How to Get Rid of Adderall Headache? Effective Remedies Revealed

Updated on March 15, 2024
 by — reviewed by Jason Williams, PhD (Contributor: George Collins / Editor: Yoko Hill)
Effective remedies for Adderall headache, highlighting natural and soothing approaches.

How to get rid of Adderall headaches?

If you’ve ever experienced an Adderall headache, you know just how debilitating it can be. The intense pain and discomfort can make it difficult to focus or even function.

But fear not, because, in this article, we will explore some proven methods to help you get rid of that pesky Adderall headache once and for all!

So, if you’re ready to find relief and reclaim your productivity, keep reading to discover effective strategies to combat those headaches and get back to feeling your best.

Understanding Adderall and Its Side Effects

Adderall is a commonly prescribed medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and young adults.

It is a powerful stimulant of the central nervous system that works by changing the levels of certain neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine.(1)

While Adderall has been found to be effective in promoting focus and concentration in individuals with ADHD, it is not without its side effects, such as:

  • Loss of Appetite: One of the most common side effects of Adderall is a decrease in appetite. This can lead to weight loss and nutrient deficiencies if not managed properly.
  • Stomachache: Another common side effect is stomachache or abdominal discomfort. This may be due to the stimulant effect of Adderall on the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Dizziness: Some individuals may experience dizziness after taking Adderall. This may be a result of changes in blood pressure or blood flow.
  • Nervousness: Adderall can increase feelings of nervousness or anxiety in some people. This may be due to the stimulant effect on the central nervous system.
  • Insomnia: Adderall is a stimulant and can interfere with sleep patterns, leading to difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
  • Emotional Instability: Adderall can cause changes in mood, leading to emotional instability or rapid mood swings.
  • Psychiatric Disorders: In rare cases, Adderall use has been linked to the development of psychiatric disorders such as psychosis or schizophrenia.
  • Cardiovascular Events: Adderall can increase blood pressure and heart rate, putting individuals at risk for cardiovascular events such as heart attacks or strokes.
  • Seizures: While rare, seizures have been reported in individuals taking Adderall, particularly in those with a history of seizures or epilepsy.
  • Serotonin Syndrome: Taking Adderall in combination with other drugs or substances that increase serotonin levels can lead to serotonin syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition characterized by excessive serotonin activity in the brain.
  • Peripheral Vasculopathy and Raynaud’s Phenomenon: Adderall has been associated with the development of peripheral vasculopathy and Raynaud’s phenomenon, which affect the blood vessels in the arms, legs, fingers, and toes.
  • Vision Problems: Some individuals may experience changes in vision, such as blurred vision or difficulty focusing, while taking Adderall.
  • High Potential for Abuse: Adderall has a high potential for abuse and misuse, which can lead to addiction, dependence, and serious health problems.
  • Withdrawal Symptoms: Stopping Adderall suddenly can result in withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, and mood changes.
  • Long-Term Effects: Long-term use of Adderall, especially in individuals who abuse the drug, can lead to tolerance, dependence, and other adverse effects such as erectile dysfunction and gastrointestinal issues.
  • Heachaches: And of course, another one of the common side effects of Adderall is headaches. These headaches can vary in severity and duration, and they can significantly impact the patient’s experience with the medication.

Adderall’s Impact on the Central Nervous System

Adderall is a medication that falls under the category of central nervous system stimulants.

This is because Adderall works by stimulating the central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord. 

This stimulation can increase blood pressure and heart rate, leading to various effects on the body. In some cases, this increased activity in the central nervous system can cause headaches.

Adderall’s Effect on Neurotransmitters

Adderall works by increasing the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, specifically dopamine and norepinephrine.(2)

The stimulant properties of Adderall can lead to an increase in brain activity and the release of neurotransmitters. This can result in heightened blood pressure and heart rate, which in turn can trigger headaches for some individuals.(3)

Moreover, Adderall functions as an appetite suppressant by affecting the brain’s dopamine levels.

