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5 minutes

Adderall Headaches: Side Effects & Abuse Potential of Using Adderall

Medically Reviewed
Last Medically Reviewed on: June 25, 2022
A man with a headache

Updated on

22 Jun, 2022

Adderall is one of the most commonly prescribed medications for children and young adults to mitigate the effects of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Adderall helps promote focus and concentration in individuals with diagnosed attention deficit hyperactivity disorder while usually only contributing mild to moderate side effects.

Adderall is a powerful stimulant of the central nervous system and changes the levels of some crucial neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. This causes a lessening of ADHD in those prescribed, but it can cause a rush of euphoria and incredible alertness and concentration in illicit users.

While most people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are diagnosed in their childhood, many still deal with the effects and symptoms of the illness well into adulthood. This can lead to a lifelong relationship with Adderall and Adderall headaches. In addition, these symptoms are often challenging or even difficult to manage with many other medications, so Adderall is often the first suggested treatment option.

Adderall Headaches & Other Side Effects

Adderall has many potential symptoms that both legitimate and illicit users experience. Adderall is available in both a tablet and a capsule. Many users take the pills by swallowing them like normal, and many users crush the pills and capsules, then either snort or inject them. Taking it these ways allows the drug to hit the user’s system much quicker than traditional oral administration. This super-fast onset is a major draw to abusing the drug to stop Adderall headaches.

Adderall has formulations that release the drug’s full effect immediately, as well as formulations that give relief over an extended period. When trying to stop Adderall headaches, the user will often use either formulation, though the extended-release capsules are nearly always crushed to bypass the time-delay feature.

Once taken, the user will often find relief from their Adderall headaches for 4 to 6 hours after the drug takes effect in a few minutes. On the other hand, those who abuse the formulation that extends the drug release without bypassing that feature will find that they can mitigate their Adderall headaches for a 10 to 12-hour period.

Adderall has the following possible side effects during legitimate, prescribed use:

  • Agitation and irritability
  • Anxiety and nervousness
  • Restlessness
  • Headache
  • Stomach pains
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dry mouth
  • Insomnia
  • Impotence
  • Lower libido or sex drive
  • Difficulty achieving orgasm
  • Weight loss
  • Hair loss

These symptoms can present in anyone taking Adderall as directed by their medical professional. But in most cases, this will not be for any significant duration. Long-term and limited heavy use can seriously harm the user’s health. Short-term alterations to a patient’s serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine levels are not necessarily harmful and will not generally result in serious issues.

When used for long periods, Adderall, just like many other stimulants, can cause severe changes to the parts of the brain that deal with pleasure, motivation, and reward. Over time this can lead to challenges in feeling or experiencing happiness or enjoyment by the user. Eventually, Adderall builds a dependency, and when the levels in the bloodstream drop too much, the user begins to feel the various effects of withdrawal.

Abuse Potential for Adderall

Adderall is a popular prescription medication, but it is also extremely likely to be abused frequently, especially for concentration and focus. It can start as a legitimate prescription or even a friend sharing pills as a study aid, but it can soon spiral out of control into a serious dependence.

Since Adderall is an amphetamine, it can significantly and consistently alter the user’s brain chemistry and neurotransmitter levels and function as a central nervous system stimulant. A central nervous system stimulant will often generate a serious chemical dependency, particularly when used longer, more frequently, or in higher doses than prescribed.

Not only does Adderall work on the pleasure and reward centers of the brain, but it reinforces the use and reward cycle with some serious withdrawal symptoms. Within 30 minutes or less of taking Adderall, the user will feel a rush of euphoria, intense focus, improved concentration and retention, and a productive burst of energy.

Once the effects wear off, however, the user will begin to feel varying intensities of:

  • Stomach or abdominal pain
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, or malaise
  • Headaches that can become very severe
  • Weight loss
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Elevated risk of heart attack, heart failure, and stroke
  • Mood swings, anger, panic, depression, and anxiety are common
  • Feelings of addiction

How to Get Help for Your Adderall Headaches or an Addiction to Adderall

If you think you might be experiencing Adderall headaches due to withdrawal or someone close to you may be, it’s important to reach out when you first suspect. The cycle of addiction and dependence can be very lonely, and those stuck in the depths of it may feel like there is no way out. However, the first vital step to their recovery is knowing they are not alone.

After admitting they have a problem and asking for help, one of the best options is to speak with a treatment center. They are a powerful resource in recovery and maintaining sobriety.

Not only will they offer a range of various inpatient and outpatient services, but those services will often be tailored to the person receiving them. No matter the individual’s needs, they can be met with discretion and care. Working with a treatment center is ideal when the chemical dependence has reached a point where a detox period may be needed. They will have medical staff on hand if there are any urgent needs. In addition, they will be able to start working with the individual to build better coping techniques, helping them maintain their recovery as we advance.

At Infinite Recovery, we help individuals struggling with addiction get the treatment they need to begin their recovery journey. Our detox centers are the first step toward safe, sustainable sobriety. Remember, reaching out for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. You deserve the satisfaction and fulfillment that a life free from the bondage of a drug can provide you.

Like this article? Follow our blog for helpful resources and information about addiction and drug abuse. Recent posts include topics such as Indica effectsdrinking binge side effects, and types of substance abuse.


Infinite Recovery has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations for our references. We avoid using tertiary references as our sources. You can learn more about how we source our references by reading our editorial guidelines and medical review policy.

  1. Hobbs H. The Effects of Adderall on Your Body. Healthline. Published May 24, 2022. Accessed June 28, 2022.

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Michael Dadashi

Medical Content Writer

Family owned and operated since 2014, Infinite Recovery was founded by Michael & Ylianna Dadashi to give those struggling with addiction a second chance and help to rebuild their lives. Clean and sober since 2009, Michael is passionate about helping others discover their authentic self and live a life of true freedom and purpose.

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