Last updated: November 27th, 2019
Adderall is one of the most well-known medications in the world. In many ways, I’m thankful for Adderall, because Adderall is the drug that put ADHD “on the map” as a medical condition.
Without Adderall, I’m not sure if many people would even know what ADHD is.
On the other hand, I have mixed views on Adderall. It’s probably my least favorite ADHD medication due to its gritty, short-lasting stimulation.
But at the same time, I respect that many people are able to use a low dose of Adderall to successfully manage their ADHD symptoms for many, many years.
So, this article serves as an all-inclusive resource for everything to do with Adderall. In this article, you’ll learn about:
- A general overview of Adderall
- Adderall’s effects
- The potential benefits of taking Adderall
- Famous people who have used Adderall
- The possible risks of taking Adderall
- Final opinion: Is taking Adderall a good idea if you have ADHD?
Let’s get started…
A general overview of Adderall
Adderall is one of the most popular stimulant-based ADHD medications in the world.
It’s a simple combination of four different amphetamine salts.
Adderall is composed of:
- 25% levoamphetamine salts
- 75% dextroamphetamine salts
You hear the word “Adderall” pop up in rap songs, movies, and TV shows all the time.
Sometimes, I think about how lucky the people at Shire are to have scored millions of dollars in free publicity for their ADHD product.
Note: Shire no longer produces “brand name” Adderall IR. Teva is now the company that produces brand name Adderall IR. However, Shire still produces brand name Adderall XR.
(Just in case you weren’t aware, Adderall IR is the ‘instant release’ version of Adderall. This is a relatively short-lasting ADHD medication. Adderall XR is the ‘extended release’ version of Adderall. This one is long-lasting, and works all day long).
Today, there are various generic versions of Adderall IR and Adderall XR, which makes these medications readily available to people with ADHD.
Oftentimes, using Adderall is a low-cost and easy way to treat your ADHD symptoms. Most physicians are extremely familiar with Adderall, so it’s an easy drug to prescribe, and it’s relatively safe when used at low therapeutic doses to treat ADHD symptoms.
Unfortunately, Adderall has picked up a pretty nasty negative reputation in the mainstream media. This is mainly because many people who don’t actually have ADHD acquire Adderall, and then take Adderall to get high. This is what gives Adderall (and ADHD) a bad reputation.
But in reality, people with ADHD can actually benefit from taking Adderall, because Adderall increases the activity of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. As you may know, people with ADHD lack dopamine. So, taking Adderall is an easy and relatively safe way for people with ADHD to acquire the dopamine that they need.
Early in this article, I mentioned that taking Adderall feels ‘gritty’ and ‘short-lasting’.
That’s because Adderall isn’t my favorite ADHD medication, personally speaking.
But, I do have to admit that Adderall is a pretty potent ADHD medication for the most part.
Adderall’s effects are powerful.
After taking Adderall, you’ll most likely feel:
- Ready to accomplish tasks
- Euphoric (the euphoria eventually wears off with repeated use)
There’s some truth to the rumor that many high-powered CEOs and Silicon Valley programmers are taking Adderall.
People who like to perform at a high-level tend to enjoy taking Adderall, because Adderall boosts your performance in almost every possible way. In fact, it’s been shown that 9.25% of professional Major League Baseball (MLB) players have been diagnosed with ADHD, and have a prescription for Adderall. There are about 1200 baseball players in the MLB, and about 111 of them use Adderall. These are men who compete at the pinnacle of mental and physical performance.
So when it comes to managing your ADHD symptoms with Adderall, you’ll probably feel like an “upgraded” version of yourself. You’ll most likely be able to use Adderall to get a grip on your career, take care of your health, and live a more active and engaged lifestyle.
The potential benefits of taking Adderall
If Adderall works well for your brain and body, then you could experience some pretty exciting benefits.
For example, Adderall is one of the few medications that can make crunching numbers in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet pretty fun.
