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Is Exercising or Working Out on Adderall Safe?

Adderall is a stimulant drug that has become quite popular in the past decade. It is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, and it is commonly prescribed to people who have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or narcolepsy.

Adderall was first introduced in 1996 as instant-release tablets, producing some promising results for patients. Since 2009, it is also given in a long-lasting format. Sometimes referred to as mixed four amphetamine salts, Adderall works by stimulating the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system.

The main benefit of Adderall for patients with ADHD is that it helps them to pay attention and limit distractions. It also helps them to control impulsive behaviors. Additionally, it is known to help patients with sleep disorders like narcolepsy remain alert.

Side Effects of Adderall

Some people report no issues with working out while taking Adderall. But if you take other supplements as your pre-workout, combining Adderall could be problematic. Many Adderall users will wait until after their workout is over and then take their prescribed dose.

Another thing to keep in mind when taking Adderall and working out is whether or not you’re taking other medications. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist about possible complications and try to schedule your doses around the times that you normally workout.

As with most prescription drugs, various side effects come as a result of taking it. Side effects that can occur with Adderall are:

  • Not feeling like eating/upset stomach

  • Increased or irregular heartbeat

  • Losing weight

  • Dry or “cotton” mouth

  • Upset stomach/stomach pain

  • Diarrhea

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Feeling Dizzy

  • Fever

  • Feeling jittery

  • Sleeping difficulty

Adderall Abuse

Because of its ability to stimulate and give energy, Adderall is widely used as a drug of choice for reasons other than ADHD. Students and athletes, many under a lot of pressure from parents, peers, and professors, will use this drug as a performance enhancer. They rely on it excessively to stay alert and have an abundance of energy to help them pass tests and excel in competitions. Unfortunately, this is a practice that can have serious health and psychological consequences.

While Adderall is beneficial for people with ADHD and narcolepsy, it can be a hindrance to those who abuse the drug to help them run better, lift better, or get better grades. Adderall increases the heart rate, which causes people to feel more alert. It helps them to feel extra energized, giving them focus and energy to study longer or workout harder.

The thing about Adderall is that it’s not going to add health to your body when you abuse it. You may think the pills are a godsend for your grades or performance, but over time, abusing the drug can harm your organs, create an addiction, and mess with your mental health.

For these reasons, Adderall has been classified as a Schedule II drug by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. Since it is considered a controlled substance with a high risk of addiction, taking Adderall without a prescription is illegal and subject to prosecution.

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Working Out While Legally Using Adderall: What Are the Dangers?

Now that we’ve discussed what Adderall is, what it’s commonly used for, and how it’s abused, let’s discuss Adderall and exercising. What do you do if you have a legitimate reason (and a legal prescription from your physician) to take Adderall and want to work out?

The first thing you must always do is talk to your doctor. You’ll want to get approval from your physician that it’s safe for you to take the prescription and exercise, too.

Working out helps you to build muscle, lose weight, and strengthen your heart. Cardio workouts combined with proper cooldown periods go a long way to keeping your heart healthy. Adderall is a stimulant that increases the heart rate. If taken in high doses while working out, the side effects mentioned above become dangerous.

However, if you’re taking Adderall legally for ADHD or narcolepsy, as long as you’re on a small enough dose, there shouldn’t be any negative effects when working out. Don’t exercise too hard, stay hydrated, and monitor your blood pressure and heart rate.

Monitor Effects

Many people who are on Adderall and exercise consistently report that they didn’t have any adverse effects. They recommend staying hydrated and not combining your dose with anything that has caffeine (coffee, tea, chocolate, some painkillers).

The key is to know your body to be aware of any changes while on the drug. If you start to notice any side effects, talk to your doctor immediately.

Is It OK to Use Adderall as a Pre-Workout?

When Adderall is prescribed, one of the many recommendations is to take it in the morning to avoid any effects on sleep. However, those who exercise in the mornings might have to alter when they take their dose.

Some people report no issues with working out while taking Adderall. But if you take other supplements as your pre-workout, combining Adderall could be problematic. Many Adderall users will wait until after their workout is over and then take their prescribed dose.

Another thing to keep in mind when taking Adderall and working out is whether or not you’re taking other medications. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist about possible complications and try to schedule your doses around the times that you normally workout.

Furthermore, if you are already taking other stimulants to enhance your workout (Xanax, Ritalin, MDMA or ecstasy, steroids, etc.), putting Adderall into the mix could be severe and possibly deadly. Don’t do it.

Confused Mannekin

Taking Adderall With Other Workout Supplements

When considering whether to work out while using Adderall, someone who only exercises occasionally isn’t likely to have any issues. They don’t work out enough to amplify the side effects that can occur with Adderall.

But for someone who’s a bit more serious with their workout game and already takes supplements, adding Adderall to the mix could be problematic.

Supplements that should be taken separately from Adderall include:

  • Energy supplements (caffeine, ma huang, guarana)

  • Sports supplements with energy-producing ingredients

  • Amino acids: These can affect how your body absorbs Adderall. If you take these, your doctor may need to adjust your Adderall dosage.

  • Diuretics: Adderall already has a drying effect. If you flush your body of fluids, you could risk severe dehydration.

How to Use Adderall and Workout Safely

As a stimulant, Adderall is a serious prescription drug and should be used with caution. Since it’s used to treat a common ailment, and it’s often prescribed to younger people, people may be inclined to underestimate Adderall. However, stimulants like Adderall can come with a variety of symptoms, including ones related to your heart rate and blood pressure. Any medication that changes how your heart pumps blood through the body needs to be taken seriously.

Even without Adderall, you should follow certain safe practices when working out, especially if you like to push yourself to the limit. Whenever you join an official sports organization, you might have to go through a physical that checks on your relative ability to play the sport without experiencing medical complications. That’s because putting your body through physical challenges comes with some inherent risks, especially if you have health conditions or medications.

Ultimately, both prescription medication and exercise are meant to improve your health and quality of life, but using them effectively means monitoring yourself through the process. It’s important to keep track of your symptoms, new or worsening symptoms, and how your body responds to exercise. If you’re taking Adderall while working out, it’s important to monitor your heart. You should pay attention to things like palpitations, irregular heartbeats, and a fast heart rate that doesn’t go back down after resting for a while.

Being able to push yourself during a workout is how you improve, but there are certain things you shouldn’t push past. If you feel lightheaded, dizzy, excessively short of breath, or chest pains, you should stop and rest. If the symptoms linger or get worse, you may need medical attention. If they go away, you may want to speak with a doctor anyway. When in doubt, ask your doctor about your symptoms and whether it’s safe to continue working out on Adderall.

Conclusion: What Do Doctors Recommend?

The consensus among physicians is to pay attention to your body. Understand how your body reacts to exercise and your dosage of Adderall. If you don’t experience any adverse side effects, don’t worry about it. However, be extremely careful. As stated before, the effects on performance can easily become addictive, and there’s a chance of building up a tolerance.

If you’re unsure what to do, or you find yourself becoming dependent, talk to your doctor. If you’re using or abusing Adderall because you like the way it makes you feel, be careful because it’s easy to get addicted to it.

Sources

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Drug Scheduling. Retrieved from https://www.dea.gov/drug-scheduling

Live Science. Adderall: Uses, Side Effects, and Abuse. Retrieved from https://www.livescience.com/41013-adderall.html

Web MD. Adderall. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-63163/adderall-oral/details

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