Nervous system

Adderall Headache: 4 Types, 4 Causes, 10 Treatments & Prevention

Does Adderall cause a headache? Adderall headache is associated with people who take dextroamphetamine or amphetamine derivatives of drugs. These drugs are related to the treatment of Attention-deficit activity disorder (ADHD).

These drugs are not without any side effects and among the side effects; the most common side effects are the Adderall headache.

Adderall drugs are central nervous system stimulant (CNS stimulant), and these amphetamine derivative drugs lead to norepinephrine and dopamine release in the brain. There is a sudden flux of these transmitters in the brain. A headache from Adderall drugs is somewhat similar to a migraine headache.

Types of Adderall headache:

adderall headache
Adderall headache
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There are various types of headache faced by the consumer of these drugs. Some of the Adderall headache types include:

  1. A Cluster headache: These are short spells of a headache that is sharp in intensity and occur for many days
  2. A migraine headache: These are throbbing headache affecting only one part of the brain
  3. A tension headache: This affects both parts of the brain and is associated with the pressure around the eyes.
  4. Chronic daily headache: This is a rare headache in case of Adderall, and this usually stays for a long time and is milder in comparison.

Causes of Adderall headache:

Adderall headaches are usually caused due to the consumption of amphetamine derivative drugs which causes a release of high and quick rush of chemicals in the body especially brain. Some of the major causes of Adderall headache are:

The tension in Neck and shoulder area:

The pharmacological action of Amphetamine derivative drugs is to stimulate CNS. This is done by releasing chemicals like dopamine in the body. One of the effects of dopamine is that it makes the muscles rigid. The specific muscles that are affected because of these drugs are the neck and shoulder muscles.

These can, in turn, cause pain and tension in these muscles. As some of these muscles are directly associated with the head, they can cause a headache.

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Electrolyte imbalance:

The use of amphetamine derivative drugs causes electrolyte imbalance in the body. Use of these drugs can lead to depletion of certain salts and minerals in the body.

These include sodium, potassium and, magnesium etc. which can lead to hypokalemia (low potassium), hyponatremia (low sodium) as well as low magnesium in the body. The decrease in these nutrients/minerals in the body is associated with headaches.

Amphetamine hypertension:

One of the side effects of using amphetamine and its derivatives is that spontaneously impacts heart-related problems. This leads to an accentuation in blood pressure, increase in heart rate and abnormalities in other heart-related activities. These abnormalities in the heart function are associated with a headache as well

Cerebral constriction:

Amphetamine derivatives releases norepinephrine transmitter in the body. Norepinephrine causes vasoconstriction of the cerebral nerves. The vasoconstriction of the brain nerves and the blood vessels is often associated with a headache.

Amphetamine derivatives as required externally in case the body in itself is not producing enough of these chemicals which are necessary for the normal functioning of the body. In those cases, a doctor may prescribe Amphetamine derivatives externally.

Treatment of Adderall headache :

How to get rid of Adderall headache? Amphetamine derivatives are a respite for many people who have ADHD. However, the side effects mainly the headache associated with it makes the life tough. Some of the treatment ways used for Adderall headache are:

Reduce stimulants:

Amphetamine derivatives release CNS stimulants, the excess of these stimulants cause a headache. So it is essential to keep a check on the quantity of these a person is consuming.

Coffee also includes these substances, so it is necessary to stop coffee when the person is on these drugs, they should avoid coffee or reduce the consumption of caffeinated drinks.

Reducing stress:

One of the ways to counter a headache is diverting your mind. A headache often increases when you overdo thinking, or you are indulged in stressful activities.

While the opposite happens when you indulge in activities that divert your mind. When can get involved in activities like yoga, meditation, and one can also practice their hobbies and do the things that interest them.


The food and the diet, a person is having also influences a headache and chances of its occurrence.  A protein-rich diet can help reduce the chances of Adderall headache.

