Adderall Addiction and Abuse

Adderall is an addictive central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that requires a comprehensive approach to treatment owing to its acute withdrawal symptoms.

Adderall addiction | Table of Contents

Understanding Adderall

Adderall is categorized as a schedule II-controlled substance due to its strong addictive component. It is also the most commonly prescribed amphetamine in the market today. Doctors prescribe Adderall for treating patients with narcolepsy and ADHD. While it may reduce fatigue in narcoleptic patients, it has the opposite effect for patients with ADHD.

Adderall functions by increasing dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the central nervous system. The stimulant effects of which are quite similar to that of meth. Although dopamine occurs naturally in our body, drugs like Adderall produce unnaturally high levels of this chemical.

Adderall is produced in the form of a tablet to be consumed orally with doses ranging from 5 to 30 milligrams. Those looking for an immediate effect may crush up their tablets and snort the content. Commonly-used street names for Adderall are speed, uppers, black beauties, Addy’s, and pep pills.


What does Adderall do?

Adderall is a stimulant medication generally used in the treatment of ADHD. It functions by increasing the activity of the central nervous system, which can result in higher energy levels, improved focus, and decreased restlessness.

What are side effects of Adderall?

The side effects of Adderall include loss of appetite, dry mouth, weight loss, upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, diarrhea, fever, and difficulty in sleeping. The medication may raise your blood pressure. Therefore if any of these conditions get worse, it is important to seek immediate medical attention.

Who Abuses Adderall? 

  • Students and professionals: As Adderall’s main effects help users stay focused and awake for longer than general, it has become a go-to drug for students and working professionals alike. The ever-increasing demands on school and work-life has led to the abuse of this substance. Out of those abusing Adderall, a significant majority of them are college students.
  • Athletes: Adderall is usually abused by athletes during practices or competitions to overcome fatigue and increase their overall performance.
  • Individuals with eating disorders: Individuals struggling with eating disorders may abuse Adderall as it restrains their appetite. If an individual with an eating disorder becomes addicted to Adderall, they must seek treatment for both issues simultaneously.

Regardless of what it may seem, Adderall isn’t just popular among young high school and college students; it is also widely used by the aging community.

There are many risks involved in Adderall abuse, as it can cause severe health-related issues, including potentially lethal overdose.

Here are a few signs of Adderall overdose:

  • Chest pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fast breathing
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Fainting
  • Fever

Addiction to Adderall

Adderall is a prescription stimulant with addictive effects similar to that of meth. While not everyone who uses Adderall develops an addiction, regular consumption of the drug, and increasing one’s dosage without prescription may significantly raise their chance of developing an addiction.

Long-term consumption of Adderall can lead to drug tolerance and dependence, making a user unable to function normally without it. The unnaturally high levels of dopamine production caused by Adderall play a key role in understanding an individual’s addiction to the drug. Those who have formed a dependence upon the drug depend on it to stimulate productivity and alertness. Leaving them feeling tired and mentally foggy without the drug.

Common Signs of Adderall Addiction Include:

  • The need for larger doses to feel the drug’s effects
  • Wanting to cut down on consumption, but being unable to do so
  • Taking the medication despite being aware of the harm it causes
  • Not being able to complete one’s work without Adderall
  • Spending a lot of time and money on getting, using, and recovering from the drug
  • Unable to stay alert without the drug
  • Neglecting other general or essential activities in favor of using Adderall
  • Suffering from withdrawal symptoms when not using Adderall

No one initially intends to become addicted to Adderall. In most cases, the issue begins as the user increases his/her dose in the hopes of increasing their level of productivity at work or school. Continuing to take Adderall in such a manner may lead to a full-blown addiction.

The severe withdrawal symptoms caused by Adderall addiction makes it difficult for users to quit on their own. The chances of weaning yourself off of Adderall are usually high with the help of a therapist at a medically supervised treatment center.


Is Adderall available?

Adderall is usually available at most pharmacies. However, patients require a prescription to purchase Adderall.

Is Adderall a fat burner?

Most medication used to treat ADHD such as amphetamine/dextroamphetamine (Adderall) and methylphenidate (Ritalin) can make you less hungry and makes the body burn calories faster. Thus, leading to weight loss.

Does Adderall cause UTI?

The frequent urination caused by a high Adderall usage can lead to a urinary tract infection.

