How to (safely) Get the Most Out of Your Adderall, Especially for Students

This is for all of my college students out there (it’s also good advice in general) who are preparing for finals. I am diagnosed with ADHD inattentive but the information in this post is information my Doctors have failed to provide me with. I’m not even gonna pretend like some students without ADHD don’t take adderall, especially during finals. You can read the title, you know what this post is about. I’m making this because I’ve seen what happens to people who don’t take precautions when taking this substance. I think it’s best to break down this post into a list of somesort (this is a long post but you can just read the first sentence from each point, but if you need convincing then keep reading from that point) :

  1. Get a good night’s sleep prior to when you plan to study.
  2. *IMPORTANT* Know your dose. Are you taking Instant release or extended release? Have you taken adderall before? If you have not, 10mg of XR is a relatively safe dose, as for IR 5mg is a good place to start, these doses shouldn’t cause you to feel the negative effects associated with higher doses, you can empty out beads from XR capsule in order to decrease your dose and you can split IR tablets to do the same. If you’re taking extended release you most likely won’t need to redose. If you’re taking instant release, depending how long and how much you have to study, you may consider redosing. Plan around this. Extended release is supposed to last 12 hours (but in my experience I can say it last around 8 hours), the onset is less noticeable than IR and the comedown is smoother ( it is not recommended to redose extended release). Instant release, last anywhere from 4-6 hours, the onset of IR can be noticable for most people as it causes a spike of dopamine levels in your brain, this is followed by a severe crash (this is amplified by higher doses). *IMPORTANT*
  3. Eat a good breakfast, avoid caffeine, and no a single slice of toast doesn’t count as a good breakfast. Caffeine and adderall does not make a good combination. Usually this combination just makes people anxious and may increase your blood pressure to unsafe levels which will cause heart palpitations. Also avoid acidic foods as they prevent adderall from being absorbed by your body.
  4. Turn off all notifications on your phone and I mean physically disable them, not just putting your phone on Do Not Disturb. Notifications from instagram, snapchat, facebook, and even that text from your mom or dad can and most likely will derail you from whatever you are trying to study. I leave the bubbles on that display you have a notification when you unlock your phone but sounds and lockscreen notifications are disabled.
  5. Pick a good place to study, somewhere where distractions are limited, the library is probably your best bet. Pack a pair of headphones and go. Get into study mode before you actually dose. Start that paper, reading notes, practice exams, whatever it may be and then dose (personally I avoid taking my prescription when i’m starting a new paper, as it just makes me focus on minute details, however if you’re making corrections to an already completed paper then I think it is ok). Whatever you’re doing when Adderall kicks in is most likely what you will continue to do until it wears off.
  6. Have easy access to water and drink lots of fluids. I prefer cold water and gatorade. Adderall causes your body temperature to rise, and it feels really nice to have cold fluids run through your body. This will help you avoid dehydration and the negative feelings from the comedown. Also you will need to use the restroom more often than you are accustomed to (even if you don’t drink lots of fluids).
  7. Set timers for study breaks and reminders to eat. It may be hard for you to pull your attention away from what you’re working on but the spacing effect and learning burnout make no exceptions. It is easy to not notice when you are mentally fatigued when taking adderall.
    1. The spacing effect is a phenomenon where your ability to learn increases with spacing in between tasks and learning burnout is the phenomenon where information is failed to be retained the longer you push pass mental fatigue.
  8. Study Breaks: I avoid going on my phone during breaks, time seems to just vanish when you combine your phone with adderall, and it may be difficult to get back on track. Instead I usually go for a short walk, meditate, or just sit back and listen to music. Try to keep your breaks around 5-10 minutes, it is easy for you to get distracted by something you find more interesting, and as students we are very good at making up excuses in order to avoid our work.
  9. FORCE YOURSELF TO EAT SOMETHING. Preferably something nutritious, avoid anything dry; fruits, a sandwich, chicken, vegetables, ( I don’t normally have a problem eating when taking adderall but I do know what it is like to see food and be disgusted by it) if you can’t force yourself to eat solid foods, smoothies make a great way to fuel your body, just make sure you get something into your body. This helps to alleviate negative effects of the comedown.
  10. Don’t dose before an exam. Adderall doesn’t make you smarter, it has been shown to increase recall (only slightly) but in most people actually decreases performance. If you think you perform better on tests because of taking adderall during the exam, it’s probably the placebo effect.
  11. Avoid dosing in the afternoon or late at night. Doing this will make it extremely hard to fall asleep and may cause insomnia in some people.
  12. Don’t use adderall to pull all night study sessions. A good night’s sleep has been shown to be one of the most important things in encoding learned information. Alongside forcing yourself to eat and drinking fluids, this is probably one of the most beneficial things to take away from this post.
  13. Get a good night’s sleep after your study session. 5mg of Melatonin will help you fall asleep but may cause intensely vivid dreams, if you know Melatonin does this to you L-theanine is an alternative.
  14. Try to avoid taking adderall multiple days in a row. I shouldn’t need to explain this one.

As always be safe and be smart. Also Magnesium Glycinate helps to reduce negative effects of adderall and alleviate some of the effects of the comedown.

Edit: This post is getting a lot more attention than I expected. I thought most people would see this large wall of text and just ignore it but instead you guys are adding onto it with things that I have failed to put into the original post, so I’m going to add some of the points other members of this community have made in order to help anyone who may come across this in the future.

Community submissions:

  1. You can use online Pill IDs to verify what substance and what dosage a pill may have in it. (It’s a good idea to do this with any substance that is not prescribed to you, not just adderall) u/DJ_Clitoris
  2. Taking antacids will allow your body to more readily absorb adderall. u/pangy12 I would recommend not doing this if it’s your first time taking adderall as you are not accustomed to it’s effects.
  3. 5mg of Melatonin is relatively high dose to start with, this dose can actually cause sleep disturbances. 1mg-3mg is definitely a safer dose to start with. u/FuckReddit221
  4. Forgot to mention that nicotine and adderall potentiate one another. It is very easy to go and start chain smoking while on any kind of amphetamine, u/nuupt says don’t smoke.
  5. Stimshits u/raesquared20
  6. Treat Vyvanse like Adderall XR. Due to the release mechanism and how your body absorbs Vyvanse the duration and onset is different. Vyvanse has a “cleaner” feel to it, you feel less speedy and the euphoric feelings associated with recreational doses of Adderall are not as pronounced. Recommended starting dose for Vyvanse is 30mg and will last 12 hours. u/minomonster
  7. If you find yourself clenching your jaw or chewing on your lips, gum can help keep you from damaging your teeth, gums, and lips.
  8. Avoid exercise while on any kind of stimulant. Stimulants increase your resting heart rate and blood pressure, this can cause you to have a heart attack.

TL;DR courtesy of u/Chemdawg90 1. Get 8 hours of sleep. 2. Take it early between 8am-10am. 3. Eat a sold breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 4. Don’t take more than 30mg a day. 4. Go to bed by 11pm-12pm. You will always get something out of it. You will never miss sleep and your body will still have nutrients to run off aside from speed. Also you will still get sleep.

submitted by /u/MoonMoonHD
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