Long-Term Side Effects of Adderall Use

Adderall is a prescription stimulant. It is most often prescribed to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. Adderall raises the number of specific chemicals in the brain. These chemicals, Norepinephrine and Dopamine, play a significant role in your attention and mood. For example, Norepinephrine affects attention and stress responses in the brain. Dopamine affects actions like complex thinking and our reaction to rewarding experiences. So having a higher level of these chemicals in the body can lead to more attention, alertness, and energy.

We know Adderall is widely used, but what do we know about its long-term effects? Here, we'll discuss how Adderall works, its side effects, and how to talk to your healthcare provider about any concerns related to Adderall.

Common Side Effects of Adderall

Like every medicine, Adderall has some side effects. These are rare, temporary, and may last as your body gets used to the drug. The common side effects of Adderall are:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Stomach upset
  • Constipation
  • Dyspepsia
  • Trouble sleeping/insomnia
  • Dry mouth
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Accidental injury
  • Dyspnea
  • Lower back or side pain
  • Bladder pain
  • Difficult/painful urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Weight loss
  • Stuttering
  • Excessive speech
  • Sweating
  • Headache
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Nervousness
  • Agitation
  • Fast heart rate
  • Palpitation
  • Unexplained wounds
  • Decreased libido
  • Dysmenorrhea

Is Adderall Bad For Your Liver?

Adderall is broken down in the body by the kidney and liver. If you have existing liver damage, you could have higher than normal levels of Adderall in your system after taking it. Though some evidence shows that high doses of amphetamines may lead to liver damage, it's improbable that prescription Adderall alone would cause severe liver injury. Liver damage is more likely if amphetamines are used without a prescription.

Are There Any Long-Term Side Effects of Adderall?

If you take Adderall according to therapeutic parameters, the benefits of Adderall usually outweigh the risks. Long-term stimulant use in ADHD is generally defined if taking the stimulant for more than a year. If used in the long term, Adderall may lead to some severe side effects. These include addiction, heart problems, mental health problems, and slowed growth in children. Many also wonder if Adderall may cause less-studied side effects, like sexual side effects and dementia.


Adderall is a controlled drug. Controlled substances are strictly regulated due to their potential for abuse and physical dependence. Long-term use of Adderall can lead to tolerance. Tolerance is the need to use a substance more significantly over time to achieve the desired effect. But tolerance is different from addiction.

Addiction causes difficulties with relationships, responsibilities, and health. Using Adderall for any reason other than why it's prescribed, or taking more than the specified amount, is more likely to lead to addiction. Symptoms of Adderall addiction include:

  • Spending a lot of time taking or trying to get Adderall
  • Going to multiple doctors and pharmacies to try to get Adderall
  • Stealing, borrowing or buying Adderall from someone else
  • Taking more Adderall or for a longer time than intended
  • Ignoring family, school or work obligations because of Adderall
  • Social or interpersonal problems because of Adderall
  • Taking Adderall when it's hazardous to do so 
  • Needing larger doses of Adderall for it to be effective
  • Withdrawal symptoms if you try to quit or cut back on Adderall

You can have withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking Adderall abruptly. These symptoms might include the following:

  • Depression
  • Mood changes
  • Greater appetite than usual
  • More tired than usual
  • Slowed movements

Always speak with your healthcare provider before stopping Adderall.

Heart problems

Adderall may raise heart rate and blood pressure. In healthy adults with no cardiovascular disease, the chance of Adderall causing new heart problems is low. But, this might be risky if you have an existing heart condition. If you have high blood pressure, an abnormal heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation), or other heart conditions, speak with your healthcare provider before taking Adderall. Likewise, if you take Adderall and experience chest pains or loss of consciousness, contact your healthcare provider immediately. 

Mental health problems

Stimulant medication labels must state that stimulants may cause psychotic symptoms. This can occur in people with or without a history of mental health issues. Adderall's label also warns that new mental health problems, such as mania and aggressive behaviour, can occur. This is especially concerning in children.

The risk of new mental health problems due to Adderall is low. But it's possible. And it's more likely if you have a history of psychosis. So talk to your healthcare provider if you experience any changes in your mood or behaviour while taking Adderall.

If consumed as per therapeutic parameters for ADHD, stimulants like Adderall can benefit the brain and even reduces the risk of depression and suicide.

Unfortunately, long-term abuse of Adderall may lead to the opposite. While rare, long-term Adderall abuse can lead to mental health issues like:

  • Increased hostility
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Aggression
  • Symptoms of bipolar disorder
  • Symptoms of psychosis

One specific condition that can occur with long-term Adderall abuse is called stimulant-induced psychosis. Symptoms of stimulant-induced psychosis include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Delusions
  • Disorganized thinking

Slowed growth

Prescription stimulants, like Adderall, may slow down the growth of children. But results of various studies are mixed. The amount of decline was directly related to the dose of medication taken. Higher doses of stimulants caused more slowing of growth.

Some experts believe any growth slowing can be caught early, and changes can be made if necessary. Always talk to your child's paediatrician if you have concerns about their growth while taking Adderall.

Sexual side effects

The prescription information for Adderall states that it can cause changes in sex drive. It can also cause longer-lasting or more frequent erections and an inability to get an erection. Additionally, Adderall can potentially increase blood pressure, restricting blood flow. Restricting blood flow to the penis may lead to difficulty getting an erection, known as erectile dysfunction.

There is little research on how Adderall affects the sexual function of females. If you experience sexual side effects while taking Adderall, talk to your healthcare provider. There may be another medication option for you.


It's possible that taking Adderall may lead to a decline in your brain function later in life. Some researchers suggest the brain might change its wiring after years of stimulants. With rising age, this may result in a decline in brain function (e.g., memory loss).

Unfortunately, there's little research on whether prescription Adderall may lead to dementia. Still, it's essential to work closely with your healthcare provider so he can monitor you while taking Adderall.


Adderall is effective for treating ADHD, but there are risks involved with taking it. Adderall might have long-term adverse effects on your mental and physical health. Therefore, it is essential to weigh the risks and benefits of taking it with your healthcare provider.

Misuse of Amphetamines and other central nervous system stimulants has become a cause of sudden death, heart attack, and stroke. Amphetamine may slow down a child's growth and weight. Monitor chest pain, trouble sleeping, and weight loss in older adults.