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In our fast-paced world where there never seems to be enough hours in the day, it seems that almost everyone is looking for ways to develop focus or get ahead. Some people, whether they have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or not, have turned to prescription medications to help them gain a competitive edge. Drugs like Ritalin, Concerta, Vyvanse, and Adderall are being used more and more by both children and adults and the abuse rates continue to rise.

For those with severe forms of ADHD, prescription drugs can be a lifesaver and allow them to regain the focus and concentration they lacked while not on medication. However, the illegal abuse of prescription stimulants is skyrocketing and it is something that our society as a whole needs to address.

Have you considered taking Adderall to treat your ADHD or just to gain more focus and concentration in your everyday work or personal life? If so, you should first be aware of the following facts:

You Must Speak with Your Doctor to Get a Prescription for Adderall in SF

Adderall and similar drugs are not over-the-counter. They are Schedule II drugs that have a high potential for abuse and can only be taken when prescribed by a doctor.

Prescription for Adderall

 Adderall is generally only prescribed in San Francisco to those who have ADHD and those who do not have the disorder may have an altered reaction to the drug. Your doctor or mental health professional can determine if you have ADHD by checking for symptoms listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5). There are 18 total symptoms and adults who display six or more symptoms and children under 16 who display five or more symptoms are generally diagnosed as having the disorder. In some cases, the doctor will prescribe a stimulant such as Adderall to see if it helps the patient manage their symptoms.

San Francisco ADHD Patients Are More Likely to Abuse Adderall

Some people take Adderall and other stimulants because they enjoy the euphoric feeling that comes with using the drug. This feeling is what leads many to abuse and become dependent on the drug. A recent study also found that those who experience these euphoric feelings when taking stimulants are less genetically predisposed to actually having ADHD. Those who use Adderall as a recreational drug are also more predisposed to abuse other drugs such as alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco.

The Use of Adderall in the Adult Population is Increasing

In the year 2007, there were approximately 5.6 million prescriptions issued on a monthly basis to adults aged 20 to 39. In 2012, that number had tripled, approaching the 16 million mark. Adult prescriptions are increasing at a much faster level than those for children. Some believe it is due to the increased awareness that these drugs increase concentration and can even provide cognitive enhancements to users. This is causing adults to turn to the drugs as a way to cope with stress and work demands.

Stimulants Do Not Always Offer Positive BenefitsAdderall Side Effects

Adderall and similar stimulants may help children sit still longer and improve their focus if they have ADHD. However, there is no proof that they actually improve their academic performance. In fact, stimulants can actually impair some creative abilities. In addition, stimulant drugs can be extremely addictive due to the rush of neurotransmitters such as dopamine that affect some users, giving them a sense of euphoria that can be easy to become dependent on.

Stimulants can also elevate blood pressure and speed up the heart. This can lead to issues such as constricted blood vessels and can also lead up to a heart attack or stroke. If you drink while taking Adderall, the effects can be even more dangerous. Drinking while taking Adderall increases the risks of heart problems and can cause heart attacks in otherwise healthy individuals.

Adderall can also increase anxiety due to the way it enhances the effects of dopamine. This can cause dry mouth, paranoia, shortness of breath, and nervousness—especially in those who are already prone to worry or anxiety.

Those who take stimulants may also have trouble sleeping. This leads to exhaustion the next day and causes many to take more stimulants to simply stay awake. Tolerance levels also build quickly with stimulants and users must take more and more to achieve the same effects. This makes stimulants very habit-forming and it can be easy to develop a dependence on them that is difficult to break. Read our articel : Understanding Adderall

Advertising for ADHD Drugs is Misleading

The FDA has cited every major ADHD drug—including Adderall, Concerta, Vyvanse, Focalin, and even non-stimulants such as Strattera and Intuniv—for misleading advertising and false claims. Some of the drugs have been cited multiple times. These false advertising campaigns by major pharmaceutical companies may be what has led to the increased use—and abuse—of stimulant drugs in the past fifteen years.

Stimulants Such as Adderall Can Have Frightening Side Effects

Along with increased blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety, Adderall can also cause mental health issues that are especially troubling in children. The medication guide that accompanies Adderall warns users to notify a healthcare professional if they experience any mental problems including believing things that are not real or seeing or hearing things that do not exist. There is even evidence of stimulants drugs triggering depression in children and causing terrifying hallucinations in teens. Though rare, there have also been reports of stimulant abuse leading to suicide.

