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  • Working Out On Adderall | Safety & Risks

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    Working Out On Adderall | Safety & Risks

    Daily exercise is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle, with positive effects related to mood and mental health as well as quality of life and overall wellness.

    As such, those who receive treatment with Adderall, as well as other prescription stimulants used to treat the symptoms of ADHD and narcolepsy, can continue working out and exercising on a regular basis.

    However, use of any medication comes with concerns and side effects that may, in some cases, be exacerbated by intensive physical activity. 

    Additionally, misusing or abusing Adderall for the purpose of athletic enhancement is a counterproductive and potentially dangerous choice.

    Adderall & Exercise

    Adderall boosts the activity of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine, helping normalize the brain chemistry of those with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and increase wakefulness in those with narcolepsy.

    At therapeutic doses, the drug does not have any substantial or dangerous impact on regular exercise.

    However, amphetamines suppress appetite and increase physical energy, alertness, heart rate, and breathing rate. As a result, some abuse Adderall and similar stimulant drugs, like Ritalin (methylphenidate) or Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine), in high doses as performance enhancers or weight loss aids.

    Working Out On Adderall

    Abusing stimulant ADHD medications as a pre-workout performance enhancer can temporarily increase your athletic performance. While active, in higher doses, the drug can give you more energy or even a sense of euphoria as you push through intensive cardio or strength training.

    However, what goes up must come down, and once the effects of the drug wear off, you and your body will likely pay a price for all that increased energy.

    Along with reduced neurotransmitter levels and feelings of depression and reduced motivation, you may feel hurt, exhausted, and unmotivated as your body recovers. 

    Your appetite may also increase, and you may have a reduced ability to recover, heal, or build muscle tissue for a period of time.

    Risks Of Working Out On Adderall

    Intensive physical activity and stimulants both increase heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. And while this is normally healthy, the increased demands of exercise and stimulants together can push your cardiovascular system to a dangerous level.

    If your heart, lungs, and blood vessels are put under too much strain for too long, there is a chance that serious complications could occur, including dehydration, heart attack, stroke, seizures, and overheating.

    These conditions are extremely serious and put you at risk of lasting physical harm or even sudden death.

    Side Effects Of Adderall

    Adderall, a prescription medication containing a mixture of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine salts, acts as a potent central nervous system stimulant.

    Common side effects associated with use of Adderall may include:

    • loss of appetite
    • weight loss
    • dry mouth
    • stomach discomfort or pain
    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • dizziness
    • headache
    • diarrhea
    • fever
    • nervousness
    • growth suppression
    • trouble sleeping

    These side effects are more likely to occur and occur with greater severity when the drug is taken in higher doses or by those who have not taken Adderall before.

    Risks Of Adderall Abuse

    Amphetamines like Adderall are classified as a Schedule II controlled substance, which is the same classification given to methamphetamine (crystal meth) and opioid narcotics like fentanyl.

    While Adderall use is common, the drug can have negative effects when abused chronically or in high doses, or when used by those with pre-existing health conditions including high blood pressure, heart defects, or some other history of heart disease.

    The potential risks of Adderall abuse may include:

    • drug addiction and dependence
    • aggression
    • serious short- and long-term cardiovascular effects
    • insomnia and chronic sleep problems
    • psychosis, a state of delirium, panic, and hallucinations in which you become disconnected from reality
    • persistent anxiety, depression, and paranoia
    • high blood pressure
    • chest pain and heart palpitations
    • increased risk of heart disease
    • chronic dehydration
    • reduced sex drive
    • verbal or motor tics
    • brain damage and negative effects related to memory, impulsivity, and decision making

    Likewise, these negative effects and others may be increased when Adderall is abused in combination with other substances including alcohol, anabolic steroids, painkillers, caffeine and other stimulant drugs, and others.

    Adderall Addiction Treatment

    While exercise is good in moderation, sometimes people take the pursuit of physical self-improvement to unhealthy extremes. 

    In turn, this may lead to an unhealthy reliance or addiction to meds and supplements like Adderall to improve physical performance, suppress appetite, or self-medicate against depression and anxiety.

    To learn how we treat prescription drug addiction on both an inpatient and outpatient basis, please contact Ark Behavioral Health today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.
    Article Sources

    British Journal of Sports Medicine - Central nervous system stimulants and sport practice
    Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - Adderall Medication Guide
    National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Dextroamphetamine and Amphetamine

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