What is Adderall? The Most Full Review

Today so called “smart drugs” gain more and more popularity mainly due to their function of increasing attention, memory and overall concentration by affecting the central nervous system (CSN).

And there is no secret that they’re being actively used for studying, learning and heavy workloads among different  categories of people.

Adderall (a psychostimulant) is one of such drugs which does effectively interact with Dopamine receptors and increases release of this neurotransmitter.

Adderall is a combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine salts (four salts) in the proportion of 75% to 25%.

Once dextroamphetamine and amphetamine are absorbed into the blood (which takes 15-20 minutes) they help to release dopamine (and a few other catecholamines).

Which results in delivering extra power into the brain forming all related effects (energy, concentration, memory, attention, higher motivation, mood elevation etc.).

According to the key research papers, Adderall does primary release dopamine, serotonin, and adrenaline (noradrenaline) neurotransmitters.

In some published studies you may find that Adderall may deplete catecholamine neurotransmitters.

A primary indication of Adderall is to treat sleep disorders (e.g. narcolepsy, insomnia) and ADHD (children and adults).

But it’s important to note that Adderall is only approved for dealing with ADHD by FDA.

Adderall is also quite often used as a wakefulness stimulant and a “smart drug” by students during exams and periods of high stress.

Another indication of Adderall is to treat fatigue, especially associated with sleep disorders.

A lot of people ask:  What are the main benefits of using Adderall taking into consideration that there are a great number of nootropics which provide the same value with a fewer risks of tolerance and side effect?

The answer to that question is not as straight forward as many would think.

First of all you should clearly understand whether it’s right for you based on your current condition and a doctor’s advise.

Anyway, before making decision we recommend to take a look at the information below.

Summary: Adderall is a combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine salts developed to help people with ADHD and sleep disorders such as narcolepsy and insomnia. Adderall increases the level of dopamine, serotonin, and adrenaline and helps to achieve so called wakefulness state which helps people during stressful periods of life.








Medium Toxicity










  • Acts as the first line ADHD treatment
  • Wakefulness state
  • Dopamine release
  • Sleep disorders
  • Cognitive performance
  • Physical performance


  • Serious side effects
  • Huge list of contraindications

How It Works

Adderall by its structure is very similar to catecholamines – hormones mainly produced by chromaffin cells of the adrenal medulla. The main catecholamine hormones are dopamine, serotonin, adrenalin, noradrenaline etc.

Adderall binds to the receptors for dopamine and noradrenaline and recreates stimulation of such sensations like rush, emotional/energetic elevation and “ready for anything” feeling.

Apart from that Adderall blocks the transporters responsible for removal of the endogenous catecholamines from a neuron to the synapse, so this stimulates synaptic activity even more intensively.


Note: We gather data from different social media sources.


Note: The data is based on user’s feedbacks across different social media sources.

People’s experience

Note: The data is based on user’s feedbacks across different social media sources.


The first question about the dosage is how to avoid any tolerance problems and withdrawal effects or addiction?

This is a controversial issue as there is no common opinion on whether a minimal dosage protects users from addiction or not.

Moreover, this is complicated due to the absence of relevant clinical trials which could confirm or dispel the suspension of this theory.

In case if you plan to use Adderall for longer periods and if doing so is necessary, it is strongly recommended to consult with your doctor.

Determination of an accurate dosage of Adderall starts from identification of your age.

As Adderall is approved to be prescribed for ADHD for both children and adults, there is a distinction in dosage in this connection.

For adults it is generally prescribed to have not more than 60 mg per day (at maximum dosage, divided into two or three doses during the day with intervals of 4-6 hours), however, it should be started with 5 mg.

For children – it starts from 2.5 mg to 10 mg per day to the maximum of 40 mg per day.

More detailed sequencing of dosage increment should be closely monitored by your doctor since the optimal response and desired benefit from Adderall can be obtained with a lesser dosage.

All issues related to dosage are directly connected to the withdrawal risk.

When your body is released from taking stimulants, it requires time to recover and readjust the chemical balance in the brain. And to normalize producing dopamine, serotonin, and noradrenaline.

Usually, it takes about 2-3 days for your body to clear off the nootropic and produce a required number of neurotransmitters naturally.

Withdrawal effects may include anxiety, difficulty falling asleep, dry mouth.

Side Effects

  • Very common: Trouble Sleeping, Nervous;
  • Common: Headache, Difficulty sleeping, Loss of appetite;
  • Uncommon: Diarrhea, Dizzy, Dry mouth;
  • Rare: Hallucination, Heart attack, Stroke, Hepatitis, Seizures, High blood pressure

Therapists and experts raise reasonable concerns about the side effects of Adderall.

Some of them could be really harmful.

