Purpose, Dosage and Side Effects – Forbes Health

Adderall is a prescription drug that contains a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, two central nervous system (CNS) stimulants that work by altering chemicals, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, in the brain. It is commonly prescribed to reduce the symptoms of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), characterized by symptoms such as inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. It is also indicated for narcolepsy, a chronic neurological disease that can affect the brain’s ability to regulate sleep-wake cycles.

Dopamine plays an important role in feelings of reward, while norepinephrine increases heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing, ultimately affecting your attention and alertness. As a result, Adderall can help you feel more awake and motivated when taken as prescribed.

Zishan Khan, MD, board-certified psychiatrist and regional medical director of Mindpath Health in Frisco, Texas, explains that some healthcare providers may also prescribe Adderall to treat other medical conditions, known as off-label prescribing. A common off-label use of Adderall includes its use to treat depression.

However, not everyone needs or can benefit from taking Adderall.

Josephine Elia, MD, board-certified psychiatrist and division chief at Nemours Children’s Health in Delaware, warns that drug abuse is a potential risk with Adderall, especially among college students. While increased dopamine can increase feelings of euphoria, energy levels, and short-term working memory, taking Adderall without a prescription or in a way other than as prescribed can cause side effects. emotional and physical secondary. Instead, she urges students to develop study skills that focus on learning and retaining information.

Age Requirements for Adderall

Adderall is not recommended for children under 3 years old, while Adderall XR (an extended-release form of the drug) is not recommended for children under 6 years old.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parent training in behavior management as the first line of ADHD treatment (before prescribing medication) for children under 6, and recommends medication and behavior therapy for children older.

“Every child and every situation is different, and there are absolutely cases that warrant prescribing Adderall as young as 3 or 4 years old,” notes Dr. Khan. However, he insists that caution should be exercised, and that just because Adderall is FDA-approved for children 3 and older, not all 3-year-olds can tolerate the side effects. . Young children are more likely to experience appetite suppression and growth restriction from taking Adderall than a teenager or adult, he says.

A Warning About Stimulant Abuse

It should be noted that Adderall is an amphetamine drug, which is classified as a stimulant. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that stimulants have a high potential for abuse.

Abuse of amphetamines can lead to serious health effects, including cardiovascular events and even sudden death. It is important to only use this medicine under the close supervision of your doctor and to make sure you follow the prescription instructions carefully if you give it to your child.

Some signs of addiction and stimulant addiction include:

  • Inability to reduce doses or discontinue use
  • Difficulty performing normal functions without use
  • Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, even when tired
  • Severely reduced appetite
  • Increased tolerance and requiring higher doses to experience the same effects
  • Withdrawal symptoms at reduced dose, including trouble sleeping, tremors, anxiety, or depression

Experts note that stimulant medications prescribed in clinical settings are monitored by licensed practitioners, but stimulants obtained from non-pharmacological resources may not have strict monitoring guidelines. In these cases, the risk of abuse and misuse is high.

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