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Adderall for Autism

Updated on June 7, 2014


**Please note that I am NOT a trained professional, nor do I pretend to be one. I am, however, a parent with a child who has been diagnosed with Autism and who, subsequently, has other issues to deal with. Any information given in these articles is strictly informational in nature; therefore, should not be considered as a viable substitute for the expertise, knowledge, skill and/or judgment of a healthcare practitioner.**

A world all her own!

I'm sorry that the above picture did not come out too good. With a lot of phone cameras it can be hit or miss a lot of the time. I'm sure each one of you knows what I'm talking about (lol).

To begin with...

In order to understand the mechanisms of Adderall, one must first understand the main condition that it is used as a management for...ADHD/ADD. Alana, being Autistic, has also been evaluated and diagnosed as having ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). This disorder comes under the same class as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder); but, does not involve the hyperness or impulsivity that comes with ADHD.

ADHD/ADD are psychiatric disorders of the neurodevelopment type. They can include; but, are not limited to, such problems as having a lack of attention or attention span, hyperactivity or impulsivity, disruptive behavior, social skills issues, poor handwriting skills. In a good number of cases there is also a poor school performance, mostly due to the inability of the child to maintain a proper focus and/or attention to what he or she is learning.

**If your child exhibits any issues that lead you to think he or she might be ADHD/ADD, please, discuss these concerns with your primary care physician. Never, under any circumstances, think or feel that I can diagnose your child for you.**

Neurodevelopment studies are the studies that refer to what happens with brain development and all the underlying issues that deal with the brain. A person's brain development starts at the moment of conception and continues on into the final years of his or her life. The brain is constantly shaping and reshaping itself as we learn or go through trauma.

Boys are three times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD/ADD than girls, and anywhere from 30% to 50% of children diagnosed with these disorders continue to have problems and issues when they reach adulthood.

Emotions can range from mad to happy, and everything in between, within just minutes of each other.
Emotions can range from mad to happy, and everything in between, within just minutes of each other.

Unknown Causes

To pinpoint an exact cause for ADHD/ADD is, to state the obvious, impossible. Researchers have a number of theories due to a great many studies over a vast amount of years. There are two main factors which can each have an effect on a child (or an adult) being ADHD/ADD. They are a person's genetic makeup and a person's environmental influences.

GENETIC MAKEUP--Scientists believe that for a person to have a predisposition to being ADHD/ADD at least one parent will carry that specific gene within their own genetic makeup. This can be true in up to 75% of the time. Additionally, parents who have one child diagnosed as ADHD/ADD will have a subsequent child with similar issues (3-4 times more likely). There is a thought that there are some women who are more attracted to men who have a drive towards high risk behavior which can also lead to a predetermination of a child being ADHD/ADD.

ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES--Just like in the genetic makeup of a person containing inherited traits and genes from their biological parents, there are many outside factors, or environmental influences, that researchers feel may have a part in attention and hyperactivity disorders in children. These can be; but, are not limited to: alcohol use of the mother during pregnancy, tobacco usage of the mother during pregnancy, secondhand smoke inhaled by the mother during pregnancy, lead exposure of a child, insecticide contact by a child and food dyes or preservatives.

**Please note that the genetic makeup and environmental influences are just a baseline of a more serious issue. Just because a mother smokes or drinks during pregnancy, that does NOT mean that her child will have these disorders. Although I do advocate not smoking and/or drinking during pregnancy. Also, just because one child is ADHD/ADD in any given family, that does NOT mean that all the children in that family will be so as well. What is listed here are just baseline theories. If you have concerns about your children, I encourage you to discuss these concerns with your primary care physician.**

Adderall--the pharmacology of

Adderall is a psychostimulant pharmaceutical drug in the phenethylamine class. It is a mixture of amphetamine stereoisomer salts and other inactive ingredients. It contains 75% dextroamphetamine salts and 25% levoamphetamine salts (these are the two active ingredients.

Adderall works by increasing the activity of the norepinephrine and dopamine neurotransmitters within the brain.

**Have no fear...between me and Wikipedia (, you should not get too lost...**


  • A psychostimulant drug is one that helps to improve mental or physical (or both) functions; such as: enhanced alertness, wakefulness or locomotion.
  • The phenethylamine class of drugs are compounds that are derived from phenethylamine (stimulants and psychedelics, among others) containing phenyl rings to join amino groups via an ethyl side chain.
  • The amphetamine stereoisomer is a Central Nervous System (CNS) stimulant. On a side note, this stimulant was discovered in 1887.
  • Dextroamphetamine is a psychostimulant and has 3-4 times more ability to stimulate the CNS versus levoamphetamine.
  • Levoamphetamines are psychostimulants used to increase wakefulness and/or concentration.
  • Norepinephrine is a catecholamine chemical with several roles to play, including the hormone used for concentration.
  • Dopamine is used to help send chemical signals from one nerve cell to another.
  • Phenethylamines are neuromodulators or neurotransmitters in the CNS. These can be found naturally in substances such as chocolate and have similar actions to that of amphetamines.
  • Catecholamines are chemicals most commonly referred to as epinephrines, norepinephrines and dopamines.
  • The process of neuromodulation is where one neuron (brain cell) uses one (or sometimes more than one) neurotransmitter to regulate the populations of neurons.
  • A neurotransmitter will transmit a signal from one neuron (brain cell) to a targeted neuron.

Adderall (5 mg)

Side Effects (Common and Serious)

Some common side effects (that may go away during treatment) include; but are not limited to:

  • nausea
  • loss of appetite
  • dry mouth
  • headache
  • dizziness

More serious side effects (those requiring immediate medical attention) include; but, are not limited to:

  • fast, pounding or uneven heart beat
  • tremors
  • hallucinations
  • motor tics (muscle twitches)
  • chest pain


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