Diagnosis of ADHD Continues to Rise

The number of children between the ages of 4 and 17 who have received an ADHD diagnosis has risen over 41 percent in the last ten years. Almost two-thirds of those who have received a diagnosis have been prescribed a stimulant such as Ritalin or Adderall. Boys are twice as likely to receive a diagnoses than girls and are also more likely to be prescribed a stimulant medication. Today, almost 20 percent of high school boys have received an ADHD diagnosis. While some believe this is due to recognition of the condition, others argue that it is due to pharmaceutical advertising and a misunderstanding of the natural temperament of boys of this age.

Many of Those Who Use Adderall Do Not Consider It a DrugIs Adderall Right for You

Most people who take Adderall without a prescription do not consider it to be a dangerous drug. Instead, they thought of it as a study tool and considered it safe because it improved their concentration and because they knew that doctors prescribed it to children.

College students are among the most likely to use and abuse stimulants—especially those that are not prescribed to them. According to a recent study, more than 20 percent of Ivy League college students used an unprescribed stimulant at least once while in college to help them study. Estimates of those college students who use illegal stimulants range from 6.9percent to over 35 percent and most of those students who were interviewed did not feel like they were cheating or doing anything illegal. In fact, college students were likely to brag about their usage on social media, especially on apps like Twitter and Snapchat.

Many Doctors Tend to Ignore FDA Warnings About Stimulants

There have been numerous FDA warnings regarding Adderall, Ritalin, and similar stimulants. Though the administration warns that these drugs can be highly addictive and have dangerous side effects, doctors continue to prescribe them. Even a 2004 FDA advisory warning about the possibility of cardiac arrest hasn’t changed the amount of stimulants doctors prescribe. FDA warnings that Adderall, Ritalin, and other prescription stimulants are addictive and can have potentially dangerous side effects also haven’t deterred doctors from prescribing them.

Major League Baseball Players Are Among the Most Frequent Users of ADHD Drugs

Though there is a ban on stimulant use in the Major League Baseball Association, players continue to use performance-enhancing drugs. When the ban was announced, players began requesting therapeutic exemptions so they could continue to take the banned substances. The rates of MLB players who take stimulants is more than double of the normal population. Though some argue that professional athletes are more likely to suffer from ADHD than others, many don’t agree and believe that players are only using the stimulants to enhance their playing abilities and gain a competitive edge.

The Cognitive-Enhancing Effects of Stimulants Are Unclear

Though many believe that stimulants will give them an edge in school, sports, or careers, experts caution that the cognitive effects of the drugs have not been widely studied and their effects are still unclear. There have been conflicting reports generated from the studies that have been performed and experts argue that most studies are conducted to find impairment in study subjects, not an improvement. There is also a lack of evidence on the long-term effects of stimulant usage, especially in healthy individuals who do not display signs of ADHD. This should serve as a warning to those use the drugs for recreational use and make them think twice about using stimulants such as Adderall for everyday performance improvement.

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Add, Adhd prescription medication. Adderall, Amphetamine and other stimulants
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One medication frequently prescribed for those diagnosed with either Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is Adderall. This brand-name prescription medication has been found to dramatically decrease some of the symptoms of ADHD and ADD such as forgetting things, talking too much or at the wrong time, inability to focus and frequent interrupting. Many individuals who may ask “what is Adderall used for?” may not even realize that people in their social circles may have a prescription for this helpful medication.


Adderall – What Exactly is It?

Getting down to the nitty-gritty, Adderall is a prescription medication that is made of amphetamine salts – 4 types to be exact. The mixture of amphetamine aspartate, amphetamine sulfate, dextroamphetamine saccharate, and dextroamphetamine sulfate can be prescribed and purchased either in the brand name or generic form. Both forms carry one type that is called immediate release and another type that is called extended release.

Basically, the first metabolizes faster, lasting 4 hours or less, meaning the person who takes the prescription usually takes one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The second type is manufactured to metabolize slowly throughout the day, lasting from 7 – 12 hours, so that a single dose in the morning will be effective all day.


