“Take Your Pills” Commentary. What’s Adderall REALLY like?

I just finished watching the new Netflix documentary “Take Your Pills” which discusses the rise of Adderall and amphetamines and ADHD. What’s so great about these little blue monsters?

Adderall is a powerful drug. Only one methyl group from Methamphetamine, it can cause a myriad of health problems and psychological issues. As someone who has struggled with attention problems, I will discuss my experience with Adderall in hopes that it takes away any glorification of Adderall this documentary claimed.

Adderall floods your brain with dopamine and norepinephrine. Basically, it lights up the “feel good” neurotransmitters that allow someone to focus on tasks for longer periods of time.

People with ADD and ADHD have fragmented attention spans. They are easily swayed by environmental distractions, absorbing too much stimuli. Their brain is overloaded with too much at once, resulting in the inability to get anything significant done–because their attention centers are “burned out”.

Basically, it’s a symptom of dysfunctional or low dopamine levels. The more a person switches from one source of novelty to another, the weaker attention span they have. If you have a weak attention span and can’t get much done because of it, you almost certainly have low dopamine levels.

This is a significant and rising problem: With low dopamine, you feel unfulfilled. You aren’t confident to stick with things. You give in to distraction, and give up too easily. You become susceptible to making poor decisions, seeking drugs, and becoming depressed. 

The real solution to raising dopamine is to focus on tasks for longer periods of time and eliminate distractions. A good example would be reading a book, running, or walking in a forest. These activities restore healthy neurotransmitter levels.

But why bother when you have pills, right!? That’s the mentality society has come to now. We want instant access to everything, and Adderall is no exception. Spending time diligently, and disciplining yourself is too much work. Eating wholesome foods is a hassle. Good parenting is too much work. Pills are more efficient apparently.

Negative Effects

I don’t take Adderall much anymore because I couldn’t relax on it. Here are some of the side effects I experienced:

  • Emotional blunting (when taken every day): I felt robotic, and unable to feel naturally happy.
  • Anger: People would irritate me for no reason. People were like obstacles I wanted to get out of my way. (When I’d go grocery shopping on Adderall, every person in the aisle seemed like roadblocks).
  • Stress: Inability to relax until 2am. Nonstop “let’s solve problems” thoughts. Racing mind and heart rate.
  • Lower dopamine levels when not on it

Positive Effects

  • Significantly increased conscientiousness: I followed through on every commitment I had. I cleaned my house. I connected with coworkers and friends more openly. I finished projects I kept delaying.
  • I felt more motivated to do mundane things, like dishes and cleaning.
  • Around 50-80% decrease in social anxiety.
  • Increased peripheral awareness.

Anyhow, I’ll be honest: Adderall really helped me in the short term rut of my life. As an adult with attention problems, I finally felt like I could accomplish more. However, the side effects are just too intense for me to bother taking it often. It might seem alluring, but trust me, it’s not.

I recommend having 2 or 3 strong cups of coffee before ever considering Adderall. I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy. Seeing that 11% of kids are being diagnosed with ADD and ADHD (and most likely taking amphetamines) is really, really scary.

Stay sober guys.

What do you think about ADHD and amphetamine use? Leave your comments below!

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