Are you Getting A Headache from Adderall: Here are the Causes and Treatment

Are you struggling with horrible Adderall headaches that just won’t seem to go away? Don’t let it ruin your day!

There are several simple and effective techniques you can try to alleviate the pain and get back to feeling your best.

From over-the-counter pain medication to relaxation techniques and hydration, we’ve got you covered with a range of remedies that are sure to provide some relief. So don’t let an Adderall headache hold you back – read on to learn more about how to get rid of that Adderall headache for good!

Adderall headaches are fairly common. Up to 26% of all Adderall users report that they get incessant headaches a few hours after taking the drug.

Although a headache from Adderall does not pose any immediate threat to your life, it is an undesirable feeling that makes the drug counterproductive. A lot of people take Adderall to increase focus and concentration, and a headache is the opposite of this goal.

How to Get Rid of An Adderall Headache

If you are experiencing a headache while taking Adderall, there are a few things you can try to help relieve the pain:

  1. Take over-the-counter pain medication: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen may help relieve headache pain.
  2. Drink plenty of water: Adderall can cause dehydration, which can contribute to headaches. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your body hydrated.
  3. Get plenty of rest: Adequate sleep and rest can help reduce the frequency and severity of headaches.
  4. Practice relaxation techniques: Techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga may help reduce tension and improve blood flow, which can help alleviate headache pain.
  5. Avoid caffeine: Caffeine can constrict blood vessels and contribute to headache pain. Try limiting your intake of caffeine-containing beverages and foods.
  6. Take breaks: If you are taking Adderall for a long period of time, it can be helpful to take breaks from the medication. This can allow your body to rest and can help to reduce the frequency of headaches.
  7. Talk to your doctor: If you are experiencing frequent or severe headaches while taking Adderall, it is important to speak with your doctor. They may be able to adjust your dosage or suggest alternative treatment options.

What Does an Adderall Headache Feel Like?

Headaches associated with Adderall use may feel like a tension headache or a migraine. Some people describe the headache as a throbbing or pounding sensation in the head, while others may experience a dull ache. The headache may be located in one specific area of the head or may be more diffuse and spread out.

Some common characteristics of Adderall-induced headaches may include:

  • Tension or pressure in the head or temples
  • Dull, throbbing pain
  • Sensitivity to light and noise
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Difficulty concentrating or focusing

Why Does Adderall Give me a Headache?

There are several potential reasons why Adderall may be giving you headaches. One reason is that Adderall can cause changes in blood pressure and heart rate, which can lead to headaches. It can also cause changes in brain chemistry and blood flow, which can contribute to the development of headaches.

Here are a few more possible explanations why Adderall might be giving you a headache:

  1. Dehydration: Adderall can cause an increase in urine production, which can lead to dehydration. Dehydration can cause headaches, especially if you are not drinking enough fluids. To help prevent dehydration, it’s important to drink plenty of water while taking Adderall.
  2. Caffeine-like effects: Adderall is a stimulant, and it can have similar effects to caffeine. Like caffeine, Adderall can cause an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and alertness. These effects can sometimes lead to headaches.
  3. Dopamine depletion: Adderall works by increasing the levels of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in pleasure, motivation, and reward. However, Adderall can also deplete dopamine levels over time, which can lead to headaches.
  4. Rebound effect: Some people may experience a rebound effect when they stop taking Adderall. This can cause a decrease in dopamine levels, leading to symptoms such as fatigue, depression, and headaches.

If you are experiencing headaches while taking Adderall, it’s important to talk to your doctor. They can help you determine the cause of your headaches and suggest ways to manage them. Some options may include adjusting your dosage, taking breaks from the medication, or trying a different treatment.

Types of Adderall Headaches

Here are the four major types of headache from Adderall that you may experience:

  1. Tension-type headache: A tension-type headache is a typical headache. It affects both sides of the head, and may bring a pressure feeling at the back of the eyes. This type of Adderall headache is not serious. It won’t prevent you from accomplishing your daily tasks.
  2. Migraine Headache: A migraine headache is an incessant throbbing headache that affects only one side of the head. If you get this type of a headache from Adderall, it will make you feel like throwing up.
  3. Chronic daily headache: If your headache lasts more than 24 hours, you might be experience a chronic daily headache. It is rare that Adderall will give you this kind of a headache, but if it does, seek medical advice.
  4. Cluster headache: A cluster headache is a type of headache that requires over a period of weeks. If you are suffering from a cluster, you’ll most probably experience one or two one-sided headaches over a period of 2-3 weeks.

If you have been wondering how you can deal with Adderall and headaches, we have a solution for you. But first, let’s go back to the basics.

