“Sorry, we cannot fill your Adderall prescription and do not know when we will have more in stock. Please contact your prescribing doctor to discuss alternatives.” For someone struggling with ADHD, these can be scary words.
Before you even have a chance to process the situation and think of alternatives, your brain has already gone into panic mode. You think, “But I just started my final year at university; how will I get through my exams?”
It’s not limited to students either. Many adults rely on Adderall to remain focused while they juggle their daily kazillion responsibilities. I can’t imagine being an ADHD parent who has been blindsided by the news of the shortage, which, by now, has already impacted anyone who is prescribed the medication.
Sure, similar alternatives exist, such as Vyvanse, but insurance plans do not always cover that, or if it does, it comes at a premium to that of Adderall.
But there is an unseen benefit if you choose to acknowledge it. It’s not an easy hill to climb, but it is doable with time and persistence. That is, revamping your lifestyle to incorporate regular exercise, healthy eating, and prioritizing sleep.
You may be thinking: Well, a gym membership and eating healthy cost more money than we are spending now, not to mention, how would we fit that into our already overloaded schedule? How are we going to make it work? Instead of diving into a pseudo-inspirational bit, I’m going to provide a change in perspective. And if you already view your life like this, you are ahead of most of the pack.
Everything is a trade-off. In this context, not having Adderall presents new challenges, with the obvious being that you are about to or have just run out. What’s next?
I Just Ran Out of Adderall, Now What?
First things first, contact your prescribing doctor about the situation. By now, they should be well-versed in what’s going on. Chances are they will ask you to come in to discuss alternatives in the form of:
- Generic Amphetamine Salt
- Newer ADHD Meds
Your doctor will also cover some of the side effects that can accompany this sudden disruption to routine intake.
The reality of not having Adderall is now setting in for you, and after reading up to this point and speaking with your doctor, you have a better idea of your options moving forward. This article stops here if you are open to trying an alternative prescribed medication. If you are apprehensive about a new med regimen, keep reading.
Common Withdrawal Symptoms of Adderall Withdrawal
Here are some of the common withdrawal symptoms associated with stopping Adderall:
- Fatigue and lethargy: This is one of the most common side effects, as Adderall is a stimulant that increases alertness and energy levels.
- Difficulty concentrating: Adderall helps to improve focus and attention, so stopping it can make it harder to concentrate on tasks and schoolwork.
- Irritability and mood swings: Adderall can help to regulate mood, so stopping it can lead to irritability, mood swings, and even depression.
- Sleep disturbances: Adderall can interfere with sleep, so stopping it can lead to insomnia or excessive sleepiness.
- Headaches: Headaches are a common side effect of Adderall withdrawal.
- Cravings: Some people may experience cravings for Adderall when they stop taking it.
- Anxiety: Adderall can help to reduce anxiety, so stopping it can lead to increased anxiety or panic attacks.
- Depression: In some cases, stopping Adderall can lead to depression.
- Appetite changes: Adderall can suppress appetite, so stopping it can lead to increased appetite.
- Social isolation: Some people may withdraw from social activities when they stop taking Adderall.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms after stopping Adderall, it is essential to continue the conversation with your doctor. They can help you manage your symptoms and develop a plan to safely ween off the medication, assuming you still have some of your last prescription left.
Tips for Managing Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms
- Gradually taper off the medication: If possible, work with your doctor to taper off Adderall progressively instead of stopping it abruptly. This can help to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Eating a nutritious diet, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly can help to improve your overall health and well-being, which can help to reduce withdrawal symptoms.
- Practice relaxation techniques: Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing can help to reduce stress and anxiety, which can worsen withdrawal symptoms.
- Seek support: Talk to friends, family members, or support groups about your experiences. Sharing your concerns and seeking encouragement can help you cope with the transition and maintain motivation.
The History of Adderall Shortages
Yes, there have been other Adderall shortages in the past, but why does this time seem like more of a big deal? Is it ever going to end? How will my child make it through college when they have relied on this medication for years?
The chart below shows the past Adderall shortages.
|Year||Months Affected||Primary Reason for Shortage|
|2011||April-September||Manufacturing problems at Teva Pharmaceuticals|
|2012||January-December||Increased demand and supply chain disruptions|
|2015||March-December||Manufacturing problems at Teva Pharmaceuticals and Sandoz|
|2016||January-October||Increased demand and supply chain disruptions|
|2017||November-December||Manufacturing problems at Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals|
|2018||January-December||Manufacturing problems at Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals and Teva Pharmaceuticals|
|2019||January-December||Manufacturing problems at Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals and Teva Pharmaceuticals|
|2020||January-December||Manufacturing problems at Teva Pharmaceuticals and Sandoz|
|2021||January-December||Manufacturing problems at Teva Pharmaceuticals and Sandoz|
|2022-Present||October-Present||Ongoing intermittent manufacturing delays at Teva Pharmaceuticals|
Part of it is media sensationalism, but it can also be attributed to a spike in telehealth prescriptions, which I will discuss below. This means the number of people affected and the duration of the shortage have been more pronounced.