Dependence Vs. Addiction

Adderall dependence is a natural physiological response of the body to the drug’s chemical interaction. Unfortunately, the unnatural levels of feel-good chemicals produced by this medication have resulted in the abuse of Adderall. Those who abuse Adderall are not psychologically dependent upon the drug to function day-to-day. Instead, they are simply chasing the “high.”

Adderall addiction depends on a person’s physical and psychological reliance upon the drug. Those struggling with an Adderall addiction may find themselves unable to stop on their own accord. Medical treatment will be required for those who wish to quit this substance.

Adderall Effects and Abuse

A common misconception made by most users of Adderall is the assumption that the drug is safe for consumption since it was prescribed by a doctor. However, the continuous cycle of Adderall abuse can push users to develop long-term side effects and an addiction that can be hard to free oneself from.

Most people tend to abuse Adderall as it produces feelings of euphoria, confidence, increased concentration, and a suppressed appetite. This condition makes Adderall the ideal choice for anyone searching for a boost in physical/mental performance.

Adderall abuse occurs when users start taking the drug without a proper prescription or in a manner not instructed by a doctor. This includes habits like snorting or taking larger doses of the medication to receive a stronger boost.

Common Drug Combinations

Many users combine Adderall with other drugs. Some may do this as an attempt to amplify the effects of Adderall, while others may take them to relax if Adderall is preventing them from sleeping. Combining Adderall with other drugs increases the risks of overdose and complications such as heart attack.

Here are a few drugs that are commonly-combined with Adderall:

The risk of alcohol poisoning is much higher for those who mix Adderall with alcohol. An Adderall user may not realize how much he/she has consumed, as the extra alertness produced by Adderall can hide the effects of severe alcohol intoxication.

Studies have also reported that students using Adderall are highly likely to abuse alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine.

Signs of Adderall Abuse

Adderall is an effective stimulant that many individuals abuse to increase alertness and productivity. Those who abuse Adderall do not look like a stereotypical drug user; instead, they are highly motivated individuals seeking to increase their level of performance.

General signs of Adderall abuse:

  • Overly talkative
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unusual excitability
  • Social withdrawal
  • Financial troubles
  • Aggression
  • Sleeping for longer periods
  • Secretive behavior
  • Exhaustion
  • Excessive weight loss
  • Memory loss
  • Incomplete thoughts
  • Relationship problems
  • A decline in personal hygiene
  • Frequently taking pills
  • Overworking/over concentrating
  • Running out of prescriptions before the due period
  • Disorientation
  • Mania
  • Impulsive actions


Does Adderall make you happy?

Adderall can instantly improve the mood, as it increases the levels of dopamine when consumed.

Does Adderall change your personality?

For some individuals, Adderall has a negative effect on the overall psychology and emotions. It can exacerbate anxiety, cause irritability, anger, rage, and grandiosity.

Does Adderall make you lose hair?

One of the side effects of long-term Adderall use include thinning and loss of hair.

Can Adderall help with anxiety?

Adderall can make you feel more anxious. Therefore it is not the medication of choice for those suffering from anxiety.

Side Effects and Dangers of Adderall (Prescription Amphetamines)

Although Adderall is widely prescribed for children struggling with ADHD, the abuse of Adderall can lead to serious and fatal side effects, as it is a strong stimulant. Overdose is considered one of the worst side effects of Adderall abuse, which can lead to heart attack, stroke, and liver failure. The chances of a fatal overdose are higher when Adderall is taken with other substances, such as alcohol.

It is reported that some drug users inject Adderall directly into their bloodstream to feel a greater “high.” While Injecting the drug may provide a more intense high, it also increases the chances of an overdose that may lead to death.

As Adderall causes physical changes in the brain’s neurocircuitry, Adderall abuse can also lead to altered behaviors and the gradual development of mental disorders like depression. Long-term prolonged Adderall abuse can also lead to suicidal thoughts.

Since 1968, the International Olympic Committee had banned Adderall and other Amphetamines when certain athletes who consumed the drug died from heat stroke and cardiac arrest.

Mentioned below is a list containing some of the side effects of Adderall abuse:

  • Convulsions
  • Paranoia
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Hallucinations
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Dry mouth
  • Lack or loss of strength
  • Weight loss
  • Constipation
  • A false sense of well-being
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Lower back or side pain
  • Twitching
  • Seizures
  • Peeling skin


Does Adderall age your face?

Amphetamines can speed up the aging process of a user’s skin. Since Adderall belong to the Amphetamine drug group, this medication may have a similar effect on the skin, heart, and cardiovascular system.

