illegal to sell in the UK, Adderall is also illegal to possess. It is a Class B drug in the UK, which means the maximum penalties for possession are a 5-year prison sentence, an unlimited fine, or both.

Alternative options to Adderall

If you want something that avoids the side effects of Adderall but is still capable of improving your cognitive performance, you should consider a natural nootropic alternative.

Brainzyme is a popular Adderall alternative, so we've compared the two in the table below.

Effectso Concentration, motivation, wakefulness
o Works fast
o Concentration, motivation, wakefulness
o Works fast
Side effectso Nausea
o Loss of appetite
o Stomach ache
o Restlessness
o Anxiety if not doing what you want to do
o Potential for addiction
o Hardly any side effects; some reports of feeling thirsty or going to the bathroom more
Wakefulnesso Keeps you awake for a long time
o Potentially longer than you want it to
o Difficulty switching off
o Helps maintain wakefulness and alertness
o Easy to sleep after
Focuso Laser focus, which can be on the wrong task
o You may end up playing computer games, reading about irrelevant topics, etc
o Can be detrimental to studying
o Helps give you the motivation and will to work, and aids in reducing distractions
o Assists in maintaining a natural focus
Stimulationo Highly stimulating, causing agitation in some individuals
o Heavy stimulation can lead to cardiovascular problems
o Calms and focuses the mind
Toleranceo May cause tolerance, needing increased doses to have the same effect
o May also cause addiction
o No issues with tolerance
Availability & legalityo Only available by prescription
o May be screened for in sporting drugs tests
o A Class B drug in the UK, which may lead to imprisonment if caught in possession of Adderall
o Readily available to buy over the counter
o Legal and natural for sporting use


Both Adderall and Brainzyme can aid in motivation and better concentration.

However, Adderall tends to be harsher, with more potential for side effects, which can lower productivity and hinder results.

It can also have addictive properties and legal ramifications for possession.

As a natural nootropic, Brainzyme is smoother, and overall may yield more productivity and better results, especially over long-term use.

Conclusion: Adderall side effects

As discussed, Adderall can cause both mild and serious side effects. Natural brain food supplements are generally safer than pharmaceutical smart drugs, and they can provide equally great results.

Moreover, there has been a lot of research done on superfoods, herbs and amino acids, as they’ve been around for a lot longer than smart drugs, and most food supplement based cognitive enhancers are legal in the UK.

This makes them much more dependable than pharmaceutical study drugs like Adderall.

Therefore, we would recommend the use of natural nootropics, and you can read more about our favourite one here.

Brainzyme Focus Pro is a great Adderall alternative

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About the author

Benjamin Martin is a nootropic and brain supplement enthusiast

Benjamin Martin is a nootropic and brain supplement enthusiast who has tried every type of performance-boosting supplement under the sun. At Brainzyme, he uses his expertise to produce educational content for the Nootropics UK and Brain Supplements UK blogs.

Based in Edinburgh, Benjamin loves spending his free time in nature whenever he gets the chance.