Updated on May 19, 2023
5 min read

Adderall Side Effects in Females

What is Adderall?

Adderall (amphetamine-dextroamphetamine) is a prescription medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It works by increasing neurotransmitters in the brain. Doctors can prescribe it off-label as a weight-loss drug and study aid.

When used as directed, many users find Adderall safe and effective. However, it’s normal to experience various side effects, including mood disturbances and panic attacks. Women, in particular, can experience unique side effects of Adderall.


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Does Adderall Affect Female Hormones?

Adderall impacts women differently than men. This is because estrogen affects how the body processes prescription stimulants. It also means that a woman’s reaction to Adderall varies based on her estrogen levels when she takes the drug.

For example, women who take Adderall when their estrogen levels are high often report a high feeling. This occurs most often during puberty, pregnancy, menopause, or ovulation.

Adderall Side Effects in Women

Adderall side effects are different for women than for men. This is due to the way female bodies process the drug. 

Common side effects in women include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Increased anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Decreased libido

Additionally, Adderall might affect:


Estrogen affects the bioavailability of Adderall. Bioavailability is the amount of a drug or other substance completely available to its intended biological destination(s).

Adderall has a greater impact and triggers more negative side effects during the follicular phase. This is the first 14 days of the menstrual cycle when estrogen levels tend to rise.

Some users experience relief from menopause symptoms when using Adderall. Discuss with your doctor any potential benefits of using Adderall off-label to treat menopause symptoms.1


Some women experience infertility when using Adderall.2 Speak to your doctor if you want to get pregnant and are taking Adderall. 


Pregnant women should avoid using Adderall. Like all amphetamines, Adderall, especially abuse of the drug, puts pregnant users at risk of:

  • Premature birth
  • Harm to the fetus
  • Infant withdrawal symptoms
  • Low birth weight


Speak to a healthcare provider about the risks of taking Adderall while breastfeeding. These will vary by case. 

Weight Loss

There are also additional risks for people using the drug for weight loss. Side effects linked to taking the drug in higher-than-recommended doses include:

  • Mood swings
  • Increased heart rate
  • High blood pressure

Furthermore, losing weight quickly can be dangerous. Risks include liver damage, slowed metabolism, and cardiovascular damage. These risks are especially high when someone combines Adderall abuse with excessive exercise.

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Serious Side Effects of Adderall

Adderall is a stimulant. Like all stimulants, Adderall has short or long-term consequences on the body and brain structure. Abuse of the drug increases the risk of dangerous side effects.

Adderall can produce serious side effects in some people. This is especially true for people using a higher than the recommended dosage.

Serious side effects of Adderall include:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Psychosis
  • Seizures
  • Growth suppression
  • Dependency 
  • Sudden death

Other side effects include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Chest pain
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Hypertension
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle weakness
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea 
  • High heart rate (tachycardia)

Adderall Abuse

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies Adderall as a highly addictive Schedule II controlled substance. Adderall abuse is an issue, especially on college campuses. This is because abusing Adderall allows someone to stay focused and awake for long periods.

Additionally, some people abuse ADHD medication for weight loss due to the drug’s ability to suppress appetite.

Unfortunately, the more someone uses Adderall, the higher the risk of side effects. There are also increased risks when someone snorts or injects the drug. 

Treatment for Adderall Abuse

Before treating Adderall abuse, you must recognize signs of abuse. The following symptoms indicate it might be time to seek help for Adderall abuse:

  • Adderall withdrawal 
  • Aggression
  • Decline in cognitive ability
  • Disorientation
  • Excessive weight loss
  • Financial problems
  • Finishing prescriptions early
  • Incomplete thoughts
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Memory issues
  • Oversleeping
  • Overworking
  • Mania
  • Relationship issues
  • Sneaky or secretive behavior
  • Social withdrawal
  • Using more of the drug than recommended

There are several treatment options available for Adderall abuse, including:


Detox is the first step in treating Adderall abuse. 

Medical detox programs help users manage withdrawal symptoms safely and with as little discomfort as possible. This ensures recovering addicts receive monitoring in case of medical emergencies. It also reduces the risk of relapse during this phase of recovery.

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment for Adderall abuse provides round-the-clock supervision and care. Participants live at the healthcare facility and partake in daily activities focused on recovery.

Inpatient programs for substance use disorder (SUD) are a great tool for placing complete focus on recovery. Participants are removed from the temptation and stress of their daily lives and live in a completely sober environment.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment can follow inpatient treatment or be used on its own in recovery. Outpatient program participants attend treatment daily or several times weekly but live at home.

Most programs include several hours of recovery activities per week. These programs cost less than inpatient programs. They also offer greater flexibility and assist participants in adjusting to sober living in a realistic environment.

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Adderall is one of manyprescription medications used to treat ADHD. The drug affects male and female users differently due to hormones. 

Many of the drug’s minor and severe side effects are linked to estrogen levels. Other side effects of Adderall, especially when abused, include heart attack and stroke. 

Therapy for Adderall abuse includes both inpatient and outpatient programs.

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Updated on May 19, 2023
7 sources cited
Updated on May 19, 2023
  1. Epperson, C. Neil, MD. “Penn Study Shows Stimulant Drug May Help Women Cope with Post-Menopausal Memory Lapses.” pennmedicine.org, 2014.

  2. Anon. “Adderall and Infertility, a Phase IV Clinical Study of FDA Data - EHealthMe.” ehealthme.com, 2022.

  3. Kittel-Schneider, Sarah, et al. “Parental ADHD in Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period – a Systematic Review.” Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 2021.  

  4. Justice, Angela J. H., and H. de Wit. “Acute Effects of D -Amphetamine during the Follicular and Luteal Phases of the Menstrual Cycle in Women.” Psychopharmacology, 1999. 

  5. Smid, Marcela C., et al. “Stimulant Use in Pregnancy.” Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2019. 

  6. Jeffers, Amy, et al. “Misuse of Prescription Stimulants for Weight Loss, Psychosocial Variables, and Eating Disordered Behaviors.” Appetite, 2013. 

  7. Jeffers, Amy J., and Eric G. Benotsch. “Non-Medical Use of Prescription Stimulants for Weight Loss, Disordered Eating, and Body Image.” Eating Behaviors, 2014.

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