Adderall helps a ton with anything that requires repetition.
If you have to record your expenses, pay the bills, update your accounting records, study for a test, or get organized – then taking Adderall could provide you with some much-needed relief.
Oftentimes, people with ADHD have so much trouble with accomplishing the most basic tasks. We’ll avoid starting on projects, and then feel guilty for doing so. It’s a really vicious cycle.
Thankfully, taking a small dose of stimulant ADHD medication like Adderall is all that your brain needs to produce a burst of dopamine, and finally get things done.
At the end of the day, most people with ADHD just want to achieve positive results in their day-to-day life, and live a happy, healthy lifestyle without much friction.
So, I genuinely believe that a little bit of Adderall goes a long way in helping people with ADHD function.
Famous people who have used Adderall
Some people with ADHD actually feel “guilty” for taking Adderall.
But, I think that most people with ADHD have already dealt with enough guilt for a lifetime…
You shouldn’t feel guilty about taking ADHD medication. You should be happy to take Adderall if it provides you with positive results.
There are millions of people who have used (and currently use) Adderall to manage their ADHD symptoms.
Approximately 13.1 million prescriptions were written just for Adderall XR in 2016 (including generic prescriptions).
Of these millions of Adderall users in America, some are actually high-profile figures who you wouldn’t expect.
Justin Bieber has been pretty open about using Adderall for his ADHD.
He claims that his mind “doesn’t work properly.”
Chris Guillebeau is a popular entrepreneur and traveler who I respect for being so open about his life, ADHD, and Adderall usage.
What I really like about Guillebeau’s story is that he uses Adderall in a very responsible way, as he only takes 5 milligram doses.
I’m the same way, because I like to take the smallest doses of ADHD medication possible. I find that small doses work best over the long-term.
And yes, I realize that 5 milligram doses of Adderall will not work for everyone. Please take the amount of ADHD medication that works best for your life.
Aubrey Huff won the World Series with the San Francisco Giants.
He also used Adderall seemingly off-label to deal with his severe depression and anxiety (and most likely for performance enhancement purposes as well).
I’m not sure if Aubrey Huff used Adderall for the right reasons. But, I still think it’s worth noting that he was one of the best athletes in the world at one point, while he was using Adderall.
There are probably thousands of other professional athletes, CEOs, and entertainers who use Adderall.
You just don’t hear much about public figures who use Adderall, because most people don’t want to spill all of their dirty little secrets.
Adderall has a pretty negative reputation in the mainstream media (unfortunately), and some things are better kept private for this reason.
I fully respect people’s right to keep their medication usage private.
Plus, beyond the swarms of famous people who secretly use Adderall, there are also tens of thousands of students in medical school, law school, business school, and dental school who use Adderall to manage their ADHD symptoms as well.
Adderall is so popular because it actually works for ADHD.
The possible risks of taking Adderall
Everything in life comes with risks.
If you use a low, therapeutic dose of Adderall to treat your ADHD symptoms, then you honestly don’t have much to worry about.
But, I still think it’s important to be aware of the potential risks of taking Adderall…
Lack of sleep
Experiencing a lack of sleep is the most destructive potential side effect of taking Adderall.
If you can’t get good sleep at night, then your quality of life will probably drop off a cliff.
Taking a small, therapeutic dose of Adderall shouldn’t affect your sleep much.
But, if you take too much Adderall, it’s really easy to feel “wired” at night, and you might lose a few hours of sleep. This “sleep debt” can start to add up over time, and negatively affect your life.
Lack of appetite
The worst feeling is knowing that you’re hungry, but not having any appetite for food whatsoever.
Taking Adderall sort of kills your appetite. But, this is actually a pretty easy side effect to solve.
Just make sure to take your dose of Adderall with a big, healthy meal.
If you can eat at least one big, healthy meal per day, then you’ll probably be fine. And if you can finish off your day by drinking a green vegetable smoothie, this will ensure that you get all of the nutrition that your body needs.
