One of the most intriguing and controversial drugs at the present time is Adderall. Although it has been classified as a prescription medicine in the United States, it is regarded to be one of the most powerful and effective drug. But, what are the factors that contribute to its popularity? And why do some people opt to have Adderall alternatives instead? Let us now know what Adderall really is and what benefits it has to offer.
Adderall is a single-entity amphetamine product combining the neutral sulfate salts of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine, with the dextroisomer of amphetamine saccharate and d, l-amphetamine aspartate monohydrate. It acts as a Central Nervous System stimulant and is thought to block the reuptake of norepinephrine and dopamine into the presynaptic neuron and increase the release of these monoamines into the extraneuronal space. (1)
This drug has been approved by the FDA (Adderrall RX) for the treatment of both adult and childhood ADHD. It has been regarded as the mainstay medication for the treatment of ADHD. ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a chronic neurodevelopmental and behavioral disorder, considered to have neurobiologic origins, that is diagnosed on the basis of the number, severity, and duration of three clusters of behavioral problems: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.It is the most commonly diagnosed behavior disorder in children. ADHD was originally called minimal brain damage, then minimal brain dysfunction, and in the mid-1900s the term hyperkinetic reaction of childhood was given to the symptoms. It most commonly affects men and has a high rate of heritability.
Although the exact etiology of ADHD is unknown, a combination of organic, genetic and environmental factors is probably involved. A variety of factors put a child at risk for symptoms of ADHD: • ADHD is seen more often in children who have family members with ADHD, especially the father, the brother or an uncle. • There is also an increased incidence of substance abuse, conduct disorders, learning disabilities, depression, and antisocial personality disorder in families of children with ADHD. • Chromosomal or genetic abnormalities such as fragile X syndrome have been implicated with ADHD. A sex-linked factor may be operating because the disorder is much more common in boys than girls. • Other risk factors include exposure to toxins or medications, perinatal complications, chronic otitis media, head trauma, meningitis, neurologic infections, and mental disorders such as the affective disorders.
Pathophysiology of ADHD The neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine are implicated in the pathophysiology of ADHD. In some children, there may be an absence or insufficiency of these neurotransmitters The neurotransmitters normally occur in high concentrations in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter involved in reward, risk taking, impulsivity, and mood. Norepinephrine modulates attention, arousal and mood.
Impulsiveness • It is hypothesized that children who lack these neurotransmitters experience learning difficulties in reading, math, and language and are prone to impulsivity.
Hyperactivity Another neurochemical theory suggests that: • The symptoms result from an excess of norepinephrine and/or alteration in the reticular activating system of the midbrain, an area that controls consciousness and attention. • This excess abnormality interferes with the function of filtering extraneous stimuli. Consequently, children are unable to focus on one stimulus and are compelled to respond to every in the environment. Other theories suggest that symptoms of ADHD result from: • Dysfunction in the brain circuits of the behavioral inhibition system • Structural abnormalities in the prefrontal cortex, caudate, and thalamus • A gene variant known to code for a receptor for dopamine.2
With Adderall at hand, it may help increase a person with ADHD to pay attention, concentrate, and stop fidgeting. (2)
Although Adderall has also been used to treat symptoms of fatigue such as those related with Multiple Sclerosis and Narcolepsy, it has also made its way as a powerful smart drug. This drug has been commonly used as an “off-label" drug that serves to enhance one’s cognitive functions. It has been regarded to enhance attention, concentration and focus and works as a study aid.
Now, how does Adderall work as a nootropic? It is believed that the drug targets the storage areas of the brain that holds neurotransmitters such as Dopamine, Norepinephrine, and Adrenaline. These three neurotransmitters are being referred to as catecholamines, which is defined as any of a class of aromatic amines that serves to have important roles in the physiologic response of the body’s fight or flight response. The typical effects of which include those similar to the amphetamine stimulants. This includes an increased heart rate and blood pressure, higher energy levels, enhanced concentration, attention and alertness. (3)
Due to Adderall’s influence on the Dopaminergic system, users also experience general mood elevation and some may even experience mild euphoria. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter responsible for an individual’s memory and learning capabilities, attention, pleasurable reward, behavior and cognition, and most especially for mood and sleep. With an increased level of this neurotransmitter, there will be a significant improvement in one’s mood and cognitive abilities. It may also be of great help to deal efficiently with stress, anxiety, depression, and even signs of OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. (4)
In addition to Adderall being used as a smart drug, it has also been compared to amphetamines since it can also be an effective appetite suppressant. Conversely, it is sometimes used as an off-label weight loss aid as well.
First, it is very crucial for any drug or supplement to be taken at the right amount and frequency for it to produce the desired effects while possibly eliminating or minimizing the undesired ones. With the case of Adderall, how much of it do we really need each day? Basically, Adderall dose is influenced by a number of factors such as the person’s age and the purpose of why it is being used. However, the most common recommended dosage is between 5 mg to 60 mg per day. You may take the drug upon waking up and use it 1 to 2 additional administrations in 4 to 6 intervals.
When starting with any new drug or supplement, it would be best to start off with the lowest possible dose to see how you respond and then gradually increasing it over time. You might also want to consider consulting your doctor or healthcare provider first since a person’s condition and health status may play a role.
Now, why do some people prefer some Adderall alternatives instead of taking the Adderall drug itself? This is because although the drug is very powerful and effective, a wide array of side effects has been reported. Studies have shown that Adderall is undeniably highly effective when taken on a short term basis or when taken only in as-needed basis, but the long term use of which has not yet been established. Moreover, the drug has been linked to potential abuse, serious addiction, tolerance, and withdrawal. Some users have reported the most common Adderall side effects as anxiety, insomnia, dry mouth, and loss of appetite. Since some people are not comfortable with the adverse effects that Adderall may bring, people usually prefer the Adderall alternatives instead. This includes Noopept suppement, Adrafinil (precursor to Modafinil) and Citicoline - choline which are also known to boost motivation, attention and energy levels.
On the other hand, it is also important to know that not all individuals are suitable to use Adderall. Some contraindications include those people suffering from existing heart problems. This is because the drug raises heart rate and blood pressure levels and can affect the heart’s mechanism. Also, Adderall is not recommended for people with hyperactive thyroid, glaucoma, epilepsy, severe anxiety, agitation, and those using MAO inhibitors within the past 2 weeks.
Also in the US, it is regarded to be a prescription drug and is a controlled substance. Having been said that, users can’t just purchase Adderall over the counter instead, they should secure first a legitimate prescription from their doctors in order for them to buy one.
Before taking Adderall, it would be best to consult your doctor or healthcare provider first. This is because a patient’s condition, health status, and other factor may play a role especially when dealing with a powerful drug such as Adderall.References:
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