Why Does Adderall Make Me Sleepy When It Makes Others More Alert?

Overview

Adderall is a stimulant used to control symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), such as trouble focusing, controlling one’s actions, or remaining still. It can also be used to treat narcolepsy.

Common side effects of Adderall include:

Sleepiness is not a common side effect of Adderall, but it can happen. Adderall is calming for people with ADHD, which might seem like sleepiness to you. It may also occur if you stop taking Adderall abruptly.

Adderall sleepiness

Adderall is an amphetamine, which generally makes people energetic. However, it has a calming effect for people with ADHD. This calming effect can make some people sleepy.

In clinical trials, fatigue affected approximately 2 to 4 percent of people who took Adderall.

Sleepiness can also occur when you stop taking Adderall, especially if you were taking high doses for a prolonged time.

Symptoms of an Adderall crash

An Adderall crash is what happens when you stop taking your Adderall suddenly, instead of weaning off the drug properly. Stopping suddenly can lead to withdrawal symptoms, including:

These symptoms can last anywhere for a few days to a few weeks, depending on the dosage you were taking and how long you’ve been taking Adderall.

Coping with sleepiness caused by Adderall

If Adderall is making you very sleepy, talk to your doctor. They can help find the cause of this side effect and take steps to treat it.

If you’re sleepy because you stopped taking Adderall abruptly and are experiencing a crash, there’s no medication that can reverse your symptoms.

You should feel better within a few days to a few weeks. Talk to your doctor about how to properly taper off your Adderall if you want to stop taking it.

On your own, you can help cope with the sleepiness caused by Adderall by practicing good sleep habits. This includes:

  • waking up and going to sleep at the same time each day
  • having a relaxing bedtime routine
  • avoiding caffeine in the afternoon and evening
  • exercising regularly
Alternatives to Adderall

Stimulants are the first-line treatment for ADHD. Other common options besides Adderall include Concerta and Ritalin.

There are also non-stimulant medications that you can take to treat the symptoms of ADHD. These medications come with their own side effects.

Additionally, they tend to work slower than stimulants. However, they can be good options for ADHD treatment if you can’t tolerate the side effects of stimulants or a stimulant isn’t effective.

One option is atomoxetine (Strattera). This drug is a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. Potential side effects of atomoxetine include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • decreased appetite
  • fatigue
  • stomach pain
  • tiredness
  • constipation
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • sexual side effects
  • problems urinating

Certain antidepressants, such as bupropion (Wellbutrin), may be used to treat ADHD. This is an off-label use, which means that it’s not officially approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Potential side effects of bupropion include:

  • headache
  • trouble sleeping
  • nausea
  • dry mouth
  • dizziness
  • stuffy nose
  • constipation
  • stomach pain

Another option, which can be used in conjunction with medication or on its own, is behavioral therapy.

Behavioral therapy for ADHD can help you improve your organizational and time management skills, reduce impulsive behavior, and improve your relationships.

Takeaway

Sleepiness is an uncommon side effect of Adderall, but it does happen. It’s usually related to an Adderall crash after stopping use of the medication abruptly.

It may also just be that Adderall has more of a calming effect on you. If sleepiness from Adderall is interfering with your daily life, talk to your doctor.

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