Increased heart rate
It should make sense that taking any type of stimulant drug will increase your heart rate, whether you’re drinking coffee or using Adderall.
But luckily, most research shows that the cardiovascular risks of Adderall are negligible when Adderall is used therapeutically to treat ADHD symptoms.
Of course, if your family has a history of heart problems, that’s a different story entirely, and you should not use Adderall if that is the case.
If you’re worried about cardiovascular risks while taking Adderall, just make sure to schedule regular blood tests, cardiac workups, and general check-ups with your physician.
In most cases, everything is going to be OK, and a little bit of Adderall shouldn’t cause you any problems in this area.
Thinking too much can be a problem when you’re using Adderall.
In some cases, racing thoughts leads to increased anxiety, worrying, and similar problems.
This side effect of Adderall is probably the easiest to manage, because you can just perform some deep breathing exercises, exercise, or meditate if you find yourself thinking too much. That usually does the trick.
Stifled creativity is a much bigger problem than most people imagine…
Creativity is the currency of the future.
You need to be creative in order to succeed in the type of world that we live in today.
And I do believe that Adderall stifles creativity in the sense that it makes you feel a little bit robotic. But, this is a problem that all ADHD medications produce. So, it would be unfair to blame this problem entirely on Adderall.
Here’s my solution to this problem:
Do your creative work before you take Adderall, and then take Adderall before you need to do your more “mechanical” or repetitive work.
Final opinion: Is taking Adderall a good idea if you have ADHD?
Overall, I believe that Adderall is an effective medication for many people with ADHD.
I thoroughly enjoyed using Adderall occasionally in college.
It’s a high-quality medication, because it helps millions of people with ADHD concentrate for hours on end.
But at the same time, I personally think that there are better ADHD products available.
Vyvanse, for example, is a much smoother and longer-lasting ADHD medication that’s manufactured by the same company that makes Adderall.
I used Vyvanse every day for a period of one year, and I found Vyvanse to be much more sustainable than Adderall.
Vyvanse doesn’t produce the ‘edginess’ or ‘grittiness’ that typically comes with taking Adderall. You can take Vyvanse every day without having to deal with the harsh mood swings that Adderall could give you.
But of course, some people will prefer taking Adderall over Vyvanse, because Adderall has a much shorter half-life. You can pop an Adderall in the morning, knock out some work for 4 to 5 hours, and feel the effects gradually wear off shortly thereafter. If you were to take a Vyvanse capsule, then you would feel stimulated for 8 to 12 hours, which might be too much time for some people.
At the end of the day, your best option is to chat with your physician about trying Adderall, Vyvanse, or maybe Concerta (methylphenidate), and figure out for yourself which option works best for your lifestyle. That way, you’ll know exactly which ADHD medication to take.
Have you taken Adderall for your ADHD? Are you a fan of Adderall, or not?
Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below. I look forward to hearing what’s on your mind.
I was taking Vyvanse for about two years and it did not mix well with the depression disorder and anxiety disorder I have. When I switched psychiatrist she recommended trying adderall. I had very positive results and have been able to control my anxiety and depression a lot better. I honestly wish I could function without medication but my ADHD is horrible. One thing I hate is to see people use it recreationally and think they had ADD/ADHD when they have no clue what it’s like to live with that kind of disorder. This was a great read and I am glad you put a positive light on adderall. Thank you for writing this!
Thanks for the awesome comment Whitney. That’s great to hear that you’re having positive results with Adderall.
And I totally agree that recreational use of ADHD medication creates a pretty nasty problem for everyone involved. It definitely doesn’t help us.
But yes, it’s good to know that we (luckily) still have access to quality ADHD medication to treat our ADHD.
You’re definitely welcome for the article.
I took Adderall XR for a short period of time in high school. I hated it. All other extended release medications felt like they would taper off, where as Adderall XR just acted like an illegal drug that makes you crash. This is the one time where I took control and told my psychiatrist that we needed to use something else. This medication made me rather manic, with huge bipolar like mood swings. Maybe it didn’t agree with my anti-anxiety medication (Buspar) at the time.