When dopamine levels are increased, appetite can decrease, potentially leading to low blood sugar. This drop in blood sugar is a known trigger for headaches.

Another factor to consider is dehydration. Adderall can contribute to increased sweating or exercise-induced perspiration, which can deplete hydration levels.

Failing to maintain proper hydration can also be a cause of headaches.

Understanding Adderall Headaches

Headaches caused by Adderall can vary in severity.

Some people may experience mild headaches at the end of a dose, which often leads to anxiety as well. 

However, in other cases, people may experience more severe headaches that persist throughout the duration of taking Adderall.

Therefore, we can understand that there are two types of headaches associated with Adderall use.

The first type is a mild rebound phenomenon that occurs at the end of the dose. This headache can usually be relieved with over-the-counter pain relievers like Aspirin or Tylenol. Another option is to take another dose of Adderall before bedtime so that the headache occurs while the patient is asleep.

The second type of headache associated with Adderall is much more severe and can last throughout the entire dose, and sometimes even for several hours after the medication has worn off.

These headaches often cause patients to stop taking Adderall altogether. 

It has been found that patients who experience these severe headaches often have a personal or family history of vascular headaches or migraines.

Switching from one type of ADHD medication to another, such as from amphetamine to methylphenidate or vice versa, can sometimes help relieve the headaches.

However, this may not always be effective for everyone.

While there is no definitive research-based guidance on how to treat these headaches, practitioners have found that taking a low dose of a calcium channel blocker about an hour before taking the stimulant can prevent headaches from occurring in about 95% of individuals. 

It is also important to note that not all headaches caused by Adderall are migraines.

Migraines are characterized by intense pain on one side of the head, throbbing pain that worsens with movement, and other symptoms like auras (visual disturbances) and numbness or tingling in one hand or arm. If you suspect that Adderall is causing your headaches, it is advisable to consult with your doctor.

In terms of managing headaches associated with Adderall use, your doctor may recommend adjusting the dosage of Adderall or exploring alternative medications that may be better suited for you.

Over-the-counter pain medications like Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen can provide temporary relief for mild headaches. For more severe migraines, prescription medications called triptans are often prescribed to help alleviate symptoms.

Remember, the impact of Adderall on the central nervous system can vary from person to person. It is important to work closely with your doctor to find the right treatment approach for you and to manage any potential side effects, including headaches.

Strategies to Prevent Adderall Headaches

Adderall induced headaches can be debilitating and interfere with daily functioning.

However, there are several strategies that can help prevent Adderall headaches and improve overall well-being.

  1. Stay Hydrated: Dehydration can often trigger headaches, so it’s important to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Aim for at least eight glasses of water daily to ensure proper hydration. Avoid excessive caffeine and sugary drinks, as they can contribute to dehydration. Keeping a water bottle handy and setting reminders to drink water can be helpful in maintaining adequate hydration levels.
  2. Make Lifestyle Changes: Certain lifestyle factors can contribute to headache development. Lack of sleep, poor diet, stress, and insufficient physical activity can all increase the risk of experiencing headaches. Therefore, it’s important to prioritize healthy lifestyle choices. Aim for a consistent sleep schedule, consume a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, engage in regular exercise, and find effective stress-management techniques such as meditation or yoga.
  3. Proper Medication Use: Taking Adderall exactly as prescribed is crucial in preventing headaches. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions carefully and do not exceed the recommended dosage. If you notice that headaches frequently occur after taking Adderall, consult your healthcare provider. They may recommend adjusting the dosage or trying an alternative medication to better manage your symptoms without the side effects.
  4. Get Sufficient Sleep: Sleep deprivation can worsen the occurrence of headaches. Lack of sleep can also negatively impact concentration and overall well-being. It’s important to prioritize getting an adequate amount of sleep each night. Establish a consistent sleep schedule and create a relaxing bedtime routine to promote quality sleep. Avoid using electronic devices before bed, as they can interfere with sleep patterns.
  5. Focus on Nutrition: Proper nutrition plays a significant role in overall health and can influence headache development. Avoid skipping meals, as low blood sugar levels can trigger headaches. Instead, consume regular, balanced meals that include complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Consider incorporating foods rich in magnesium, such as spinach, almonds, and avocados, as magnesium deficiency has been associated with headaches. It’s also worth to consider taking supplements with Adderall.
  6. Switch Medication: In some cases where individuals experience severe headaches consistently with Adderall, the best option is to try an over-the-counter alternative to Adderall. These alternatives are effective and safe, and do not carry the same risk of addiction, nor headaches. 

