Adderall – When and How it Affects You:
By: Dr. Neil
Last week a 24 year old patient came into my office asking for Adderall. Now this is a bright young man, someone that has been successful in his own right and should know better. His perception is that Adderall provides energy and focus without any side effects. He couldn’t be more wrong:
0 – 1 Hour: The first hour after consuming an “immediate release” tablet the effects of Adderall are minimal. Adderall is consumed orally and undergoes what’s called the “first pass effect”, meaning it has to go from your gastrointestinal tract to your blood stream and be metabolized into it’s effective chemical compounds. So where a cup of yerba mate tea would have woken him up immediately, Adderall is essentially sitting in his stomach.
1 - 3 Hours: As Adderall becomes active, some of it stays as amphetamine, and some gets converted to norephedrine, the meds then lead to a few not so pleasant side effects:
Dry Mouth: The first thing that happens is dehydration. Your mouth dries up due to impact norephedrine, if you don’t have more water, the meninges (tissue surrounding your brain), contracts and you end up with a migraine or headache.
False Euphoria: The impact of Adderall on your brain is that it leads to a release of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine leading to a temporary sense of euphoria similar to cocaine, methamphetamine (crystal meth), and prescription antidepressants.
Hypertension and Tachycardia (high blood pressure and heart rate): The effect of norephinephrine and D-amphetamine on vasculature is something called vasoconstriction. Meaning it makes your blood vessels narrow, your heart rate go up, and your blood pressure go up. This may be mild in some people, but it can worsen headaches, heart pathology/conditions, and lead to potential arrhythmias.
3-5 Hours: The peak serum concentration of Adderall occurs at about hour 3. It’s usually down hill from there unless it is consumed with food at which time the peak serum half life is around hour 5 after which the effects start to diminish:
Paranoia, Insomnia, Touretts/Ticks: As the neurotransmitters from Adderall accumulate, patients often report increased paranoid, ticks/behaviors, and insomnia. Our bodies produce just the right amount of neurotransmitters, temporarily overloading your system can lead to pretty sharp after-effects when those neurotransmitters are no longer there.
Constipation and Abdominal Pain: While Adderall was at peak levels, it slowed the motility of your stomach in favor of keeping your heart rate and blood pressure up. The slower GI motility leads to constipation and GI discomfort – worse in the first day, but present during the second.
5-7 Hours: By hour 7 the party is usually over and all that’s left is a craving for more without and residual energy or positive effect.
Crash: Whenever neurotransmitters are released in the brain, they eventually get broken down in a process called “reuptake”. That euphoria producing dopamine is gone, and that absence is very palpable. People feel a crash and want to take more.
All in all, I told my patient to have some tea, increase his exercise, and improve his sleep hygiene. There are slew of safe, healthy, herbal products he can and should use without any of the negative effects of Adderall like Lifted View.