The Adderall Shortage Is Putting People at Risk of Serious Health Issues – Lose Weight in Your Hips

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Though Adderall is often culturally misconstrued as a drug that helps students study or adults increase productivity at work, it’s a necessary, health-preserving treatment  for many people with ADHD, Anish Dube, MD, the chair of the Council on Children, Adolescents and Their Families at the American Psychiatric Association, tells SELF. “ADHD can affect every aspect of your life,” Dr. Dube says, explaining that this includes a person’s social life, their ability to stay focused while driving to work each day, and their schedule—making the inaction at resolving the crisis all the more inexcusable. 

Below, experts speak about three under-discussed ways the current Adderall shortage is threatening the health and well-being of people with ADHD.

Untreated ADHD can cause people to have trouble reacting to danger.

ADHD can cause people to become distracted easily, have difficulty paying attention and listening when someone’s speaking to them, and forgetfulness, according to the CDC. Though these symptoms are often associated with classroom environments, due to a persisting stereotype that ADHD only causes trouble concentrating in school, they can cause disruptions in dangerous circumstances, Dr. Goodman says. For example: “If you don’t have your medication, you can get distracted, run a red light, and side-swipe another car,” he explains. 

Limited access to Adderall can wreak havoc on a person’s relationships at home, work, and everywhere else.

Absentmindedness due to untreated ADHD can cause problems in interpersonal relationships, Dr. Dube adds, saying that people may forget to call and check in with their loved ones. It also impairs people’s capacity for retaining information about those in their lives, or keeping a schedule that allows them to be on time for—or even make—plans with others.

The distractibility and forgetfulness can impair a person’s ability to perform at work, too, Dr. Goodman adds. “[Without the medication], you can start showing up late at work, or you can’t finish the job on time, and you get written up.” Ultimately, these individual moments of distraction can add up and affect your career. “These consequences have a meaningful impact on how other people view you,” Dr. Goodman says. And because there’s still a significant stigma attached to ADHD and ADHD medication like Adderall, it can be more difficult for people to understand that it’s not just a productivity drug.

ADHD can also cause difficulty communicating with other people: Symptoms include blurting out an answer to a question before the person posing it has finished speaking; intruding on others’ conversations; difficulty waiting your turn to speak; and being unable to take part in activities quietly, according to the CDC.

These can make it challenging to relate to others, no matter the setting, Dr. Dube says. “This impulsivity may show up in folks’ personal relationships,” he explains. “If [the symptoms] were being adequately managed on the medication they were taking, and they no longer have access to the medication, they may be less likely or able to engage appropriately with the folks in their lives.” As with the other symptoms, it can also have dire consequences at work, Dr. Goodman adds. “People won’t be able to sit for long periods of time, [or they will] interrupt others—this can jeopardize a business relationship,” he explains.

People without access to ADHD medication may struggle to manage their emotions in all kinds of scenarios.

When many people think of ADHD, symptoms like difficulty focusing during a lecture might come to mind. “But it’s far more than just an attentional problem,” Dr. Goodman adds, pointing out that untreated ADHD can cause inner turmoil, such as frustration, impatience, and difficulty tolerating stress. According to the Mayo Clinic, these signs exist on a spectrum, causing issues like impatience at a slow-moving line of traffic; flashes of anger when a child isn’t following instructions; or even lashing out at a partner during a disagreement. These can make a person’s home life very hard to navigate, Dr. Goodman says. “Some people [with untreated ADHD] have a short emotional fuse,” he explains. “If you’re less patient with your children, more frustrated with your spouse—all of this leads to outbursts.”

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