So if a person is on ADHD medication, he should make sure to include rich sources of proteins in the diet. It is observed that proteins tend to reduce the chances of a headache.

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You should also eat regularly as a decrease in blood sugar level in the body can also augment the chances of Adderall headache.

Over the counter medicines:

Over the counter medicines available in the market can help reduce the associated pain. One can take these OTC medicines for relief but should consult a doctor in case you don’t get relief from the pain or the situation worsens.

Consult a doctor:

You should consult a doctor in case you have the occurrence of a headache twice or more than twice in a week, and you have to take a medicine for relief from a headache. The doctor may alter the dosage of the medication or suggest some alternative medicine for pain management

The dosage of Adderall medicine:

You should take the second dosage of the drug only after the action of the first medicine has subsided; it is absorbed in the body or flushed out of the body. However, you should abide by the dosage suggested by your physician. Any modification done in the dosage or duration should be discussed with the doctor first.

The last dosage of the day should not include the medicine just before going to bed. The night medicine should be taken at least 6 hrs before going to sleep.

Stress Management techniques:

One should adopt stress management techniques in daily routine. Stress management technique should help to reduce the stress and to control the anger. One should include activities such as gardening, painting, yoga or some physical activity in daily routine.

Aromatherapy essential oils:

Aromatherapy has also been found to effective in treating Adderall headache. Certain essential oils such as lavender oils help in destressing the mind and body. Aromatherapy massage is also a popular technique that can provide a soothing effect to the mind.

Discuss Side effects with the doctor:

In case the headache persists for a long duration, and the side effects of the medicine are prolonged, then you should think to discuss with your doctor.

The doctor in such cases might alter the drug, reduce the dosage of the medicine or he might suggest some other painkillers along to counter the side effects of the medication.

Adderall medicines along with a headache may also be linked to many other side effects as well. Some of the other side effects include:

  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Nervousness
  • Dizziness
  • Weight loss
  • Reduction in appetite
  • Stomach ache
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth etc.
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In case the side effects of a headache do not subside with time. The patient should consult a doctor for effective management of Adderall and the side effects associated with it.

Drugs used for Adderall headache Treatment:

Some of the medications that are used for Adderall headache are:

  • Beta blockers like propranolol which blocks beta-adrenergic receptors, this in turn help in controlling headache which is related to hypertension or heart-related effects
  • Painkiller medicines specifically Non- steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin help in reducing the associated pain
  • Antidepressants such as tricyclic antideppressants (TCA) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) help in reducing tension headaches
  • Inhalation of pure oxygen is also helpful in treating cluster headaches.
  • Triptans, calcium channel blockers and glucocorticoids are also recommended are also useful for the treatment, but their use should be discussed before with the doctor as some of these medicines are prohibited for Adderall headache.

Prevention of Adderall headache:

Apart from the various treatment ways for Adderall headache, there are plenty of techniques which can help to prevent headaches and associated side effects. Some of the precautions include:

Eating and food habits:

Eating a balanced diet and avoiding unprocessed and oily foods can help to prevent Adderall headache. You should ensure to take a full dose of vitamins and minerals.

A balanced diet rich in all the vitamins and minerals can help reduce the occurrence of a headache associated with amphetamine and its derivative drugs.

Relaxation techniques:

One should practice relaxation techniques while on treatment with amphetamine drugs. Relaxation techniques involve staying calm and avoiding stress and anger.

One should try to keep the muscles loose especially the muscles around neck and shoulder area. This would help in reducing any headache associated with neck and shoulder muscles.

Manage stress:

Try to manage stress by including various stress management exercises and work out in the daily routine.

Protein diet:

One should also include proteins in the food. Having protein snacks in regular intervals helps to avoid Adderall headache.

These drugs are sometimes necessary for people having disorders related to dopamine deficiency but alongside effective management and correct dosing are also required to avoid any subsequent side effects due to these.

It is challenging for the person to concentrate on work and follow his daily routine because of these side effects.

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