I have been taking Vyvanse for many years now. The only issue I have is “intention tremors” but I never wanted to be a doctor, so I can live with that.
I, and my brother, inherited ADD from our father. I was diagnosed back around 1992, and have been on medication for ADD and anti-anxiety since then.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us Amanda. Everyone has different experiences with ADHD medications, so I totally appreciate you sharing your story.
Yeah, Adderall XR is one of those medications that people with ADHD typically love or hate. Vyvanse has a much “smoother” effect that many people with ADHD prefer over Adderall.
Vyvanse is what I used to take too (I might use it again at some point in the future).
I wish you the best of luck with managing your ADHD.
It’s really wonderful that you are all taking the time to provide resources to those who are suffering. I came across this article when I was seeking more information about the connection between ADHD and racing thoughts.
It was very hard to read the words, “This side effect of Adderall is probably the easiest to manage, because you can usually perform some deep breathing exercises, exercise or meditate if you find yourself thinking too much. That usually does the trick.”
Thinking too much is not the same thing as racing thoughts. I would respectfully ask anyone who is unsure to do a little research reading first-hand experiences of sufferers. Even reading the actual definition might shed light. It is so important to make sure information available to those seeking answers is accurate. It would be tragic for someone in pain to feel beyond help because deep breathing does not quiet the never ending and all-consuming chatter in their brain.
Every symptom of ADHD is awful in its own way and everyone struggles with some worse than others for a variety of reasons. But I would be willing to bet that most people who have ever experienced true racing thoughts would place them at or near the top of that list always. It doesn’t matter what kind of medication you are on. With racing thoughts you will never be truly present.
My experience with Adderall treatment for ADHD was a bit different than others I have read about. I found that with Adderall, I did not experience the euphoria feeling, knocking out hours of work, or becoming intensely more focused. For me, the results were much more subtle. For example, I noticed that I was less frustrated at complex problems at work and felt that I could think through issues. I found that when driving to work, I was not as distracted (did not text, frequently change the radio, adjust the temp., etc.) I found that I had an easier time listening to others and did not need to ask them to repeat. Overall, I felt calm. I had taken multiple other medications for anxiety/depression and felt calm, but extremely fatigued. Adderall was the first medication that helped me without making me sleepy. In fact, my sleep did not change after taking Adderall as some people experience. I do not think it’s a wonder drug by any means, but it did help me to feel more adjusted in everyday life.
I take Adderall. The first time I tried it I was crying and depressed and anxious. Then I took the pill and and it was like the clouds parted and and weight was lifted. I felt great. I do have racing thoughts though, I thought it was just anxiety. I never tried Vyvanse. When I gave it to my daughter she acted nuts , had an imaginary friend and that evening she was a monster. I don’t experience a lack of creativity. I wish I knew what that was like. I can’t get ideas and inspiration out of my head. It becomes another obsessive form of work avoidance or hyperfocus and perfectionism that keeps me from just getting my stuff done and being able to do the mundane. Before I couldn’t keep a straight train of thought or remember what in the hell I was doing, or remember to show up for anything. I had to quit my job for an inability to balance life and stop obsessing over certain things and not getting some stuff done. I blamed burn out, but I really was burned out by my own thought and self distruction and lack of staff support. A little of column A and B. I was between insurances and I needed something and my kids had some extra Ritalin. I tried that and cried more than I had in a long time. I am on the highest dose of Adderall. Perhaps it’s too high, but it is hard to tell if higher or lower is even better. I really have racing thoughts when I don’t get enough sleep. I notice I’m better with the kids at night when I am still on my medicine. Otherwise I’m still hanging with them at 12:00 or I’m yelling at them to get to sleep and then say, Oh I forgot the melatonin. I hate the crash I feel at 2:30pm.