How An Adderall Shortage Is Affecting People With ADHD

Some of those with ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) have been recently finding it difficult to obtain Adderall, a medication that helps manage their condition. However, this is not due to a shortage of Adderall, but rather a shortage of labor.

Cherie Duvall-Jones, a spokesperson for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), told NBC News that the difficulty filling Adderall among many pharmacies has been precipitated by Teva Pharmaceuticals, the largest manufacturer of the drug, and that it is likely to continue over the next several months. Kelley Dougherty, a spokesperson for Teva Pharmaceuticals, said the disruption has been due to a labor shortage on its packaging line but expects that the company will be able to fill back orders of Adderall in the coming weeks, per NBC News.

The disruption comes at an inopportune time, as students are about to return to school. According to Statista, ADHD affects approximately six million American children and is the number one mental health condition diagnosed among children in the United States. In 2020, roughly 12% of college students reported having ADHD.

This is how Adderall helps people who have ADHD

ADHD is a chronic mental disorder that affects children by the age of 12 but can go undiagnosed until adulthood. Children with ADHD have difficulty paying attention and sitting still and can act impulsively. As a result, ADHD is often identified in the classroom when a child acts disruptive and has difficulty focusing on assignments. Health experts believe genetics play a role in the cause of ADHD; however, researchers have not yet identified the specific genes associated with ADHD, per American Psychiatric Association (APA).

According to the New York Times, Adderall's origins came about by accident in the 1920s when the chemist Gordon Alles was researching a treatment for asthma. The drug as we know it today hit the market in 1996 as an alternative to the medication Ritalin.

The experts at Medical News Today explain that Adderall is made up of a combination of the stimulants amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. The drug affects certain chemical messengers, or neurotransmitters, adjusting natural chemicals in the brain to provide a sense of calm and greater focus and attention for people with ADHD.

While there is no specific test for ADHD, a doctor will diagnose someone following interviews and assessments, if the patient displays at least a certain number of ADHD symptoms. However, if you are an adult who is only recently experiencing symptoms, you likely do not have ADHD because health experts do not believe ADHD originates in adulthood, according to the U.K. National Health Service.