This is How Adderall Works in the Brain

Adderall, a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, is a strong nervous system stimulant. The medication is usually prescribed to ADHD and narcolepsy patients to help them fight hyperactivity.

Unlike other smart drugs, Adderall is super-powerful. It has a chemical formula similar to that of meth and ecstasy. That should tell you something about its potency.

Once the drug gets into your brain, it mimics the actions of adrenaline, norepinephrine, and dopamine, but in very high concentrations. The brain uses dopamine to send messages about rewards and pleasure, while epinephrine is used for fight-or-flight responses. Norepinephrine, on the other hand, it works to control all these neurons.

Adderall boosts the functions of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain, but with some serious side effects. Apart from the headaches, Adderall may also lead to seizures, heart attacks, sleeplessness and loss of appetite.

See: Best Pillows for Migraine Sufferers

The drug is also highly addictive and can lead to dependence. A lot of high school and college kids take Adderall in the hope that it can help them perform well in school. However, research has shown that Adderall has little help for students who do not have ADHD.

  • If you do not have a doctor’s prescription, stay away from Adderall.
  • If you are looking for a nootropic or smart drug to help you concentrate on your studies, there are better alternatives to Adderall.

What Causes Adderall Headache?

Headaches from Adderall
What causes Adderall Headaches?

All stimulant drugs can cause headaches when taken in high doses. Like cocaine, Adderall is classified under Central Nervous System Stimulant (CNS) drugs, and that’s why it causes incessant migraines.

CNS drugs disturb the balance of chemicals in the brain. They may also release excessive stress-related chemicals, hence causing a headache. The imbalance of chemicals in the brain is triggers a migraine.

Some of the other reasons why amphetamines such as Adderall cause headaches include:

#1 Amphetamine-induced hypertension

Amphetamine induced hypertension is basically high blood pressure that is caused by the use of Amphetamines.

Adderall, which is composed from amphetamine, activates the part of your nervous system that controls your fight-or-flight responses. These kinds of responses invariably increase your systolic blood pressure, heart-rate, and a few other cardiovascular functionalities such as heart contractility.

#2 Reversible Cerebral Vasoconstriction

Scientific study has found that use of recreational drugs including ecstasy, marijuana, cocaine, and amphetamines is a possible cause of reversible cerebral vasoconstriction.

Since Adderall is an amphetamine, we can conclusively deduce that it, in fact, contributes to reversible cerebral vasoconstriction. The drug induces the release of norepinephrine, which is predisposed to narrow major blood vessels, leading to an Adderall headache.

Ironically, some types of headaches are actually relieved by cerebral vasoconstriction. It is for this reason that you will find caffeine as an ingredient in many over the counter headache solutions.

#3 Pseudotumor Cerebri and Electrolyte Disturbances

Persistent use of Adderall can cause massive electrolyte disturbances. All amphetamines, and by extension all other psychostimulants, are very powerful diuretics. They deplete certain solute resources such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium from your body.

The depletion of sodium and potassium leads to conditions known as hyponatremia and hypokalemia, respectively. The resulting osmotic imbalance in the brain may result in incessant Adderall headaches.

Additionally, when extracellular solute concentrations levels fall below the optimum level, water tends to diffuse into neurons (brain cells), making them to swell. This increases the pressure within the cranial vault, leading to a serious condition known as pseudotumor cerebri.

#4 Rebound Headaches

Rebound headaches are a vicious cycle. When most people experience headaches from Adderall, they rush to their over-the-counter-drug supplier and get a quick pain killer.

Pain relievers offer fast relief from headaches and migraines. However, when you take them more than a couple of days per week, they may trigger rebound headaches.

Also, recall that Adderall causes headaches via vasoconstriction. However, vasodilation may also cause migraines. Once you withdraw from Adderall, the cranial blood vessels begin to dilate, leading to migraines.

#5 Stress and Neck Tension

HOW TO get rid of adderall headaches and migraines

Stress and neck tension are major contributors to Adderall headaches. Recall that Adderall increases focus and concentration by enhancing the activity of norepinephrine and dopamine.

Dopamine is one of the biochemicals that are involved in the regulation of muscles and movement. Hence, excessive dopaminergic signals in the body may result in muscle rigidity, which subsequently causes tension on your shoulders and neck, resulting in a headache.

Adderall-related headaches are rarely serious. However, there are scenarios that you should seek immediate medical attention, especially if:

  • The headache comes quite abruptly and gets from bad to worse in just a few seconds or minutes
  • The headache comes with a stiff neck or fever. Or if it occurs with loss of consciousness, seizures or unexplainable personality changes
  • If you experience numbness or impaired vision, and
  • If the headache begins after an injury or strenuous exercise.

