Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a rather common yet complex mental disorder, which can adversely affect a persons work, schooling, or interpersonal relationships. The symptoms of ADHD vary from case to case and can be difficult to recognize. Common symptoms of ADHD are impulsiveness, hyperactivity, and inattentiveness. Though it is typically diagnosed in childhood, there are many adults with ADHD.

Though it is not yet fully understood, ADHD is believed to be caused by a dysfunction in the brain. This makes it a neurobehavioral disorder, and not a psychiatric or purely behavioral one. Behavioral problems may be present as symptoms of those with ADHD, but they are not the disorder themselves, merely the symptoms. Depression, anxiety, and low self esteem are also common in those with ADHD.

There appears to be a link between ADHD and exposure to toxins. Lead and mercury have been linked to ADHD. In addition, if a child's mother ingested toxins like tobacco, drugs or alcohol during their pregnancy, there is a higher likelyhood that the child will have ADHD. Also, if the mother has been exposed to toxins such as lead, mercury, or PCBs while pregnant, the baby has a higher chance of having ADHD.

There also appears to be a genetic link to ADHD. According to CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), if a parent has ADHD, there is a fifty percent chance their child will develop it as well.

Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant. It acts to speed up the transmission of electrical and chemical signals throughout the central nervous system. It is primarily used in the treatment of ADHD symptoms such as inattentiveness and hyperactivity while increasing attention span. Adderall does so by boosting the effects of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. Because it boosts these "reward" chemicals, it can be habit forming. The use of Adderall should be therefore be carefully monitored by your health care provider. You should not take this medication if you have high blood pressure, heart disease, or hardening of the arteries. People with hyperthyroidism or glaucoma should also avoid Adderall.

Potential side effects with stimulant drugs like Adderall include dizziness, headache, dry mouth, loss of appetite, weight loss, mood swings, nervousness, and insomnia. More potentially serious side effects have also been noted with the use of Adderall, including high blood pressure, increased heart rate, circulatory problems, blurred vision, and slowed growth in children. In rare cases, Adderall has been linked to risk of seizures, stroke, heart attack, and new or worsening psychiatric problems.

Pregnancy and Adderall
In actuality, there have been no human studies that support either using or discontinuing Adderall during pregnancy. There have, however, been animal studies. In animal testing, notable adverse effects were found in fetuses when their mothers were given Adderall in high doses, equivalent to six times the daily recommended amount. Although no human studies have been conducted, it is not recommended to use Adderall while you are pregnant.

Adderall has also been found present in the breast milk of nursing mothers. It is therefore not recommended that you take Adderall while breastfeeding, as the medicine can pass on to your child and cause many adverse effects.

While there are no restrictions on taking stimulant drugs like Adderall while pregnant, it is important to inform yourself of all the inherent health risks. Keep in mind that this is a powerful medication that comes with side effects. Talk to your doctor and get informed, and together you can make the decision if taking Adderall during pregnancy is the right decision for you.

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Author's Bio: 

Brian Wu graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physiology and Neurobiology. Currently, he holds a PhD and is an MD candidate (KSOM, USC) in integrative biology and disease. He is also an experienced writer and editor for many prestigious web pages. Brian values the ability of all ages to learn from the power of stories. His mission is to write about health conditions, educational topics and life situations in an entertaining way in order to help children understand their own life conditions and daily circumstances.