How Does Adderall Work?

Scientists have found that there are two neurochemicals in the brain that are very important.  Known as norepinephrine and dopamine, these help people with both focus and attention in the part of the brain that is supposed to work on organizing, planning and carrying out tasks. Each of these chemicals has a more specific task as well.

At the correct levels, norepinephrine helps to clarify or improve the information or task your brain is trying to pay attention to. Dopamine, on the other hand, should be working to block signals from things that tend to be distracting. Adderall uses tend to get both levels of these chemicals to the right levels, so the brain can focus correctly.


Adderall Side EffectsWhat Percentage of ADD and ADHD Sufferers Benefit by Taking Adderall?

Though it is difficult to say exactly what percentage of individuals suffering from ADHD or ADD benefit from taking Adderall as opposed to other types of prescription medication, a 2013 study compiled by Express Scripts found that Adderall holds about 38 percent of the market on this type of medication. Those who do not respond to Adderall are often prescribed a methylphenidate type instead such as Ritalin to see if the results are better.


Are There Worrisome Side Effects to Adderall?

Almost every type of medication has side effects. Understanding these risks before beginning to take any medication, as well as knowing what possible negative interactions may occur with existing medications is key to retaining good health. Some Adderall side effects include:

  • A faster than normal heart rate
  • Mood swings
  • Decreased appetite
  • Headache and/or dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Insomnia
  • Feelings of nervousness

Not everyone will experience all of these side effects, but they should be mentioned to the prescribing physician at regular med check appointments.


How Often Do You Need to See a Doctor for an Adderall Prescription?

The frequency of doctor visits for those taking Adderall very from state to state. Required med check visits may be required on a monthly, bi-monthly or more frequent basis. The average length of time between doctor visits for those who are taking Adderall is 3 months. Each visit gives the prescribing physician a chance to evaluate the effectiveness and proper use of the medication before prescribing any more.


Another Interesting Adderall Use

Though Adderall is mainly used to treat ADHD and ADD, doctors also prescribe it at times for people who have a disorder that causes them to fall asleep no matter what is going on around them. In fact, amphetamines have been prescribed for people with narcolepsy dating back to the 1930’s. As with ADHD, these medications help to increase the level of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain which can help to combat this extremely sleepy disorder.


How to Find Out if Adderall Will Help You

There are many indicators that someone may be struggling with ADHD or ADD, however, diagnosing children and adults is usually done differently. With children, a teacher or parent typically notices symptoms and recommends an evaluation by a medical professional. Many adults, however, notice their own ADHD symptoms, as well as how they negatively impact their abilities, after having one of their own children go through the process of diagnosis.

For both children or adults, making an appointment with a qualified physician or mental health professional, like those at the EZCare Clinic in San Francisco, is the right first step to understanding and addressing the issue. This initial visit will most likely include a thorough physical to assess overall health, then move on to a few tests such and questionnaires that will help them understand the extent that your life is affected negatively.


Get Answers Today

Contacting our ADHD doctors today is the first step toward getting the answers you need, whether you are concerned about a child or yourself. Don’t let fear hold you back from scheduling an appointment or walking right in. We are here to help you understand your symptoms as well as create a multi-faceted solution just for you.


Is Adderall Right for You


Adult Attention Deficit Disorder (adult ADD) is a condition that can have a number of symptoms including lack of concentration, disorganization, mood swings, outbursts, and anxiety. Many adults don’t realize they have the condition because they believe that only children or teenagers can have ADD or ADHD. However, approximately 3 percent of adults in the United States have ADD and their symptoms can range from relatively mild to severely life-impacting.

Those with adult ADD often attribute their symptoms to anxiety or depression or tend to think they are just scatterbrained or have problems with focus or concentration. This is especially common in adults who were not diagnosed with ADD as a child. Though they have likely had the condition since the time they were young, many adults went through their school years undiagnosed and never realized their learning and socialization problems were due to this condition. Even those who were diagnosed in childhood may believe that they outgrew the condition and do not consider the possibility that they have carried the condition into their adult years.

