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  • Writer's picturedrdara1

Are You Struggling With The Effects of a Nationwide Adderall Shortage?

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medication Adderall is no stranger to shortages, but the current crisis has left many feeling particularly frustrated and confused. Fortunately, however, temporary solutions ease the burden until clarity is restored in this challenging time.

The demand for Adderall has substantially increased while production of the medication has plateaued. This mismatch has been exacerbated by a significant supply issue with Teva Pharmaceuticals, leading to an overall shortage.


Adderall, a medication designed to help people focus by increasing levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, has faced shortage issues since 2015 because its main ingredient- amphetamine salt- is in short supply. The pandemic worsened matters, and now pharmacies are struggling to keep up with an ever-growing demand for stimulants despite a lack of increased production quotas from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Unfortunately, it seems Adderall's availability won't be recovered anytime soon.


During the decade 2006-2016, ADHD diagnoses skyrocketed. This subsequently triggered a dramatic surge in prescriptions of stimulants - more than doubling during this period alone. More recently, we saw an additional 22% leap in 2021, highlighting that not only children but their parents, too, are increasingly recognizing symptoms of ADHD within themselves.


The COVID-19 pandemic has unveiled a unique opportunity for communities previously without access to ADHD evaluations, leading to increased awareness and diagnosis of ADHD. Although the increased awareness of ADHD is positive, the growing demand for Adderall prescriptions will further add to the current shortage and affect the availability of methylphenidate (Ritalin) too.


The pandemic forced us to rely increasingly on telehealth services. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) relaxed laws around prescribing controlled substances. Unfortunately, some irresponsible companies abused this trust by providing hasty ADHD evaluations and possibly inaccurate diagnoses, contributing to the nationwide Adderall Shortage.


In the meantime, there are some potential strategies to help ease the Adderall shortage until it is resolved.


  • Look into obtaining your prescription from a different local pharmacy or even a mail-order pharmacy. 

  • Be aware that pharmacies typically won't tell you if they have Adderall in stock. To get your hands on this tightly regulated controlled substance, ensure your physician sends the order directly to the pharmacy. Once they receive confirmation of the script, store staff will gladly let you know whether or not they can fulfill your request.

  • Consult your doctor or pharmacist about alternate stimulants or non-stimulant options that may be as effective and, sometimes, even work better with fewer side effects. 

  • Consider lowering your Adderall dosage or taking a break on the weekend, allowing you to use medication when needed. Remember to always first discuss with your physician whether it is appropriate to divide pills or skip doses to extend the prescription length.

  •  Explore supplement and vitamin stimulant alternatives such as Omega 3, Zinc, Magnesium, Inositol, and Ginkgo Biloba, but only under the professional medical guidance of your physician.

  •  Entertain nutritious food choices and increase the use of meditation and exercise practices. 

  • Speak to professors, teachers, and employers about accommodations such as extra time on assignments, quieter exam rooms, and distraction-free work settings.

  • Always fill prescriptions on time to lessen the chance of days without the medication.

  • Let go of unnecessary demands that drain your focus and stamina, and embrace self-compassion.


With millions facing an adderall shortage, it is up to all of us - including mental health professionals - to take action and find a safe solution.




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