Adderall is a popular prescription stimulant used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Its main ingredients are dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. Both of these substances speed up the central nervous system, increasing energy, focus, and alertness.
Like other prescription drugs, Adderall can have side effects. For example, some Adderall users experience increased sexual desire. Here’s why.
Why Does Adderall Increase Sexual Desire?
Adderall enhances the effects of multiple neurotransmitters (brain chemicals), including:
- dopamine (also called the “feel-good” hormone”), which influences memory, motivation, and reward
- norepinephrine, which influences energy, alertness, and arousal
- serotonin, which influences mood, sleep, and appetite
Each of these neurotransmitters also influences sexual desire.
By increasing their effects, Adderall may increase blood flow to your sexual organs, which can boost your sex drive and ability to experience sexual pleasure. The drug may also enhance your sexual performance by making you feel more energized, focused, and confident.
While some people enjoy the increased sexual desire, others find it overwhelming. They may become so aroused that they can’t concentrate on anything besides sex. They might also develop compulsive sexual behaviors, such as compulsive masturbation.
In severe cases, they may even experience intense urges to have sex with people they normally wouldn’t. This behavior is often called “hypersexuality.”
Hypersexuality can have serious consequences, including damaged relationships, sexually transmitted diseases, and unwanted pregnancy.
How Long Does The Increased Desire Last?
Sometimes, your sexual desire will return to normal within a few months of taking Adderall. Other times, though, it will just keep increasing. That’s why it’s important to talk to your doctor about any sexual changes you experience while taking Adderall.
Can Adderall Decrease Sexual Desire?
Although Adderall often boosts sexual desire, it can also have the opposite effect. More specifically, it can decrease blood flow to your sexual organs, reducing your sex drive and sense of sexual pleasure.
It may even cause erectile dysfunction (ED). This condition makes it difficult to get or keep an erection. Like other sexual side effects, it may or may not go away with continued Adderall use. Some people try to treat it with ED medications such as Viagra.
Adderall can also indirectly lower your sex drive by causing unpleasant side effects such as:
- painful menstrual cramps
If these side effects become too frequent or severe, you may have trouble focusing on sex or other pleasurable activities.
How To Manage Sexual Side Effects
Tell your doctor if Adderall causes sexual side effects. If the effects cause discomfort, or if they don’t go away, your doctor can give you some options.
For example, you could try lowering your dosage. A smaller dosage may treat your ADHD or narcolepsy without affecting your sex life.
Your doctor may also recommend switching to a different formulation of Adderall. The drug has two formulations: immediate-release Adderall and extended-release Adderall (also called Adderall XR).
The effects of immediate-release Adderall only last about 4 to 6 hours, while the effects of extended-release Adderall last all day.
Switching to another formulation could give you greater control over sexual side effects. For instance, if Adderall makes you feel aroused to an uncomfortable degree, you could switch to the immediate-release formulation so the effect won’t last all day.
Your doctor might also suggest switching to another prescription stimulant, such as lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse) or methylphenidate (Ritalin).
These drugs can also have sexual side effects. However, different people respond to medications differently. A person who has sexual side effects on Adderall might not have them on Vyvanse, and vice versa.
Adderall Abuse & Addiction
Some people abuse Adderall in an attempt to boost sexual desire, pleasure, and performance. They may also want to boost their energy and alertness in general.
Abusing Adderall means using it in a manner not prescribed. For example, you might use higher doses than prescribed or use it without a prescription.
People who abuse Adderall risk serious side effects, including:
- sudden, unhealthy weight loss
- hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that aren’t really there)
- loss of consciousness
They may also develop Adderall addiction. This serious disease makes you feel unable to stop using the drug even if you want to.
Like other diseases, Adderall addiction requires treatment. To learn about treatment options, please contact a Recovering Champions specialist. Our personalized treatment programs offer family counseling, 12-step treatment, and other services to help you or your loved one thrive.