Even though Adderall effectively treats ADHD, men and women alike can experience a wide range of side effects. However, some Adderall side effects are unique to females, which is why it’s essential to understand what these side effects are and what to do if you experience them.
Any woman who abuses Adderall and similar stimulants should seek treatment as quickly as possible. Before you start taking Adderall, keep in mind that this particular drug is considered highly addictive by the Drug Enforcement Administration. The following offers a more comprehensive overview of Adderall’s side effects commonly found in women.
What You Should Know About Adderall
Adderall is the primary drug used to treat ADHD, a chronic health condition that results in hyperactivity and attention difficulty. While the drug is mainly designed to reduce ADHD symptoms, it’s also regularly used by people looking to lose weight.
This medication is trendy on college campuses by students who believe that they will obtain higher grades with the enhanced concentration that Adderall can provide. A small number of people who abuse the drug will inject or snort the drug, which is designed to make the effects of the drug more potent.
How Adderall Affects Females
The amount of Adderall that a woman should take depends on her body weight. If doses aren’t varied based on body weight, the total amount of processed amphetamine within the body increases by upwards of 30%. Keep in mind that estrogen will also determine how effective Adderall is when taken by females.
When estrogen is at an elevated level, the effects of Adderall are heightened. Estrogen can be at elevated levels during menopause, puberty, or pregnancy. When a woman takes a standard dose of Adderall during pregnancy or menopause, she can experience a “high” sensation. The body may even become physically dependent on the drug, which is dangerous and can lead to addiction.
Primary Side Effects of Adderall in Females
Some of the side effects that a person can experience after taking Adderall are more common among women, mainly the result of how a woman processes this substance. The main side effects that you could experience when taking a standard dose of Adderall include:
- Decreased libido
- Increased anxiety
- Dry mouth
- Issues with bowel movements
- Sleeping difficulties, which can consist of having trouble staying asleep
How Adderall Can Affect a Pregnancy
If you are currently pregnant and are considering taking Adderall for ADHD or to lose weight, you should avoid using this medication for the duration of your pregnancy. Even though there haven’t been many studies centered around the effects of Adderall on pregnancy, the limited amount of research indicates that taking any form of amphetamines could be unsafe during pregnancy.
Taking illegal amphetamines like methamphetamine could result in relatively low birth weight, withdrawal symptoms following the birth, premature birth, and physical harm to infants or fetuses. Infant mortality is also a possibility. On the other hand, Adderall has proven to be somewhat effective at treating the adverse symptoms associated with menopause.
Severe Side Effects Associated with Adderall
Because women have a higher chance of experiencing side effects when taking Adderall, the possibility of going through severe side effects is also increased. Stimulants like Adderall will invariably increase body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. You’re also more likely to lose your appetite and have issues with falling asleep at night.
It’s important to understand that standard usage of Adderall can still lead to changes being made within your brain in regards to how emotions are regulated. When taken for a prolonged period, Adderall could cause damage to the heart muscles, lungs, vascular system, and similar internal organs, which could worsen your health considerably.
Possibility of Adderall Leading to Shortness of Breath
Some of the more severe Adderall side effects that females may experience include fainting, shortness of breath, and difficulties with breathing. These side effects could create additional health complications and potentially death if left untreated. If you go through any of these symptoms, it’s highly recommended to obtain medical treatment as soon as possible.
Possibility of Adderall Leading to High Blood Pressure
Because Adderall is considered a stimulant, it can cause high blood pressure in women. While most people will experience elevated blood pressure at one time or another, this side effect can pose a problem if you’re also suffering from a severe cardiac issue or heart abnormality. When you take Adderall, the medication may cause your heart rate to increase at a rate of 3-6 beats every minute. This increase may be even higher depending on your current health. If you have been diagnosed with any heart condition, you must speak with your doctor before you decide to use Adderall for your ADHD.
Possibility of Adderall Leading to a Heart Attack
Adderall is a powerful stimulant that everyone shouldn’t take. Even a single use of this medication could result in cardiac arrest, which isn’t necessarily as severe as a heart attack. A cardiac arrest can develop without forewarning and occurs when a person’s heartbeat suddenly stops. If you don’t use Adderall as prescribed, the possibility that you experience a cardiac arrest increases substantially. The side effects that might occur when you take a higher dose of Adderall than you were prescribed include:
- Blurred vision
- Sexual dysfunction
- Chest pain
- Heart attack
- Difficulty breathing
Signs that a Loved One Is Abusing Adderall
Unlike some drugs, it’s not always easy to identify that someone is abusing Adderall. Some students and younger people will take Adderall to increase their concentration levels and productivity. The main signs of being on the lookout for if you believe that someone close to you is abusing Adderall include:
- Excitability that’s uncharacteristic
- Secretive behavior
- Working or concentrating too hard
- Withdrawing from social situations
- Talking too much
- Not finishing thoughts
- Unexplained financial issues
- Taking pills frequently
- Need to refill prescriptions at a quicker rate than anticipated
- Memory problems
- Fast weight loss
Treatment Options Available to Females
There is a wide range of effective treatments available to women abusing Adderall or who have become addicted to the medication. These treatments can primarily be broken down into medical detoxification, outpatient treatment, and inpatient rehab, all of which can help you work towards recovery and are available at ReCreate Life Counseling.
Medical detox programs are designed to help any woman dependent on Adderall progress safely through the withdrawal symptoms that naturally occur. When a body becomes dependent on any drug or medication, when deciding to stop taking medicine, you will experience withdrawal symptoms that can worsen your health and make relapse more likely. Medical detox allows you to go through this process under 24/7 medical supervision. You will also likely receive small doses of medications that can ease the withdrawal symptoms and help you progress to the next stage of treatment.
Intensive outpatient programs are designed to help you learn how to manage your addiction and lead a sober lifestyle without requiring you to stay in a residential facility. This form of treatment is available on a part-day or full-day basis and usually takes place several days each week. During treatment, you should still meet all of your work or school responsibilities.
Women who attend this treatment program will be in an environment tailored to fit their specific needs. The treatments administered during an outpatient rehab program include family therapy, group counseling, behavioral therapy, and individual therapy.
Inpatient rehab provides you with all of the same treatments available in outpatient rehab. However, the main difference is that these therapies are provided in a residential setting, which you will be required to stay at on a 24/7 basis for the duration of the program. This is the most intensive form of treatment and is designed to accommodate women going through a severe addiction to Adderall. You’ll be in a drug-free environment among other people who are going through the same journey as you.
Even if you take Adderall as prescribed, the side effects among females can be severe and lead to abuse or addiction. When this occurs, you or your loved one must admit that treatment is needed. Call ReCreate Life Counseling today if you have any questions about our programs or would like to begin your path towards recovery.