Overview Of Adderall
Adderall is a type of medication individuals require a prescription for and is used and approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration to treat disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy. Adderall is comprised of two different drugs called dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. These drugs increase the available quantities of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. An individual's attention and wakefulness require large amounts of these two neurotransmitters in the brain. There are two different formulations of Adderall, one being an extended-release tablet and the other a standard release tablet. The standard dosage of Adderall depends on what it is being used to treat and falls between two and a half milligrams a day to twenty milligrams taken twice per day. In rare and severe cases of narcolepsy, Adderall may be taken at the dosage of sixty milligrams per day.
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Class Of Medication
Adderall is a prescription medication that is part of a class of drugs called stimulants, which cause an increase in activity in an individual's brain. Prescription stimulant drugs have their primary effects on an individual's autonomic nervous system and central nervous system. This type of psychoactive drug causes a temporary increase in mood, alertness, and awareness. A wide range of stimulant drugs is utilized for different purposes and use a different mechanism of action to accomplish their effects. Stimulants referred to as methylxanthines stop certain enzymes that increase the amount of a compound called cyclic adenosine monophosphate and include nicotine and varenicline. Amphetamines work by stimulating the release of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine and suppressing the activities of monoamine oxidase. Stimulants are known to cause an increase in an individual's blood sugar, decrease in appetite, increase in heart rate, increase in blood pressure, and an increase in body temperature. Most drugs classified as stimulants have qualities that make them addictive and prone to abuse. However, taking prescribed stimulant medications according to a physician's instruction should not produce addiction or any other harmful effects in most individuals.
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Common Uses For Adderall
Adderall is commonly used for individuals who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This condition can make it increasingly difficult for a patient to maintain sufficient focus and concentration at work and school. Most cases of ADHD manifest during school years in childhood or early in adolescence, but adult cases do occur as well. An individual develops ADHD as the result of a deficiency in the quantity and function of a certain neurotransmitter in the brain called dopamine. Dopamine levels have a critical influence on motivation, attention, and movement. Adderall causes an increase in the amount of dopamine in the brain and upregulates the activity of dopamine, effectively alleviating symptoms produced in a patient with lower than normal levels of dopamine. Adderall is used to treat individuals affected by ADHD that are three years of age and older. The appropriate dosage of Adderall is not the same for everyone and has to be determined based on titrating up on the dose until the desired effects are achieved.
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Uncommon Uses For Adderall
An uncommon use for Adderall is when they are affected by a chronic sleep disorder known as narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is caused by the shortage of a certain type of cell in the brain that produces a chemical called hypocretin, which is critical for an individual to regulate their sleep and wake cycle properly. Symptoms seen in narcolepsy include excessive sleepiness during the daytime, frequent hallucinations, disrupted nighttime sleep, sleep attacks, sleep paralysis, and cataplexy. Sleep attacks occur when an individual suddenly falls asleep when they are in the middle of everyday activities. Cataplexy is an episode where an individual experiences sudden weakness of the muscles as an abnormal response to strong emotion or heated situations. These symptoms have shown to be decreased in individuals who take Adderall at the beginning of their day. Adderall provides an increase in a neurotransmitter referred to as norepinephrine that helps keep an individual awake.
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Benefits Of Adderall
Despite the less than glamorous reputation Adderall has among the population, it is an extremely beneficial medication for individuals who are unable to live and function normally otherwise. When Adderall is taken strictly according to the dosage and instructions given by a doctor, it should produce a significant amount of benefit compared to its potential risks and side effects. Individuals who have a deficiency of certain chemicals in their brains require adequate replacement of these chemicals to live a normal life. Adderall can provide this replacement for ADHD and narcolepsy patients. Furthermore, the effects of leaving such conditions untreated can be very unsafe in comparison to the possible side effects of Adderall. Untreated narcolepsy can cause the patient to be unable to take care of themselves and puts them at risk for injury with sleep attacks. Untreated ADHD can cause other mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety, both of which can pose a risk to safety. For individuals affected by ADHD, treatment with Adderall helps reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety due to untreated ADHD.
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Risks And Side Effects Of Adderall
Just like any other medication, Adderall has certain risks and possible side effects patients should be aware of and watch out for when they take this medication. The most serious side effects include chest pain, fainting, shortness of breath, hallucinations, aggression, delusional thinking, and cognitive impairments. Some more common side effects that are minor and should dissipate after the first couple weeks on the medication include headaches, anxiety, decreased appetite, dizziness, difficulty sleeping, stomachache, moodiness, and irritability. An individual affected by certain other preexisting medical conditions is at a higher risk of experiencing side effects than others. These preexisting medical conditions include heart defects, stroke, heart attack, hyperthyroidism, seizures, bipolar disorder, glaucoma, circulatory problems, high blood pressure, heart problems, previous drug addiction, and an allergy to stimulant drugs. Taking Adderall during pregnancy can increase the risk of premature birth, low birth weight, and amphetamine withdrawal symptoms. Adderall should only be used during pregnancy when the benefits outweigh the risks.