Why do I pee a lot on Adderall?

As an amphetamine the chemical make up of Adderall include ammonium chloride and sodium acid phosphate, all of which could make you pee more often.

Does Adderall make it hard to breathe?

Some of the serious side effects of Adderall may include shortness of breath, difficulty in breathing, or fainting. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

Why does Adderall make my chest tight?

Adderall stimulates the brain at a faster rate. This includes the stimulation of the brain region responsible for heart rate. This increase in heart rate may feel like chest pain.

Does Adderall calm you down?

Adderall typically tends to make people energetic. However, it can have a calming effect on patients diagnosed with ADHD.

Snorting Adderall

Crushing up Adderall pills to snort is common among users who expect immediate effects. Though snorting Adderall leads to a more intense “high,” it also has its own adverse side effects.

Damages to the nasal and sinus cavities are such adverse side effects. When one continues to take Adderall in this manner, these damages worsen over time. Adderall side effects, such as irregular heartbeat, are amplified by snorting. The chances of overdose are also high when the user consumes the drug in this manner.

Intervention and Next Steps

Interventions are considered to be a great step for friends and family to persuade and help convince someone struggling with an addiction to seek help. Interventions are carefully and wisely planned meetings between loved ones and the individual struggling with the addiction. Though it may sound like a drastic approach, staging an intervention for someone who has an Adderall problem could save their life as most who abuse this drug are unaware of their addiction.

If needed, the help of an intervention specialist is always available to help you find the right words to convey. They will also outline the consequences just in case if the addict doesn’t accept treatment. It is vital to plan out a worst-case scenario as Adderall addicts may become violent or self-destructive.

What is Adderall Withdrawal?

The prolonged use of Adderall can result in the development of tolerance and dependence on the drug. Requiring users to consume larger and more frequent doses to get the same effects as before. Those who develop a tolerance to the drug find it difficult to think and function without it.

These are generally the first stages of withdrawal. Adderall withdrawal is a result of the human body resetting and adapting itself to function without the drug. Withdrawal symptoms generally affect those with severe and prolonged Adderall dependence. Even though withdrawal symptoms are rarely dangerous on its own, in some rare cases, it can cause suicidal thoughts.

Symptoms of Withdrawal

The symptoms of Adderall withdrawal are the exact opposite effects of the drug. Adderall increases concentration, euphoria, and energy. However, the withdrawal that follows after a person decided to stop consumption of the drug results in a complete reversal of these effects. Users who have developed a high tolerance level for Adderall generally end up having a more severe withdrawal than others.

Some of the common withdrawal symptoms are:

  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Oversleeping
  • Insomnia
  • Increased appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Nightmares
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Achiness
  • Anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts

Duration of Withdrawal

The duration of withdrawal differs from person to person. While some may feel these symptoms for three weeks or longer, some may stop feeling them in just five days. The dosage, the frequency, and the time period of consumption are all factors that determine the duration of withdrawal.

Prolonged Withdrawal Symptoms

Adderall Vs. Adderall XR

Adderall can be categorized into two types: instant release and extended-release. Regular Adderall is considered as an instant release drug that can last up to six hours. However, Adderall XR (extended-release) is meant for a much longer period of time.

The duration of withdrawal varies for both these drugs. Regular Adderall works immediately, while its effects fade off in several hours. However, Adderall XR builds up and remains in the body for a much longer period. Users of regular Adderall experience withdrawal symptoms sooner than users of Adderall XR. This is because the body takes a longer period to detox Adderall XR than regular Adderall.

Adderall Withdrawal Timeline

Days 3-5

Symptoms may escalate within the first week, and intense feelings of irritability, exhaustion, and tiredness are common. Patients may also experience insomnia and nightmares. This is generally the peak of withdrawal severity.

Days 5-7

The symptoms of withdrawal tend to disappear after five days. Some people feel moody and unable to function normally in social environments, but they will begin to feel healthier during this period. Minor psychological symptoms, such as mild depression, can persist during this time but are much less severe.

Weeks 3-4

In certain cases, patients with severe addiction may experience the symptoms of withdrawal from Adderall weeks after their last dosage. This usually affects those with a high threshold and for those who have been using Adderall for over a year.

Adderall Detox

The process of removing the drug from the user’s system is known as detox. Once Adderall has left the body, the symptoms of withdrawal begin. Some users need help during detox, as these withdrawal symptoms can make it difficult to carry out daily activities without a relapse.

