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The Effects of Adderall on Hair Loss and Thinning Hair

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Adderall is a popular brand of medication that combines the stimulant drugs amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. This medication is prescribed by doctors for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. It is also sometimes used for off-label purposes to address other health problems.

Due to its stimulant effects, it’s common to find people misusing Adderall. College students have been especially known to use it to improve their academic performance and score higher in exams.

However, Adderall misuse for extended periods can cause drug dependence along with other severe side effects. These can impair the quality of a person’s life and be difficult to reverse. This is why doctors suggest regular follow-ups for those taking the medication for prolonged periods.

A common question about Adderall is, “does it cause hair loss and hair thinning?”

This post will brief you about the matter and help you better understand how Adderall may affect your hair. Read on.


Adderall Side Effects That Can Cause Hair Loss

Adderall is known for having certain side effects that become more noticeable with extended periods of use and addiction.

Although it is normal to shed around 50 to 100 strands every day, some of Adderall’s side effects may cause hair loss and thinning hair. These side effects include the following:


Restlessness and Lack of Sleep

If you have difficulty falling or staying asleep while taking Adderall, it can result in hair loss or thinning hair.

Loss of Appetite and Weight Loss

If you experience appetite loss or sudden weight loss, it can lead to nutritional deficiencies. This can lead to hair loss and/or thinning hair.

Higher Levels of Stress

The hormone cortisol is related to stress and the fight-or-flight response. Increased levels of cortisol in the blood can damage hair follicles and in turn, lead to hair loss.

Itchy Skin and Rashes

If you have an itchy scalp, rashes, or hives after taking Adderall, excessive scratching can also result in hair loss. If this happens, call your doctor immediately as it may indicate a severe allergic reaction.

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More About Adderall and Hair Loss

The drug’s FDA label lists alopecia or hair loss as a potential side effect of Adderall. But manufacturers do not offer any information about the prevalence of this side effect.

There is also a lack of recent clinical research when it comes to measuring how common hair loss and hair thinning are in people taking the drug. This makes it difficult to understand how or why Adderall causes these side effects.

Nonetheless, some people have claimed online that they experienced hair loss while on the medication. They also reported hair regrowth after discontinuing Adderall or switching to a different drug.

While on the subject, it must be noted that amphetamines (like Adderall) and hair shedding are often linked. So, it’s certainly possible that Adderall causes hair loss and hair thinning.


Adderall and Compulsive Behaviors

In a 2013 study, a 12-year-old child who was taking Adderall for ADHD was diagnosed with trichotillomania, or compulsive hair pulling. Interestingly, the disorder resolved itself when the child stopped the medication.

Compulsive disorders such as these may be a coping mechanism to deal with the anxiety, agitation, irritability, nervousness, mood changes, and overstimulation that stimulant drugs like Adderall can sometimes cause.


Other Side Effects of Adderall

Besides the side effects that we listed above, Adderall has other side effects which include:

  • Uncontrollable shaking of a body part
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Stomach pain
  • Painful menstrual cramps
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fast or pounding heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Slow or difficult speech
  • Motor or verbal tics
  • Loss of coordination
  • Limb weakness or numbness
  • Seizures
  • Hoarse voice
  • Aggressive behaviors
  • Grinding of the teeth
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Mania
  • Changes in vision or blurred vision
  • Changes in sex drive or sexual performance
  • Pale or blue color of fingers or toes
  • Pain, numbness, tingling, or burning in the hands or feet
  • Random wounds forming on the fingers or toes
  • Blisters or peeling skin
  • Swollen face, eyes, tongue, or throat

People with heart conditions can suffer particularly serious side effects from Adderall such as strokes and heart attacks.


Adderall: Generally Safe but Requires Caution

Adderall is generally a safe drug for the short-term treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy. Nonetheless, it can cause unpleasant side effects that people must be made aware of.

Hair loss is a rare but potential side effect of this medication. People who experience hair loss, thinning hair, or other side effects should inform their doctor so they can receive the right medical advice and treatment.

If side effects are significant, doctors can reduce the dosage or prescribe an alternative medication or behavior therapy. Medical professionals can also help determine if there are other causes of hair loss that need to be addressed.


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