While there is a general idea of what this shortage stemmed from, much of the information seems like finger-pointing. The shortage has been attributed to a complex interplay of factors, including an increased demand for ADHD medications, supply chain disruptions, and manufacturing issues. The U.S. has also experienced a surge in telehealth prescriptions emerging during the pandemic. It’s speculated that, like a mass migration, which causes disruptions on the signal and input side, the pandemic and ensuing surge in the remote workforce resulted in many not having adequate time to prepare for the transition. This led to some of them seeking alternatives, in this case – being prescribed Adderall, as this is part of the theory behind why availability plummeted.
Mental Health Management
If you are like many others who have no choice but to devise a plan to manage your symptoms with Adderall successfully, there are steps you can take to tip the scales in your favor.
Prioritize Self-Care: Self-care should be at the forefront of your approach to managing the Adderall shortage. Ensure you get enough sleep, maintain a healthy diet, and exercise regularly. These habits promote overall well-being and can help mitigate withdrawal symptoms.
Practice Mindfulness Techniques: Mindfulness techniques, such as meditation and deep breathing exercises, can be powerful tools for managing stress and anxiety, which can intensify during medication transitions. Regularly incorporating mindfulness practices into your routine can help you stay grounded and centered.
Explore Non-Pharmacological Interventions: Seek out non-pharmacological interventions that can support ADHD management in the absence of medication. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has proven effective in improving focus, organization, and emotional regulation. Additionally, explore lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a structured daily routine and incorporating regular breaks, to enhance your ability to manage tasks and maintain focus.
Reframe Your Perspective: View the Adderall shortage as an opportunity to explore alternative approaches to managing ADHD. With a growth mindset, you can embark on a journey of self-discovery, uncovering new strategies to support your well-being.
Resist the Temptation of Illicit Sources: Under no circumstances should you seek out Adderall from illicit sources. Obtaining medication from unregulated channels poses significant risks to your health and safety. Counterfeit medications may contain harmful ingredients or incorrect dosages, putting your well-being at risk. Adderall being sold on the black market is expected to rise as it can be the natural course for highly sought-after medication when supply constricts.
Seek Support When Needed: Don’t hesitate to seek support from friends, family members, or mental health treatment professionals during this challenging time. Sharing your concerns and seeking encouragement can provide invaluable emotional support and help you navigate this transition effectively. Remember, abrupt medication changes can be difficult, but by prioritizing self-care, practicing mindfulness, and exploring alternative strategies, you can effectively manage your ADHD symptoms and maintain your mental well-being during the Adderall shortage.
Maintaining A High Quality of Life Amidst the Adderall Shortage
For many individuals with ADHD, Adderall has been a lifeline, providing much-needed relief from symptoms and enabling them to function effectively in their daily lives. However, the ongoing nationwide shortage of Adderall has thrown a wrench into these carefully constructed routines, leaving many struggling to manage their ADHD symptoms without their usual medication. While the Adderall shortage presents undeniable challenges, it is an opportunity to explore alternative approaches to managing ADHD symptoms. By combining medication options with behavioral strategies, lifestyle adaptations, and support systems, individuals can develop effective strategies to thrive without Adderall and maintain a high quality of life.
While the uncertainty surrounding supply volatility may be ongoing, your mindset and behaviors are both variables you can work on. Investing in your long-term health by exercising, eating healthy, and staying in tune with your mind and body’s needs means investing in yourself. Don’t hesitate to reach out for mental health rehab and support today. It’s as easy as calling or reaching out online from the privacy of your own home.
You can also check the latest FDA updates on the Adderal shortage by clicking here.
“Adderall Shortage: What to Do if You Can’t Get Your Meds” from Everyday Health: https://www.everydayhealth.com/adhd/the-adderall-shortage-why-its-still-happening-and-what-to-do/
“FDA Announces Shortage of Adderall” from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA): https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-announces-shortage-adderall
“One Year After Adderall Shortage First Declared, Spanberger Seeks Answers” from U.S. House of Representatives: https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/3782263-virginia-democrat-urges-dea-fda-to-act-on-shortage-of-adhd-drugs/
“Why is Adderall in Short Supply? Here’s What You Need to Know” from Verywell Health: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2023/02/18/1157832613/adderall-shortage-forces-some-patients-to-scramble-ration-or-go-without