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The Effects of Adderall Use

  1. Article Quick LinksPrint
  2. Short-Term Effects of Adderall
  3. Side Effects
  4. Long-Term Effects of Adderall
  5. Adderall Dependence
  6. Adderall Withdrawal Treatment

Woman looking at pills

Adderall is a form of amphetamine, legally used in a limited number of countries, primarily the United States and Canada, for the treatment of:

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Narcolepsy.

It is available in 2 forms: instant release and extended release. Both forms are suitable for the treatment for ADHD, but only the instant release form is approved for use in the treatment of narcolepsy. Adderall has also been used unofficially for the treatment of obesity, severe depression, and sleep-related disorders.


Concerns Over Adderall Use

Even in countries where Adderall is legally available on prescription, it is recognized as a drug with a high potential for abuse, and supplies of it are often limited. Additionally there are concerns regarding the prescription of Adderall to children. For example, in the UK, physicians are advised to:

  • Refrain from prescribing Adderall to children under 5 years old in any circumstances
  • Prescribe it to children over 5 only if no other viable options are available.

In some countries, concerns over Adderall are so strong that it is banned completely, even for prescription use.

Adderall Effects question 1

Short-Term Effects of Adderall

Used for short periods, Adderall counteracts ADHD and narcolepsy by:

  • Upregulating the availability of certain neurotransmitters (chiefly, norepinephrine and dopamine).
  • Increasing the heart rate and the flow of blood to the muscles.

As a result of this, the use of Adderall can cause feelings of energy and invigoration, similar to the high experienced by cocaine users.

Adderall can also create feelings of euphoria, which has led to it becoming popular as a recreational drug. However, once this initial effect has worn off, Adderall users can feel:

  • Tired.
  • Depressed.
  • Irritable.

Rise of the Study Drug - Adderall and Similar Medications Increasingly Abused by Students

Users frequently report perceived improvements in focus and concentration, which has led to Adderall being used illegally as a study aid, as students often believe it will help their performance. It has also been reportedly used by athletes to improve sports performance, with a number of sporting bodies taking steps to limit its use strictly to athletes with a legitimate diagnosis of ADHD.To learn more about the abuse of Adderall as a study drug by college students and the impact, read our full in-depth article on The Rise of the Study Drug.

Adderall Effects question 2

Side Effects

The side effects of Adderall vary widely, depending on the individual. Adderall's effect on the body's heart rate can lead to cardiovascular problems, such as disrupted heart rhythm and increased blood pressure. Users may also experience loss of appetite, which can lead to excessive weight loss and related issues.

Other potential side effects include:

  • Headaches.
  • Dryness of the mouth.
  • Difficulty sleeping.

Mixing Adderall with Alcohol

In addition to the above, people who use Adderall as a recreational drug are at severe risk of further complications if they mix it with alcohol.

Due to the fact that Adderall counterbalances some of the common signs of excessive alcohol consumption, it is very easy to succumb to alcohol poisoning without noticing the signs leading up to it.

There are further complications possible if Adderall and alcohol are mixed. For example:

  • Both Adderall and alcohol have dehydrating properties.
  • Alcohol is a depressant, which can aggravate the psychological issues associated with the withdrawal from Adderall.

Adderall Effects question 3

Long-Term Effects of Adderall

Using Adderall over an extended period can increase the risk of critical cardiovascular problems and strokes. There are also significant mental health issues associated with the long-term use of Adderall, such as:

  • Depression.
  • Hostility.
  • Paranoia.

In children, protracted use of Adderall may inhibit growth.

To help an Adderall addict, call 1-800-943-0566 to speak confidentially to discuss treatment options.

Adderall Effects question 4

Adderall Dependence

Dependence on Adderall can be:

  • Psychological.
  • Physical.

Psychological dependence occurs when a person takes Adderall as part of a routine and using the drug becomes a subconscious habit. A person with a psychological dependence on Adderall may exhibit the physical effects of stress, such as headaches and sweat, if they are denied access to the drug when they believe that they need it.

As its name implies, psychological dependence may be addressed by using psychological techniques to persuade the user to change his or her pattern of behavior. This may include individual therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and/or other techniques.

drugabuse-istock42616680-depressed_teenAdderall Effects question 5

Physical dependence occurs when a user becomes accustomed to the presence of high levels of dopamine in the brain so that stopping the use of Adderall causes dopamine levels to drop suddenly, triggering withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • Depression.
  • Tiredness.
  • Either sleeping for extended periods or being unable to sleep at all.

As physical dependence develops, the user requires ever-increasing amounts to feel the same effects, which amplifies the side effects and increases the risk of overdose. 

Adderall Effects question 6

Am I Addicted?

The first step to recovery is understanding whether you have a problem. If you're unsure whether your use of Adderall has become an issue, take the test to assess your addiction level. This will help you understand your needs and treatment requirements.

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Adderall Withdrawal Treatment

At the current time, although there are no approved medications available to specifically assist users with the stimulant withdrawal process, it may be possible to use antidepressants to help with some of the psychological effects of Adderall withdrawal.

The physical effects of Adderall withdrawal include:

  • Fatigue.
  • Disorientation.
  • Increased appetite.

Additionally, many in withdrawal report intense cravings which, if unchecked, can lead to continued drug use.

While in most cases, stimulant withdrawal is not a medical emergency, it can be a quite difficult and uncomfortable time period. Many treatment centers provide supportive medical supervision throughout the duration of Adderall detox and withdrawal to minimize discomfort and ensure safety through the process.

If you think you may have a problem, don't wait. Addiction to Adderall can take a huge toll on your life. Find support in recovery today at 1-800-943-0566.

Need Help Understanding Your Addiction Treatment Options? Call 1-888-747-7155.