The frequency of side effects is ratherish high even if the drug is used in a safe dosage according to prescription.

That’s why Adderall is kind of a “not for everyone” drug.  

For example: Since Adderall withdrawal effects include elevated blood pressure and rapid heart, a competent doctor will unlikely recommend it to a patient with heart problems.

Adderall Headaches

Adderall headache is a common side effect with a frequency of about 15%.
A headache itself brings no harm and usually disappears after you stop taking Adderall.

But it seems like if the balance of chemicals in your brain is disturbed Adderall may provoke a migraine-like headache.

Among widespread causes of headaches are: cerebral vasoconstriction, electrolyte disturbances, systolic hypertension, neck tension (excessive dopaminergic increasing muscle rigidity, which accordingly causes tension in your neck and shoulders).

You need to look closely if your headache comes suddenly and if it’s getting worse within a minute, or associated with fever, seizure, loss of consciousness, confusion, weakness, impaired vision or numbness; or often caused by injury or intensive exercises.

How To Fight Adderall Headache

There are some pieces of advice which can help to get a relief from the headaches:

  • physical exercises which are normally incorporated into your daily life – yoga, shaping, pilates, painting, gardening, massage with essential oils, neck relaxing either by message or other means etc;
  • aromatherapy with relaxing oils like jasmine, lavender or sandalwood;
  • normalize electrolyte balance: limit alcohol, cholesterol, and trans-fats supplementing potassium and may reduce hypertension, and increase taking beverages which are isotonic to blood;
  • medication to treat a headache (aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen; excedrin, prednisone, antidepressants).

It’s a quite rare situation when amphetamine-caused headaches pose serious risks to your health.

But in case if you feel any of specified symptoms above you should immediately consult with your doctor.

Interactions And Contraindications

Before taking Adderall you should consult with your doctor or/and a pharmacist, especially if you use any other drugs interacting with Adderall such as the following ones:

  • Antidepressants (MAO inhibitors, SSRIs, SNRIs)
  • Serotonergic drugs
  • Dextroamphetamine and other stimulant drugs
  • Inhibitors of enzymes
  • Proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs)
  • Zinc supplementation (May reduce an effective dose while treating ADHD)

Adderall is contraindicated in people with a history of drug abuse, severe anxiety, advanced atherosclerosis, glaucoma, hypertension. 

Also, patients with anorexia nervosa, bipolar disorder, depression, hypertension, liver or kidney problems, mania, psychosis should be regularly monitored by a doctor while using Adderall. 

Available Forms

Adderall is produced in capsules for oral intake.


The common stacks for Adderall are:

  • Adderall + Vitamin D
  • Adderall + Vitamin B12
  • Adderall + Fish Oil
  • Adderall + Magnesium

Legal Status

Internationally, Adderall (amphetamine) is in Schedule II of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances.

In the US, Adderall is a Schedule II prescription drug, classified as a CNS stimulant.

In Canada, Adderall is in Schedule I of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, and can only be obtained by prescription.


Supplements and drugs with similar effects are listed below:

Prescription only:

  • Ritalin (methylphenidate)
  • Strattera (atomoxetine)
  • Focalin (dexmethylphenidate)
  • Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine)
  • Provigil (modafinil)

OTC (over the counter):

  • Caffeine + L-Theanine
  • Aniracetam
  • Phenylpiracetam
  • Rhodiola Rosea
  • Sulbutiamine
  • Alpha-GPC


Q: Can Adderall cause anxiety attacks?

A: Yes, this is why a patient should not take Adderall having a history of moderate/severe anxiety in the past. 

Q: Can Adderall cause depression?

A: Yes. Moreover, Adderall is never prescribed for patients with depression and it’s not approved for treating depression by FDA. 

Q: Can taking Adderall give you ADHD?

A: Adderall is used as the first line treatment for ADHD. 

Q: How long does it take for Adderall to work?

A: Adderall starts working approximately 30 min – 1 hour after intake and lasts around 5-12 hours depending on dosage.

Bottom Line

Adderall is a very powerful treatment which can definitely help people with ADHD and some sleep disorders, but its toxicity (LD50 – 1.6 grams) makes it controversial for taking in people having any other serious medical conditions such as depression, vascular disorders, bipolar disorder and many others.

Another important note is that Adderall must be thoroughly controlled in the context of dosage.

When it’s taken improperly (ex. overdosed) it leads to severe adverse effects such as hyperthermia, hypoglycemia, hypersegmentation of neutrophils, mild thrombocytopenia and even stroke. 

So before considering Adderall as the first line drug, a patient must consult with a therapist and should be carefully monitored during the therapy.

And of course, one should not use Adderall or related stimulant drugs for recreational purposes.   

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