Turning to Adderall for Weight Loss: The Speed Diet

Risky Nonmedical Use of Prescription Stimulants for Appetite Suppression

Back in the 1950s and 60s, doctors would prescribe amphetamines for weight loss. That practice was ended by law when the addictive nature of these drugs was proven. Today, Adderall prescribed for ADD / ADHD is sometimes used nonmedically for its weight loss support properties.

Adderall contains amphetamine and has the typical amphetamine effect of suppressing appetite. Some people turn to this "Adderall diet" or "speed diet" to lose weight, although no doctor would prescribe the drug for that purpose.

With many people prescribed Adderall appropriately for ADD / ADHD, it is also not a surprise that people who use it for nonmedical purposes often get it from friends and family members or can easily buy it on the street. But like amphetamines in the olden days, there are risks in using Adderall for weight loss, including paranoia, with withdrawal effects, depression, and weight regain when it is stopped.

Adderall Effects and Nonmedical Use

Adderall, when used properly and as prescribed, can be beneficial for treating ADD / ADHD. Unfortunately, there are those who abuse stimulants. Adderall abuse and the misuse of similar stimulants is seen in about 3.4 percent of those age 12 and older, according to a study.

Adderall has the effect of increasing dopamine signaling in the brain. This can give a feeling of euphoria and being energized. The physical effects include raising the heart rate and blood pressure, constricting blood vessels, opening breathing passages, and increasing blood glucose.

It can have the effect of suppressing appetite, which can result in eating less. People taking Adderall for ADD / ADHD may experience weight loss due to the appetite suppression side effect even if they weren't trying to lose weight.

According to a study, most people who take Adderall nonmedically give the reason of improving their productivity, with fewer saying they use it for weight loss.

But physicians have noted drug-seeking behavior by clients who are seeking an ADD drug that contains amphetamine rather than Strattera, which isn't a stimulant and doesn't suppress appetite.

Risks and Consequences of Nonmedical Use of Adderall

Adderall is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of ADD / ADHD. Using the drug for another purpose is not only unwise, it is also dangerous. When taken at higher than prescribed dosage, Adderall can be psychologically and physically addictive. In addition, some longer term abusers need to take increasing amounts in order to get the same appetite suppression. They may even turn to sleeping pills to counteract Adderall's stimulant effect.

If Adderall pills are taken as prescribed, they slowly and steadily give a therapeutic effect to the brain. When used at higher doses and when people misuse them by taking them through different routes, the effects are larger and more immediate, which is believed to increase the risk of addiction. Abuse can lead to malnutrition, feelings of hostility, paranoia, heart complications, and stroke. Once you abuse stimulants chronically, you can have withdrawal symptoms when you stop using them.

It is a better choice to avoid stimulants for the purpose of appetite suppression and rely on non-drug tactics for weight loss.

Sources:

National Institute on Drug Abuse. Stimulant ADHD Medications: Methylphenidate and Amphetamines. NIDA. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/stimulant-adhd-medications-methylphenidate-amphetamines.

Novak S, Kroutil LA, Williams RL, Brunt DLV. The Nonmedical Use of Prescription ADHD Medications: Results from a National Internet Panel. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy. 2007;2(1):32. doi:10.1186/1747-597x-2-32.  ​​

Smith ME, Farah MJ. Are Prescription Stimulants “Smart Pills”? The Epidemiology and Cognitive Neuroscience of Prescription Stimulant Use by Normal Healthy Individuals. Psychological Bulletin. 2011;137(5):717-741. doi:10.1037/a0023825. 

Sweeney CT, Sembower MA, Ertischek MD, Shiffman S, Schnoll SH. Nonmedical Use of Prescription ADHD Stimulants and Preexisting Patterns of Drug Abuse. Journal of Addictive Diseases. 2013;32(1):1-10. doi:10.1080/10550887.2012.759858. 

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