Detox for Adderall generally involves the tapering down strategy, where a person’s dose is gradually reduced over time to reduce the symptoms of withdrawal. Adderall users who need help to reduce their doses can seek the guidance of addiction specialists at inpatient rehabs. Those who wish to quit their addiction without the assistance of any medication must also seek help from counselors or rehabs to avoid relapses.

Treating an Adderall Addiction

Even though it may seem difficult in the beginning, it is possible to overcome Adderall addiction with the right treatment. Adderall addiction is treated by simply helping the user adapt to live and carry out daily activities without the influence of the drug. Since Adderall is an addictive central nervous system stimulant, the initial challenge would be the careful handling of withdrawal symptoms, relapse triggers, and other warning signs. A recognized treatment center can provide professional help and monitor a patient’s detox as conditions like fatigue, inability to concentrate, and depression pose a challenge in maintaining sobriety.

Once the drug is removed from the user’s body, ongoing therapy and support would become vital in maintaining sobriety. Exploring the root cause of the addiction is critical in any addiction treatment. This is the same when it comes to treating Adderall addiction. Talking to a counselor can help one identify his/her own underlying issues and build awareness on one’s social, professional, academic, or personal trigger points. These trigger points are the factors that usually push a person towards an Adderall addiction. Counseling with a trained therapist can help users recognize these feelings and help them find healthy ways to work through and overcome such feelings.

Top Adderall Rehabs

A majority of rehabs in America have high success rates in treating Adderall addiction. However, every treatment center has its own unique specialties. While some centers may offer a luxurious setting, others may have a tough-love approach to their residents. It is absolutely vital to select a treatment center that best suits your needs and requirements to give you the best chance possible to overcome this addiction.

Inpatient Rehab

Inpatient rehabs are recommended for users struggling with moderate to severe addiction to Adderall. This treatment is also best for those who are struggling with more than one addiction. Inpatient rehab can last from anywhere between 28 to even 90 days. The length of time varies between every user and treatment provider. Users with a severe addiction generally require a longer stay in rehab. Therefore, the level of need required usually determines the level of treatment that is provided.

Providing a safe and controlled environment free from any factors that may trigger a person back into Adderall use is one of the best features of a rehab center. In addition to this, Inpatient rehabs provide a relatively strict daily routine to its residents that include individual therapy, process groups, psychoeducation, support meetings, mealtimes, free time, exercise, family visits, and group activities. Therapeutic value is endorsed throughout the treatment. Rehabs that offer detox try to prevent any complications as a result of co-existing health conditions during the detox period by having physicians and nurses on staff available.

12-step programs, Cognitive-behavioral therapy, Dialectical behavior therapy, and Holistic therapy are few other approaches to treatment offered in a rehab.

Identifying the underlying root cause of the addiction is vital in treatment. To achieve this, one on one counseling is a key feature in most inpatient rehab centers. These counseling sessions provide individual and personal attention to help an individual recognize and be aware of the underlying issues that are influencing their addiction.

Ongoing Treatment

It is essential to continue treatment even after quitting Adderall. While some may seek individual therapy, others choose to join a 12-step group like Narcotics Anonymous. In addition to this, Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a useful tool to teach Adderall addicts how to identify scenarios that may trigger the temptation/urge to use and how to avoid or cope with such situations. According to clinical research, it is reported that CBT has a positive impact on people who are recovering from an addiction to amphetamines like Adderall. However, it is also reported that those who don’t involve themselves in CBT or any other type of therapy after rehab are less likely to achieve a long-lasting recovery.

Here are a few tips that have helped former Adderall addicts maintain sobriety:

  • Stay healthy: Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy diet are important aspects of productivity. Being healthy helps keep people alert and focused. Getting proper sleep is vital to one’s health and well-being.
  • Know your triggers: There are many factors, situations, or even people that can trigger your urge for the drug. Being aware of what incites a craving helps you prepare for inevitable temptations.
  • Take a break: When the temptation to use Adderall tries to overcome you, taking a break sometimes helps you. Stepping away from a stressful project or situation for 15 to 30 minutes can be necessary for the cravings to subside.

Treatment for Adderall Addiction

Recent years have shown an increase in people deciding to get treatment for their Adderall addiction. Most Adderall rehabs offer financing options to make treatments more affordable for their patients. In addition, there are many other forms of financial assistance programs available to those who are finding it difficult to pay for treatment. As a result of these programs finding treatment for Adderall addiction has now become a possibility for everyone.

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