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Adderall & Weight Loss

Does Adderall Make You Lose Weight?

If you have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), then you might be taking medication to help manage symptoms like difficulty focusing or concentrating, attention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. But medications like Ritalin and Adderall can affect more than just your attention and behavior. The addiction experts at our Heartland treatment center are sharing more information on Adderall, weight loss, and the drug’s overall impact on metabolism and physical health. 

What Is Adderall and How Does It Work?

Adderall is a stimulant medication used to treat ADHD. It works by increasing neural activity in the central nervous system, increasing energy levels, improving focus, and decreasing restlessness and fidgeting.

Specifically, Adderall is made of two different drugs: dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. These are two stimulants that increase the activity of the central nervous system. When someone with ADHD takes Adderall, they may experience side effects like:

  • Increased alertness
  • Higher energy levels
  • Improved focus and concentration
  • Increased heart rate
  • Higher blood pressure
  • Decreased restlessness and fidgeting
  • Longer attention span
  • Improved ability to finish tasks

It’s important to note that Adderall can cause numerous adverse effects, including insomnia and disrupted sleep patterns. Individuals taking the medication should report any severe or negative side effects to their healthcare provider.


Adderall is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs for ADHD, but it can also be prescribed for other ailments like narcolepsy, a rare sleeping disorder that causes sleepiness during the day. Adderall comes in two different versions, an immediate release and an extended release.

Immediate-release versions of Adderall are usually taken 2 to 3 times daily. Side effects don’t usually last more than 4 hours, which is why immediate-release capsules of Adderall are taken multiple times a day. On the other hand, the extended-release version of Adderall produces side effects that can last for as long as 12 hours, which is why they’re prescribed as once-a-day tablets. 

Regardless of the version taken, all forms of Adderall affect the brain by causing the release of dopamine and norepinephrine. These are two neurotransmitters that can affect a person’s mood, attention, concentration, and more. For someone with ADHD, Adderall can help them develop better work and study habits, helping them socially, academically, and professionally.


As helpful as this medication is for some, it also comes with some risks. Some negative side effects of Adderall include headache, nervousness, insomnia, constipation, diarrhea, and irritability.

Additionally, because Adderall stimulates the release of dopamine, it’s also addictive. Stimulant abuse is becoming more common nowadays among young adults and professionals as they use it to enhance their performance at school or work.

However, using someone else’s medication or taking it in an unrecommended way constitutes drug abuse. In the end, long-term Adderall abuse can lead to addiction. Individuals exhibiting signs of Adderall dependence should seek out the care of a physician or addiction specialist to facilitate recovery.

Does Adderall Make You Lose Weight?

Infographic on Does Adderall Make you Lose weight

Yes, Adderall does cause weight loss. One of its common side effects is decreased appetite, which can lead to a reduction in caloric intake and subsequent weight loss. 

While the mechanism behind this appetite suppression is not fully understood, it is believed to be the result of changes in neurotransmitter levels in the brain, particularly dopamine and norepinephrine. These chemical fluctuations can lead to decreased feelings of hunger and an increased ability to focus on tasks, which may result in unintended weight loss. 

Additionally, one review on amphetamine and weight loss that analyzed data from 41 studies (including a total of 48,161 individuals with ADHD) found that about 70% of adults and 40% of children with ADHD were obese.1 In these cases, Adderall can help with weight regulation, but this depends on the individual.

Does Adderall Speed Up Metabolism?

Yes, Adderall can speed up metabolism, but it does so indirectly through its stimulant properties. Because it can increase the release of dopamine and norepinephrine, and physiological responses, including an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and metabolic rate may occur.

The increase in metabolic rate is due to the stimulant effect of Adderall, which can cause the body to burn calories at a slightly faster rate than usual. This increased metabolic activity can contribute to Adderall weight loss, as it may lead to increased energy use. 

However, it's important to note that any increase in metabolism from Adderall is generally modest and usually isn’t enough to significantly reduce or sustain extreme weight loss. The effects of Adderall on metabolism can also vary from person to person, and tolerance to its stimulant effects can develop over time. 

It’s also important for patients to understand that Adderall’s primary purpose is to treat conditions like ADHD, not to speed up metabolism for weight loss purposes. Using Adderall for weight loss is not recommended and can be associated with various health risks and side effects.

Furthermore, not everyone who takes Adderall will experience weight loss, and the extent of weight loss can vary from person to person. If you have concerns about losing weight on Adderall, talk to a qualified healthcare professional.

Do You Gain Weight Coming Off Adderall?

Individuals who have experienced Adderall weight loss often wonder whether the effect will be reversed when they stop taking the medication. Adderall can cause weight gain in some cases where the individual reduces their doses or stops taking it altogether, although this effect varies. 

While some people may gain weight after stopping Adderall, others may not. Some common reasons for weight gain when stopping Adderall include: 

  • Rebound appetite: As we previously mentioned, many individuals experience reduced appetite while taking Adderall, an effect that can rebound or reverse once use has stopped. The individual’s appetite may return, which can lead to increased caloric intake and subsequent weight gain. 
  • Changes in eating habits: Some people may have developed certain eating habits while taking Adderall, such as eating smaller portions or making healthier food choices. When they stop taking the medication, they may revert to their previous eating habits, which can lead to weight gain.
  • Changes in metabolic rate: Because Adderall’s stimulant effect can speed up metabolism, discontinuing the drug may lead to slowed metabolism, resulting in weight gain. 
  • Psychological factors: Adderall use can affect mood, motivation, and focus, and any changes in these factors when stopping the medication can influence eating behaviors and physical activity levels.

Weight gain when coming off Adderall is not inevitable, and not everyone will experience it. The extent of weight changes can vary from person to person. Additionally, if you want to come off Adderall but are concerned about gaining weight or any other possible comedown or withdrawal symptoms, Banyan Heartland offers Illinois detox for substances like prescription stimulants that can help. 

Adderall Abuse

Keep in mind that although Adderall does make you lose weight, you should not take it for weight loss unless directed to by a doctor. Taking medications for different purposes other than why they were prescribed or taking someone else’s medication counts as drug abuse, so be sure to only take medications that are prescribed to you and only as directed by the prescribing doctor.

Additionally, Adderall is also addictive because it’s a stimulant that impacts dopamine release in the brain. Dopamine is known as a feel-good chemical because it induces pleasure and a sense of well-being, and when consistently stimulated by drugs, can lead to chronic drug use behavior.

If you or someone you care about has become addicted to their medication, our Illinois drug rehab offers prescription drug addiction treatment that can help. From numerous drug detox programs to individual and group therapies, our rehab programs incorporate various modalities to help patients understand their conditions, develop relapse prevention skills, and receive peer support from others in the recovery community.

Long-term sobriety is possible for everyone. Call Banyan Treatment Centers today at 888-280-4763 or contact us online to learn more about our Illinois addiction treatment.

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
Adderall & Weight Loss
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