Adderall is a medication that can improve concentration and focus for an individual with AD/HD, and this can be a welcome relief — short-term! However, there are severe potential side effects to Adderall. Long-term use can alter brain function enough to cause depression and anxiety. Considering young brains are not fully developed until the mid-20’s, they are particularly vulnerable to problems associated with Adderall and/or other amphetamines commonly prescribed for AD/HD symptoms.

Do I have AD/HD?

Fallon Schultz, licensed clinical social worker and addiction specialist from Howell, N.J., reports that studies at UCLA show that aggression, psychosis and suicide rates are higher among those who use amphetamines.

Click here for article: Generation Rx: AD/HD and Medication

In people without AD/HD, the amygdala, which monitors and controls emotions and aggression, can become overactive from stimulants, including Adderall, leading to increased dopamine levels. Schultz adds, “This tricks the brain that it doesn’t need to make dopamine. That results in severe depression and mood dysregulation.” It can also lead to symptoms of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

Dr. Charles Sophy addresses the serious side effects to Adderall. “The more you take it, the more you need to have that pleasurable mental state.” What starts as one pill becomes 3-4 pills for a similar effect. “You build a tolerance, and after a while, you’re crashing when you come off these pills.”

Adderal can increase blood pressure to dangerous levels, creating the risk of heart attack, stroke, or death. Dr. Marvin Seppala, chief medical officer at Hazeklen, an addiction treatment center, shares about these and other side effects to Adderall. “We know from a medical perspective it’s dangerous and can cause seizures, strokes, heart attacks, even death.”

Increase in Adderall Prescriptions

According to the CDC, 1 in 12 Americans is diagnosed with AD/HD, and there has been a 30-fold increase in Adderall sales since 2001.

Dan Harris and Lana Zak, reporters for ABC News, reported last week that between 2002 and 2010 there was a 750% increase in Adderall prescriptions for Women ages 26-39.

Dr. Igor Galynker, a psychiatrist and director of the Family Center for Bipolar Disorder at Beth Isreal Medical Center in New York, is very concerned about the skyrocketing AD/HD and medication use for this in the U.S. He is vocally critical of the “explosion” of AD/HD diagnoses and “profit-driven” pharmaceutical companies that “do everything possible to twist doctors’ arms into treating diagnoses they don’t need.”

Brain Changers

Brain Changers recognizes that the symptoms of AD/HD lead to difficulty with focus and concentration and can negatively affect performance and success. We offer an effective, long-lasting form of treatment that does not include medication or negative side effects. Through neurofeedback, we retrain the brain waves toward healthy brain function, thereby reducing or eliminating symptoms. Counseling addresses the unhealthy thought and behavior patterns that have developed as a result of the ongoing struggle with symptoms. The end result is a client who is healthier in body, mind, and Spirit!