Turning to Adderall for Weight Loss

Risks of taking adderall for weight loss

 Verywell / Nusha Ashjaee 

Back in the 1950s and 60s, doctors would prescribe amphetamines for weight loss. That practice was ended by law when the addictive nature of these drugs was proven. Today, Adderall prescribed for ADHD is sometimes used non-medically for its weight loss support properties.

Adderall contains amphetamine and has the typical amphetamine effect of suppressing appetite. Some people turn to this "Adderall diet" or "speed diet" to lose weight, although no doctor would prescribe the drug for that purpose.

With many people prescribed Adderall appropriately for ADHD, it is also not a surprise that people who use it for nonmedical purposes often get it from friends and family members or can easily buy it on the street.

The risks of taking Adderall for weight loss include serious psychiatric and medical conditions.

Adderall Effects and Nonmedical Use

Adderall, when used properly and as prescribed, can be beneficial for treating ADHD. Unfortunately, there are those who abuse stimulants. Adderall abuse and the misuse of similar stimulants are seen in about 3.4% of those age 12 and older, according to a study published in 2013.

Adderall has the effect of increasing dopamine signaling in the brain. This can give a feeling of euphoria and being energized. The physical effects include raising the heart rate and blood pressure, constricting blood vessels, opening breathing passages, and increasing blood glucose. It can have the effect of suppressing appetite, which can result in eating less. People taking Adderall for ADHD may experience weight loss due to the appetite suppression side effect even if they weren't trying to lose weight.

According to a study published in 2013, most people who take Adderall non-medically give the reason of improving their productivity, with fewer saying they use it for weight loss.

Risks and Consequences of Nonmedical Use of Adderall

Adderall is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of ADD / ADHD. Using the drug for another purpose is not only unwise, but it is also dangerous. When taken at higher than the prescribed dosage, Adderall can be psychologically and physically addictive. In addition, some longer-term abusers need to take increasing amounts in order to get the same appetite suppression. They may even turn to sleeping pills to counteract Adderall's stimulant effect.

If Adderall pills are taken as prescribed, they slowly and steadily give a therapeutic effect to the brain. When used at higher doses and when people misuse them by taking them through different routes, the effects are larger and more immediate, which is believed to increase the risk of addiction. Abuse can lead to malnutrition, feelings of hostility, paranoia, heart complications, and stroke. Once you abuse stimulants chronically, you can have withdrawal symptoms when you stop using them.

It is a better choice to avoid stimulants for the purpose of appetite suppression and rely on non-drug tactics for weight loss.

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