NB: If headaches from Adderall are chronic, consider using one of the most popular Adderall alternatives. We personally recommend Modafinil (sold overseas by ModafinilCat).

How to Get Rid of An Adderall Headache

We recommend lifestyle changes as the best way of treating Adderall-related headaches. You should, especially learn how to properly cope with amphetamine crash. Immediate and unplanned withdrawal from Adderall might leave you feeling sluggish, irritable, and dizzy, and might make you relapse into drug use.

In addition to learning how to deal with the amphetamine crash, consider putting the following recommendations into action:

  • Practice a few relaxation tactics to relieve muscle tension. Always relax your posture to reduce shoulder and neck strain. If possible, consider taking meditation sessions, self-hypnosis, and biofeedback.
  • Take Gatorade or another isotonic beverage to replenish the electrolytes that may be excreted when you are taking Adderall
  • Limit the intake of sodium, cholesterol, alcohol and trans-fats to avoid Adderall-associated hypertension. Niacin (popularly known as Vitamin B3) dilates blood vessels. It may, therefore, reduce hypertension.
  • Take breaks from your work, exercise, and make sure you get enough sleep
  • Limit the amount of caffeine that you take, and quit smoking. Taking other psychostimulants when you are under Adderall will only exacerbate the headaches.

Adderall and Headaches: Supplements that May Get Rid of Adderall Headaches

Adderall and Headaches Treatment
Try Melatonin

Some supplements seem to reduce Adderall-related headaches.

However, note that these suggestions are subjective. They are mainly from some of the other guys who use Adderall, and are not backed by any scientific evidence.

  • Melatonin– It dampens the effects of catecholamines and is particularly effective at night
  • Vitamin C- It promotes the clearance of Adderall from the nervous and blood systems.
  • L-Theanine– Induces a subtle sense of relaxation
  • Ashwagandha- Reverses some of the negative effects of chronic stress.
  • Cacao- dilates your blood vessels, hence protecting the brain from injury
  • Phenibut- might not be the best long term solution for Adderall headaches, but it works.

Using Prescription Medications to Treat Adderall Headaches

If supplements and lifestyle changes do not alleviate the headaches, you may want to try prescription medications.

We recommend getting Propranolol, a beta-blocker medication that blocks adrenergic receptors, hence reducing hypertension. Apart from having the best cost-benefit ratio, Propranolol also has the best working mechanism. Beta receptor blockades counterbalance many of the harmful effects that Adderall impacts on your cardiovascular system.

Here are other medications that relieve headaches and migraines

  1. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). They include acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and aspirin. Anecdotal evidence suggests that NSAIDs may protect the brain from the toxic side effects of Adderall.
  2. Excedrin: (a combination acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine). It is mostly used as an abortive treatment for headaches. But be cautious when using this. Caffeine is a psychostimulant, and may worsen headaches.
  3. Antidepressants: selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and Tricyclics (TCAs) can be used to curb repeated tension-type Adderall-induced headaches.
  4. Oxygen: Inhaling 100% undiluted oxygen using a face mask can be effective for curing cluster headaches.
  5. Glucocorticoids (Prednisone), triptans, and other calcium channel brokers can be effective headache preventive therapies. However, their effectiveness may be contradicted by concurrent Adderall use.

Do Adderall Headaches Go Away?

It is possible that Adderall-induced headaches will go away on their own, especially if they are caused by dehydration or the rebound effect. In these cases, making sure to drink enough fluids and allowing time for your body to adjust after stopping Adderall may help resolve the headaches.

However, if the cause of your headaches is more persistent, such as an increase in blood pressure or depletion of dopamine levels, the headaches may not go away on their own. In these cases, it may be necessary to adjust your dosage or try a different medication.

In some cases, Adderall-related headaches may persist despite attempts to address the underlying cause. In these cases, your doctor may suggest trying a different medication or treatment approach. It’s important to work with your doctor to find the treatment that works best for you.

Now to You

To some people, an Adderall headache is not a big deal. To others, the pain might be paralysing. The advice given here is not professional medical advice and we advise you to talk to a qualified physician.

Besides, remember to stay hydrated when you are taking Adderall. Eat well, and if for some reason you can’t eat, take a smoothie or yogurt.

Prediet Plan Editorial

Prediet Plan Editorial

Patrick Kihara is a weight loss enthusiast and fitness blogger. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communication and Journalism and several health and fitness certifications.

1 Comment
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    How to Get Rid of Adderall Headaches - Doctors Health Press Mar 29, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    […] “Adderall Headaches: Causes and Treatment,” Prediet Plan, April 12, 2016;, last accessed July 24, 2017. “Adderall Headaches: How to Fix […]

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