Getting a diagnosis of adult ADD is important so that it can be properly treated by professionals who are knowledgeable about the condition. Though it can negatively impact an individual’s life, adult ADD is very treatable with therapy, counseling, medication, or a combination of treatments. Many of those with adult ADD benefit from talking with a professional and caring therapist or counselor in addition to taking stimulant, non-stimulant, and anti-depressant medication that helps them cope with their condition.

Medication Types for ADD/ADHD

Common Stimulant Medications

Short-acting stimulants must be taken every 3-6 hours and include drugs such as Adderall, Dexedrine, Focalin, Methylin, and Ritalin. Long-acting stimulants include the drugs Adderall XR, Concerta, Evekeo, Ritalin LA, Vyvanse, and Focalin XR and must be taken every 6-8 hours. Stimulants are effective treatments in about 70 percent of adult ADD cases. They are especially effective for treating hyperactivity, increasing attention span and focus, and improving interpersonal interaction.

Side effects of both short-acting and long-acting stimulants can be a loss of appetite, weight loss, sleep problems, and irritability. There is also worry that stimulants that are amphetamines or methylphenidates could cause heart attacks or psychiatric problems and they also carry the risk of addiction.

Common Non-Stimulant Medications

Non-stimulants must be taken anywhere from every 6 hours to every 24 hours and include drugs like Catapres, Intuniv, Kapvay, and Strattera. These medications work by boosting the brain chemical called norepinephrine, which helps regulate mood, reduce hyperactivity, and increase attention span.

Side effects of these non-stimulant medications include fatigue, low blood pressure, dry mouth, dizziness, behavior problems, abdominal pain, headaches, and irritability. However, many doctors choose to prescribe non-stimulants over stimulants because they do not pose the same risk for addiction or abuse.


 In some adult ADD cases, anti-depressants can effectively treat symptoms. Commonly prescribed anti-depressants include Aventyl, Pamelor, and Wellbutrin. These types of medications can boost levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain and can increase attention span and lessen hyperactivity. However, many doctors find that they do not do so as well as many stimulants and non-stimulant ADD medications.

Common side effects of anti-depressants used to treat ADD include upset stomach, dizziness, elevated heart rate, anxiety, and fatigue. There is also an increased risk of suicide in those age 18-24 who take these medications with the highest probability occurring in the first month or two of use.

How Do I Know If ADD Medication is Right For Me?

Side Effects of ADHD Drugs

The only way to know if medication is the right choice for treating your adult ADD is to visit an ADD clinic in San Francisco and see a qualified doctor. Only after your condition is diagnosed and your doctor learns more about your specific symptoms and your history of treatment can he or she develop a customized plan to treat your condition. In general, medication might be the right choice for you if:

You have already tried therapy or counseling

The non-medication route of counseling or therapy should always be the first step in treating adult ADD. However, if you have already been diagnosed with the condition and have been attending therapy or counseling for a number of months and your condition has not significantly improved, your doctor may decide to add medication to your treatment plan.

You do not have a history of drug abuse

Those individuals suffering from adult ADD who also have a history of drug abuse or addiction may not be good candidates for medical treatments. Many drugs used to treat adult ADD, especially those in the stimulant category, can be addictive and should not be used for those who have a history of addiction.

You are willing to try different types of medications

Medications for adult ADD are not a magic bullet and while some work wonders for specific individuals, others may find no benefits at all or will find the side effects to be too much to take. It may take some time and patience to figure out which drug is right for your condition and you may experience some negative side effects along the way.

How Can I Find the Right ADD/ADHD Clinic in San Francisco?

One of the most important choices you can make when it comes to treating your adult ADD is finding a clinic that can effectively treat your condition. When looking for an ADD/ADHD clinic in San Francisco, you should find one that has knowledgeable doctors on staff who have been treating adult ADD patients for a number of years. You should also look for a clinic that creates customized treatment plans that are developed in partnership with their patients. The right clinic will have multiple treatment options including counseling, therapy, and prescription medications.

If you have symptoms of ADD/ADHD and would like to speak to a professional to see if you have the condition or if you have already been diagnosed and would like to speak to a doctor about treatment options, please reach out to EZCare Clinic for more information.

Read more about adult ADD and ADHD

WebMD Guide to ADHD in Adults


A trusted guide to mental & emotional health

Wikipedia: Adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

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