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Adderall Short-Term and Long-Term Side Effects

adderall short and long term side effects

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As with any other medication, there is a risk of Adderall XR side effects which are the unwanted reactions to a certain medication when it is taken in normally prescribed doses. Asking a doctor how Adderall works can help to understand and prevent the unwanted negative reactions.

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Table of Contents

How Widespread are Adverse Effects in Adderall Treatment?

However, the side effects do not necessarily emerge during the treatment process. It is very important to note that if one is at all concerned about any Adderall side effects, immediately consult a family physician. The doctor will also outweigh the risks against the benefits of taking this medication, as well as preferable dosage as the regular Adderall XR 20 mg dose can appear to be too high in the rare cases.
All of the side effects mentioned here have been reported by at least 1% of patients taking this medication. It is also important to note that some side effects can be managed, while others might disappear over time. If stimulant is abused and/or taken incorrectly, long-term effects of Adderall might be dangerous.
Contact a doctor immediately if one experiences any of these side effects are severe or affect normal routine.

  • Diarrhea woman holding her stomach because of pain, diarrhea and nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Appetite changes
  • Mood changes
  • Nausea
  • Stomach ache
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss

Although most of the side effects of Adderall doesn’t happen often, there is a possibility for dangerous problems.

Can Adderall Do Harm?

If Adderall is not properly used as indicated by a doctor, it can both be very dangerous and addictive. Adderall long-term effects such as mood disorders, sleep disorders, chronic headaches, anxiety, depression, constipation, abdominal pain, and tremors can be a consequence of abuse. Individuals who try to potentiate Adderall to enhance the “high” feeling are more likely to face the adverse effects of amphetamine-based drug use. Some recreational users also do not know how much Adderall to get high is needed and prone to overdosing, which leads to developing severe long-term adverse reactions.

Note that the recreational use of the drug is not safe and considered an action against the law. Patients should not take Adderall in any ways or amounts other than prescribed.

In general, it is assumed that Adderall is a safe drug to use due to the fact that it is prescribed to both adults and children, but the dangers of Adderall are vastly overlooked. If a person does not follow the prescription properly, for example, tries to learn how to snort Adderall instead of taking it the prescribed way, it can have life-threatening side effects. They can also be at risk of developing dependency and increased tolerance to the effects of Adderall which can ultimately lead to a worsening of serious side effects.

What Are the Short-Term Side Effects of Adderall?

When Adderall is used appropriately and for short periods of time, it can have a positive effect controlling the symptoms in ADHD. Adderall effects on the brain can improve a patient’s ability by boosting alertness, attention and energy levels. This also causes Adderall to have other effects such as an increased heart rate, weight loss, difficulty in sleeping and feeling of anxiousness. Some negative effects of Adderall include:


One big concern of patients is that this drug makes them sleepy and tired, or, vice versa, they have a problem with how to sleep on Adderall. Doctors usually answer this by explaining that Adderall is a stimulant drug and it is better taking it in the morning to reduce some of the side effects during the night.

  • Palpitations
  • Tachycardia
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Heart failure
  • Fatigue

Central nervous system

One serious side effect to consider is the risk of developing mental health problems including depression, unusual behaviors and bipolar disorder. The chances of taking Adderall and depression symptoms developing is increased if there is a history of depression in the family. After starting Adderall, anxiety symptoms might worsen which can be treated separately. In the case of children, when taking Adderall psychosis may develop in the form of hallucinations and delusions.

  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Tremor
  • Aggression
  • Psychosis


  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Altered taste
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss

Weight loss

It also can suppress appetite, and a growing number of people will come to their doctors with the intention of using it as a weight loss quick fix. However, using Adderall for weight loss can result in severe side effects including heart problems, addiction, and mental illnesses.


  • Rashwoman scratching the itchy rash on the neck
  • Itching
  • Swelling of the face and limbs
  • Difficulty in breathing


  • Decreased libido
  • Prolonged erection
  • Hair loss

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Adderall?

Adderall is not meant for long-term treatment because generally, ADHD tends to disappear with adulthood. There are various risks associated with taking Adderall long-term; however, these risks are accentuated if Adderall is abused and/or taken in large doses. Taking a stimulant drug like Adderall changes a person’s brain chemistry which has an effect on their motivation and reward systems. This will change how a person feels and how they can feel pleasure. Mood disorders are a big concern when it comes to using Adderall long-term. Other long-term effects may include:

  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Aggression
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Anxiety
  • Constipation
  • Weight loss
  • Tremors

The danger of Adderall is that it is a very strong stimulant which can often lead to life-threatening side effects. There is also the possibility of overdose which is the most dangerous side effect caused by Adderall. Overdosing on Adderall can lead to heart attack, stroke and liver failure. Combining Adderall and alcohol potentiates Adderall effects, and when these substances are combined, the risk of a fatal overdose is dramatically increased.

What Are Adderall Side Effects in Men and Women?

Adverse Reactions in Men

Adderall side effects in men are usually related to their prostate which can lead to difficulty in urinating, sharp pain and discomfort. These symptoms can disappear once the patient stops taking Adderall, but it is still advisable to consult a family physician.

Adverse Reactions in Women

Adderall side effects in women are more related to their tendency to abuse it and that the consumption among women is increasing in comparison to men. Women also tend to abuse it in order to lose weight quickly.

How to Cope with Adderall Adverse Reactions?

Adverse effects of this medication can emerge due to many factors which include incorrect dosage, drug abuse, or individual intolerance. In any case, these conditions shall be brought to the doctor who prescribed this stimulant at the earliest convenience. Only a professional medical specialist can advise whether the benefits of the drug overweight its negative influence and decide, whether the patient shall continue taking Adderall, switch to another medication or cease treatment at all.
woman talking to a mature doctor in his officeIn case of the long-term side effects and developed Adderall dependence addiction treatment is needed. An intervention is a  very effective way for family and friends to convince a person with an addiction problem to get help. Treatment for drug abusers can be very effective, but it is important that patients addicted to or dependent on are supervised by health professionals. There are various ways to approach a person who is addicted to or abuses Adderall and assistance can be provided from an intervention specialist (They can provide guidance on how to approach such a situation and what to say. They can also prepare the patients for unexpected and violent reactions or outbursts and resisting behavior).
Adderall comedown is the time period where a patient might experience adverse effects after abruptly stopping overdosing or misusing the prescribed drug. It is recommended that a patient requires medical treatment during this period. Rehab without insurance is an option for people whose insurance does not cover the addiction treatment.

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  1. Medline Plus. Dextroamphetamine and Amphetamine. 2019.
  2. Sichilima T., Rieder M. J. Adderall and cardiovascular risk: A therapeutic dilemma. Paediatrics & Child Health. 2009; 14(3): 193–195. doi:10.1093/pch/14.3.193.
  3. The US Food and Drug Administration. ADDERALL® (CII). 2007.
Medically Reviewed By Michael Espelin APRN
Isaak Stotts

About Author

Isaak Stotts, LP

Isaak Stotts is an in-house medical writer in AddictionResource. Isaak learned addiction psychology at Aspen University and got a Master's Degree in Arts in Psychology and Addiction Counseling. After graduation, he became a substance abuse counselor, providing individual, group, and family counseling for those who strive to achieve and maintain sobriety and recovery goals.


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