Recognizing the Risks and Side Effects of Adderall and ADD, and the Symptoms of Adderall Withdrawal
by Tess Thompson
If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD or ADD, you may have explored the option of treating him or her with a prescription stimulant drug like Adderall. Stimulants are commonly prescribed by doctors for children with ADHD because they have been found to be predominantly safe and effective in treating the symptoms of the condition. They do, however, carry a risk of side effects which can vary in intensity with each person.
Stimulants increase brain activity, which in turn can increase a child's ability to pay attention, and Adderall is a popular child ADHD treatment -- about 1 million U.S. children currently take it or its time-released sibling, Adderall XR. Many Adderall users report minor side effects such as loss of appetite, weight loss, insomnia, dizziness and headaches. Although less frequently reported, other side effects include irritability, nervousness, feelings of suspicion or paranoia and restlessness.
There are some serious side effects of Adderall that are reported rarely. The most alarming of these are Tourette's Syndrome, hallucinations, high blood pressure, and rapid heart rate. Any side effects, mild or severe, should be immediately reported to your child's physician.
Adderall is an amphetamine, and so also carries a risk of addiction. Patients should take the lowest effective dosage, and because each person reacts differently to this medication, it can take some time to figure out what that is. Although Adderall abusers are usually adults, if your child has become disturbingly aggressive or irritable, it could be a sign that he or she is abusing the drug, or has been prescribed an incorrect dosage.
If your child is abusing Adderall, abruptly stopping high dosages of the medication can lead to signs of Adderall withdrawal, which can include extreme fatigue and depression. In the most severe but rare cases, patients have reported psychosis.
Many find Adderall to be an effective treatment for ADHD and decide it is worth enduring minor side effects, but parents should think hard about the risks involved. This year, Canada pulled Adderall from the market after reports of 20 deaths. They have recently decided to put the drug back on the shelves again because of new research that shows the drug to be safe. However, all stimulants carry a small risk of death, especially among those with heart problems.
There are some natural ingredients that have proven effective in the treatment of ADHD symptoms, and which you may decide to try before prescription medication. Some of the best ingredients are Centella Asiatica (also called Gotu Kola), Green Oats (also called Avena Sativa) and Panax Ginseng. Many herbal and homeopathic remedies contain these ingredients and can be a safe alternative to Adderall, should you decide stimulant drugs are not the right choice for your child.