The Truth About Adderall: What You Need To Know

Adderall is a schedule II stimulant made to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). While Adderall is an effective treatment for multiple disorders, it has a high potential for abuse and the potential to cause heart problems and psychosis without proper management.

While Adderall has been found beneficial for those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Adderall addiction and abuse are major public health concerns.

According to new research, abuse, and emergency room visits associated with Adderall have significantly risen among adolescents, including high school and college students.

What Is Adderall?

Adderall is a prescription stimulant prescribed to treat narcolepsy and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Adderall uses a combination of dextroamphetamine salts and amphetamine to affect portions of the brain that control sleep, impulses, and hyperactivity.

Legitimate Uses Of Adderall

Adderall is used by healthcare professionals to treat ADHD symptoms and narcolepsy.

Adderall treats these conditions by acting as a central nervous system stimulant and increasing
levels of neurotransmitters including dopamine and norepinephrine.

Some healthcare providers will prescribe this stimulant medication for unapproved off-label uses, including treating bipolar depression, weight loss, depression, and anxiety.

Recreational Adderall Use

The misuse of prescription drugs, including stimulants, among adolescents in the United States is a significant public health concern.

Adderall is the most common prescription ADHD medication among school-aged children, significantly increasing access to the prescription drug among adolescents.

In 2015, over 17 million people aged 12 or older had used prescription stimulants similar to Adderall within the past year, with over 5 million of those people misusing stimulants.

Full-time college students were also twice as likely to abuse Adderall than their peers who didn’t attend college.

Why Do People Abuse Adderall?

Adderall is a controlled substance with a high potential for misuse. Reasons for abusing Adderall may include peer pressure, self-medication, and a competitive school environment.

One of the most common reasons adolescents and young adults abuse Adderall is the belief that it will make them more efficient high school or college students.

Adderall can artificially increase focus and make someone without ADHD or another similar disorder hyperfixate. As a result, some students will try to use it as a study aid.

Adderall is also abused in social scenarios as a party drug because it can produce euphoric effects in higher doses and can mask the side effects of alcohol and other CNS depressants.

Combining Adderall with other substances is a high risk form of drug abuse known as combined drug intoxication (CDI).

While people who abuse Adderall alongside other substances may feel that the drugs cancel each other out, their organs are still feeling the full effects of everything they’re using.

Methods Of Adderall Abuse

Adderall is most commonly swallowed in pill form. However, the pills can also be crushed and then snorted for a more immediate but short-lived effect

Snorting Adderall can lead to adverse side effects, including:

  • recurring nosebleeds
  • difficulty swallowing
  • impaired sense of smell
  • chronic sinusitis
  • sinus infections
  • damage to mucous membranes

While someone could technically try foil smoking Adderall, this is not a common method of abuse. Injecting Adderall by crushing the pills and mixing them with water is also technically possible but uncommon.

Snorting Adderall is simpler and safer than these methods but is still associated with an increased risk of Adderall addiction and Adderall withdrawal than swallowing the pill form.

Similar to snorting Adderall, smoking Adderall is associated with higher levels of Adderall addiction and Adderall withdrawal.

The Risks Of Adderall Abuse

There are a variety of risks associated with Adderall abuse, including combined drug intoxication (CDI), overdose, and heart problems, including arrhythmia.

The level of risk depends on the form of abuse, the duration of abuse, and the dosage.

Prescription Adderall

When abusing prescription Adderall, serious short and long-term effects may occur.

Short-term effects of prescription Adderall misuse include:

  • high blood pressure
  • cardiovascular effects such as heart palpitations or fast heart rate
  • blurred vision or eyesight changes
  • nausea or vomiting
  • decreased appetite
  • anxiety or nervousness

While these symptoms may be mild at first, they may increase in intensity or severity over time or with long-term use.

Long-term use of Adderall may lead to:

  • heart attack
  • psychosis
  • seizure
  • chest pain
  • hallucinations
  • serotonin syndrome
  • muscle twitching
  • sudden death

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is crucial to seek medical help immediately.

Combined Drug Intoxication (CDI)

Combined drug intoxication (CDI) occurs when an individual takes more than one substance at a time. The effects of combining different drugs tend to be stronger than just using one drug.

Combining multiple drugs has dangerous and possibly fatal effects.

The effects become more complicated to predict if the drugs are in different classes, such as
mixing stimulants and depressants.

CDI is not limited to illicit substances and can occur with legal substances, prescription medicines, and over-the-counter medicines.

Fake Adderall

Fake Adderall pills are not legitimate medications and have different ingredients than brand-name Adderall pills; although, they may look similar to brand-name pills.

They may contain the wrong active ingredient, the right ingredient in the wrong amount or no active ingredient.

Many high school and college students purchase Adderall from the dark web or through social media referrals, which may market deadly versions of these drugs tainted with fentanyl or methamphetamine.

Recognizing The Signs Of Adderall Abuse

Due to its high addiction potential, a person can quickly progress from recreational use to routine Adderall misuse and eventual addiction.

While adolescents are more likely to be affected, anyone can develop an Adderall addiction. Someone who is addicted to Adderall will frequently display signs of drug abuse.

Common side effects of Adderall abuse may include:

  • talkativeness or sociability
  • dry mouth
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • anxiety or panic
  • doctor shopping
  • fatigue
  • irritability
  • mania
  • aggression
  • constipation
  • confusion

If a loved one is displaying any of these signs, they may be abusing Adderall or experiencing another health condition and should receive proper medical care.

Start Treatment For Adderall Abuse In Massachusetts

If you or a loved one is ready to begin substance use treatment for Adderall addiction, we can help. Contact Spring Hill Recovery Center to learn about our treatment programs for Adderall addiction.

  1. Arizona State Board of Nursing
  2. Australian Government Department of Health
  3. Bard Digital Communications
  4. Columbia University
  5. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
  6. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
  7. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  8. Government of South Australia
  9. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  10. National Library Of Medicine: Bookshelf
  11. National Library Of Medicine: PubMed
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  16. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
  17. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
  18. University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Psychology,students%20in%20their%20age%20group.&text=Because%20Adderall%20is%20a%20stimulant,a%20stronger%20effect%20while%20drinking./

Written by Spring Hill Recovery Editorial Team

Published on: March 5, 2024

© 2024 Spring Hill Recovery | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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