Adderall: Can It Cause Hair Loss?

Adderall: Can It Cause Hair Loss?
Adderall: Can It Cause Hair Loss?

Adderall is a brand name for an FDA approved central nervous system (CNS) stimulant drug. The drug contains the salts of two powerful drugs- levoamphetamine and dextroamphetamine.

Doctors use Adderall in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ADHD is a condition where a person shows signs of inattentiveness and hyperactivity. It is more common with males than females.

Adderall is also useful in the treatment of narcolepsy. It is used as a wakefulness drug to avoid tiredness in the daytime for people with this condition.

Adderall has side effects, just like every other drug. Some of the possible side effects are difficulty sleeping. It can also suppress appetite, which can lead to weight loss. Other significant side effects include restlessness, changes in behavior and mood, constipation, etc.

Misuse of Adderall 

Adderall is very prone to abuse. It is a well-known drug of abuse among college students who use this drug to study. With prolonged use of this drug, addiction can set in. When this drug is misused and taken at a dose higher than usual over a long period, more severe side effects are observed.

These side effects include chest pain, dizziness, seizures, depression, and increased stress. Increased stress leads to hair thinning and hair loss.

Adderall: Can It Cause Hair Loss?

What Causes Hair Loss?

Hair loss is a condition that occurs when the hair shedding and disruption in the growth cycle. It also occurs as a result of the destruction of hair follicles. Hair loss can be temporary or permanent, depending on the cause. Some of the causes of hair loss are:

  1. Family history

This is the most common cause, and it is hereditary. It leads to male and female patterned baldness. An endogenous hormone Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is associated with this.

  1. Medications 

Use of some drugs for the treatment of cancer, depression, arthritis, heart problems can lead to hair loss.

  1. Hormones 

Hormonal changes due to pregnancy, menopause, and thyroid problems can lead to either permanent or temporary loss of hair.

  1. Medical conditions and disease

Conditions such as alopecia areata (an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system targets and affects the follicles of the hair. It also disrupts the natural growth and formation of the hair.). Anemia, ringworm infection, and trichotillomania (a disorder that causes one to pull hair) are causes in children. All these conditions can lead to permanent or temporary hair loss.

  1. Stress 

Excessive and chronic stress can lead to hair loss. An elevated level of stress can increase the level of cortisol in the blood. Increased cortisol levels lead to the damage of the hair follicles. This can then lead to thinning and shedding of the hair. This hair loss is usually temporary.

  1. Certain hairstyles and treatment 

This hair loss is caused as a result of tension and pulling on the scalp for an extended period. This removes damages the hair follicles. It is usually familiar to people who pull their hair in a high and tight ponytail, as wells as people who put on tight braids. It can also result in a side effect of cosmetic surgery such as facelift, which leads to hair tension.

Treatment of hair loss

Hair loss can be temporary or permanent, depending on the etiology. It can also be prevented or treated by using certain drugs such as Minoxidil and Finasteride. These drugs slow the action of DHT. Some of the proper ways to prevent and treat hair loss include:

  • Adequate nutrition, especially adequate intake of protein and iron, and increased consumption of vitamins.
  • treatment of underlying medical conditions such as anemia and thyroid disease
  • Stopping social habits such as smoking and the disuse of medications that trigger hair loss are good ways to treat and prevent hair loss.
  • Excellent and proper hygiene, such as shampooing regularly, is beneficial.

Adderall and hair loss

Using Adderall is not a direct cause of hair loss. It is a result of some of the side effects of chronic use and misuse of the drug. These side effects affect the thickness and overall health of the hair.

Stress level- when the stress level increases in the body, it leads to the release of the stress hormone Cortisol. Cortisol, when elevated in the blood, can lead to follicle damage, which causes hair loss.

  • Restlessness and difficulty sleeping- Adderall use affects sleep pattern, and lack of proper amount of sleep over time leads to increased stress, which can lead to hair loss.
  • Loss of appetite- One of the side effects of Adderall is a loss of or suppressed appetite, which leads to weight loss. This leads to a deficiency of essential nutrients such as iron, vitamins, and minerals, which are vital for proper hair growth.
  • Itchiness- Itchy scalp can lead to hair loss, especially when scratched excessively.
  • Trichotillomania- This hair loss is a result of one pulling and twisting out one’s hair. When this happens, it leads to loss of hair.

Adderall Hair Loss Vs. Other Hair Loss

Hair loss due to Adderall is not the same as other hair loss, such as male pattern baldness. Hair loss due is an indirect side effect of Adderall usage. It is a secondary condition caused by increased stress level, lack of sleep, and weight loss due to suppressed appetite.

Male pattern baldness is caused directly by the hormone DHT. This hair loss is permanent and can be hereditary, whereas Adderall induced hair loss is temporary and is not due to genetic disposition.

Adderall induced hair loss often manifests as thinning of the hair. The hair loss is from most areas of the head, while male-patterned hair loss happens in specific areas of the head. It is the male pattern that most leads to receding hairline and loss of hair in the center of the head.

The treatment for both differs. Adderall induced hair loss is treated by stopping the use of the drug and getting proper sleep, nutrition, and reducing stress level. In contrast, Physicians treat male-patterned hair loss using FDA approved drugs finasteride and minoxidil (see our Kirkland Minoxidil review). These drugs reduce the amount of DHT in the blood.

Treatment Of Adderall Induced Hair Loss

It is known that this hair loss is indirect and caused by the primary side effects of the drug. Therefore, in treating this hair loss, the drug must be discontinued. Especially when taken without prescription.

To reverse these side effects, it is crucial to get enough sleep. Lack of sleep can be a cause of hair loss. Doing this will lead to a decrease in the cortisol level in the blood, eat properly to provide essential nutrients needed for hair growth.

Another essential thing is lifestyle modification. For people who use Adderall as a study and work aid, this should stop. Chronic use and abuse of the drug can lead to more severe side effects, which can be life-threatening.

It is important to note that Adderall should not be taken without a doctor’s prescription. And using Adderall when one has underlying sleep or appetite problems is not advisable, especially for the overall health of the hair. Proper nutrition, lifestyle changes, and getting enough rest and sleep are essential for the hair. Adderall induced hair loss is temporary and is reversible.

If you’re worried you are suffering from hair loss, be sure to act early! See our top 3 best products for hair growth.

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Christopher is the founder of Hair Loss Geeks, which launched back in 2011. At the time there wasn't any credible information on the internet about hair loss. As someone suffering from hair loss himself, Christopher began his extensive research journey. After launching the site, he later graduated from Boston University in 2012 with his PhD in Biochemistry. What started off as a hobby project quickly became a bigger focus as it grew. Christopher hopes everyone can learn from both his experience and research.

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