By implementing these strategies, individuals taking Adderall can reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches.

Natural Alternatives to Adderall

Remember, everyone’s experience with Adderall and headaches is different. It’s crucial to find strategies that work best for you. If headaches persist or worsen into migraines, despite your efforts, then considering alternative options to Adderall may be the best plan of action. 

When choosing a new medication, there are several alternatives to Adderall that you can consider. These alternatives will also allow you to continue your supplementation regimen and avoid irritability as your medication wears off.(4)

Here is a summary of some of the best alternatives to Adderall:

  1. Vyvamind: This supplement is a long-acting stimulant that is similar to Adderall. It works by increasing the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, improving focus and attention. Vyvamind is often prescribed as an alternative to Adderall because it is natural and has a lower risk of abuse and addiction. It is especially useful for individuals who have trouble with the short duration of Adderall’s effects. It’s fast-acting formula comes in the form of capsules and it’s available over the counter as a neurostimulant to treat ADHD. Vyvamind is manufactured in FDA-approved and GMP-certified facilities to ensure its effectiveness and safety of use.
  2. Mind Lab ProMind Lab Pro is a top-rated brain supplement that is designed to boost cognitive performance. It contains a powerful all-in-one nootropic formula with 11 distinct substances, including Citicoline, Lion’s Mane Mushroom, and Rhodiola Rosea. Mind Lab Pro aims to support both immediate and long-term mental wellness by targeting six separate brain pathways.
  3. Nooceptin: Nooceptin is a natural nootropic pill that aims to improve cognitive performance. It contains seven important nootropic ingredients, including Citicoline, which raises levels of acetylcholine for improved attention and learning. Nooceptin is designed to enhance cognitive performance in multiple ways, such as increasing cerebral blood flow and dendrite formation.
  4. NooCube: NooCube is a nootropic supplement that aims to improve mental clarity, focus, and memory. It contains 13 natural nootropic ingredients, including L-Theanine and Bacopa Monnieri, which enhance recollection and memory. NooCube is designed for everyday use and is considered safe due to its all-natural formula.

Conclusion: How Do You Prevent Headaches From ADHD Medication?

Overall, if you’re suffering from Adderall headaches and they are becoming debilitating migraines, it might be worth considering an alternative option to Adderall. 

However, for milder headaches, over-the-counter medications like Tylenol and Ibuprofen can provide some relief. 

Remember, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional before making any changes to your medication routine. Take care of your well-being and don’t hesitate to seek professional advice if needed!

Sources, Studies, and Scientific Research
  1. Ahmann, P A et al. “Placebo-controlled evaluation of amphetamine mixture-dextroamphetamine salts and amphetamine salts (Adderall): efficacy rate and side effects.” Pediatrics vol. 107,1 (2001): E10. doi:10.1542/peds.107.1.e10 ↩
  2. Faraone, Stephen V. “The pharmacology of amphetamine and methylphenidate: Relevance to the neurobiology of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and other psychiatric comorbidities.” Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews vol. 87 (2018): 255-270. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2018.02.001 ↩
  3. Pan, Pei-Yin et al. “Headache in ADHD as comorbidity and a side effect of medications: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” Psychological medicine vol. 52,1 (2022): 14-25. doi:10.1017/S0033291721004141 ↩
  4. Lago, J A, and T R Kosten. “Stimulant withdrawal.” Addiction (Abingdon, England) vol. 89,11 (1994): 1477-81. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.1994.tb03746.x ↩