Adderall is a prescription medication commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and adults. It is also known by the brand name Adderall. It is used to treat symptoms of ADHD, such as inattention and over-activity. It is also sometimes used to help adults with a certain form of depression or to help them concentrate better. However, it is also often used “off-label” to treat a variety of conditions and mental health problems. The use of Adderall during pregnancy is controversial.
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While some doctors believe that taking Adderall poses little risk to a baby, others believe that there is a risk that cannot be ruled out. This article covers the potential risks and dangers of taking Adderall while pregnant, as well as safe alternatives to treating ADHD and other conditions.
What does Adderall Do?
Adderall is a combination of two drugs: amphetamine, which is a stimulant, and d-amphetamine, which is an inactive ingredient that helps the body absorb amphetamine. Both drugs have their primary effects on the central nervous system, which controls the brain and nervous system.
Amphetamine affects neurotransmitters and receptors in the brain, and it is thought that Adderall affects the way the brain controls attention and behavior. While Adderall is prescribed to treat conditions such as ADHD and narcolepsy, it is often used off-label to help with conditions such as:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Fatigue (“burn-out”)
- Sleep disorders
- OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder)
- Eating disorders
- Social anxiety
While there are many possible benefits of taking Adderall, there are also a number of risks. The safety of using Adderall during pregnancy is controversial, as there have been many case studies of children born with abnormally long or short limbs due to Adderall use during pregnancy.
There have also been many case studies of children born with low birth weight, as well as a small number of case studies of children born with congenital heart defects, due to Adderall use during pregnancy. However, many physicians believe that the cases of congenital heart defects are very rare and that the cases of children born with unusually long or short limbs seem to occur randomly.
Adderall and ADHD
Adderall is primarily used to treat symptoms of ADHD, which is a common condition that affects 5% of children and 1% of adults. Adderall works by stimulating the central nervous system, which helps to increase concentration and focus. It is generally taken twice a day: once in the morning and once in the evening. However, doctors may prescribe Adderall in a variety of different doses and for a variety of different conditions.
When parents first bring their child in for an ADHD evaluation, the doctor will most likely ask the child and the parent a number of questions: What is your child’s main problem? What is the child’s main activity? How does the child’s behavior compare to other children of the same age? Asking these questions can help the doctor find the right dose and treatment for the child.
The Use of Adderall During Pregnancy
Like many prescription medications, Adderall is not considered safe to use during pregnancy. There is small evidence that suggests that Adderall may be associated with an increased risk of birth defects, miscarriage, and premature birth. However, a large number of studies have also shown that Adderall is not associated with an increased risk of congenital heart defects. Since Adderall does not seem to pose a significant risk during pregnancy, doctors may prescribe it to treat ADHD, or for a shorter period of time, during which time an alternative treatment can be found.
Risks of taking Adderall During Pregnancy
Like many other stimulants, Adderall can have a number of side effects, both short-term and long-term. The short-term risks of taking Adderall include: Excessive sleeping
- Upset stomach
- Racing heart
- Panic attacks
- Lack of focus
- Low self-esteem
- Decreased libido
- Weight loss
- Decreased breast milk production
Long-term risks of taking Adderall during pregnancy include:
- Physical growth restriction in the baby
- Low birth weight
- Hyperactivity in the baby after birth
- Learning disabilities in the baby after birth
- Increased impulsiveness in the baby after birth
There are a number of options that can be used instead of taking Adderall, many of which have fewer side effects. These alternatives include: Taking a low dose of a stimulant drug such as caffeine or amphetamines before bed or taking a non-stimulant drug such as napsine or modafinil.
Asheville Recovery Center Can Help
If you or someone you know is addicted to or abusing Adderall, it is important to get treatment. At Asheville Recovery Center treatment specialists utilize a 12-step program and practice holistic rehabilitation.
Services at the center include:
Partial Hospitalization Program – At Asheville Recovery Center we offer a partial hospitalization program for clients who need post-residential treatment as well as for clients who need primary treatment but are unable to enroll in inpatient programs. Our PHP track offers a variety of therapeutic services and benefits to individuals in early recovery from substance addiction.
Outpatient Rehabilitation – During intensive outpatient treatment (IOP), clients live at home or in a sober living residence while completing an addiction treatment program. IOP is a place where clients can process their experiences in twelve-step fellowships and support one another in those individual journeys.
Addiction is difficult to overcome alone. If you feel that you or a loved one is struggling with drug abuse, our specialists are on standby and ready to help. Call and speak with an addiction expert today.