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ADD & ADHD Center

Adderall & Psychosis

author image Holly Case
Holly Case has written professionally since 2000. She is a former contributing editor for "ePregnancy" magazine and a current editor for a natural food magazine. She has extensive experience writing about nutrition, pregnancy, infertility, alternative medicine, children's health and women's health issues. Case holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and professional writing from Saginaw Valley State University.
Adderall & Psychosis
Close up of a pharmacist talking to a doctor on the phone. Photo Credit: Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Adderall is a prescription medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Adderall is a stimulant drug and has a risk of abuse and addiction. It also can cause several side effects, including loss of appetite, weight loss, nausea, sleep disorders and shakiness. Adderall should only be used by those for whom it is prescribed and under careful supervision by a doctor.

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Adderall is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It is used primarily to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2007, 9.5 percent of children between ages 4 and 17 have ADHD. ADHD often is treated with stimulant medications, such as Adderall and Ritalin. Adderall also treats narcolepsy in adults, and sometimes is used off-label to promote weight loss.


Symptoms of drug-induced psychosis include rage, hallucinations and violent behavior. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration found nearly 1,000 cases of psychosis and mania in patients taking ADHD medications between 2000 and June 30, 2005. Nearly half of the cases occurred in children under the age of 10.

Other Risks

Adderall can lead to other serious side effects, particularly on the patient's heart, according to Long-term use of this medication can cause delayed growth in children. The same risks exist in other stimulant medications for ADHD.

Warning Signs

Remain alert for early warning signs that Adderall may be causing psychosis or mania. Hallucinations may include the feeling or visions that bugs, snakes or worms are crawling on the skin or hearing "voices" that tell them to do certain behaviors. Stimulant medication also can cause sudden, extreme outbursts of anger and rage. Once the medication is discontinued, the symptoms should go away. Consult a doctor for advice about how to stop taking the medication. Depending on the severity of your symptoms and your Adderall dosage, you may need a prescription antipsychotic for a short period.

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