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:

nervousness
dry mouth
difficulty falling or staying asleep
stomach pain
nausea
weight loss
headache
loss of appetite
mood swings
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:

depression
anxiety
extreme fatigue
strong craving for Adderall
irritability and other mood changes
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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