Adderall Addiction — Abuse, Side Effects, And Signs And Symptoms

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D on November 11, 2020

Adderall is a drug that is often prescribed to individuals who have an attention deficit disorder, or certain sleep disorders like narcolepsy. This drug is commonly abused though to improve concentration, boost mood, and promote weight loss. Taking Adderall other than prescribed can lead to addiction and a variety of other dangerous side effects.

Adderall Abuse And Addiction

Adderall is a brand of the prescription drug, dextroamphetamine-amphetamine. It is commonly prescribed by doctors to treat attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or narcolepsy, a sleep disorder.

According to a research study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the non-medical use of Adderall is on the rise in recent years and has resulted in an increased number of emergency room visits.

Common forms of misuse of Adderall involve individuals taking the stimulant to improve concentration, help with weight loss, or to boost their energy levels and mood.

However, it is also possible for those who have been prescribed Adderall to abuse it and become addicted to the drug over time. This drug is highly addictive, and those who abuse it can develop a dependency on it.

Given that it is one of the most commonly prescribed amphetamines, individuals can easily access Adderall. Learn more about the harmful effects of abusing Adderall and how to seek treatment for Adderall addiction.

Adderall Addiction Vs. Adderall Abuse

After an individual has been taking Adderall under the supervision of a doctor for some time, it is natural for them to develop a dependence on it. This is something to discuss with a doctor, but Adderall dependency is not as severe as Adderall addiction.

Having an addiction to Adderall means that an individual obsesses over getting access to the drug and may not be able to function normally without it.

Adderall addiction occurs when a person abuses or misuses the drug. This includes taking another’s prescription, taking more than the recommended dosage, or taking Adderall in a way other than prescribed, such as snorting instead of ingesting.

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Adderall stimulates the central nervous system, which means that those who suffer from an addiction to Adderall may find it nearly impossible to stay alert and motivated without taking the drug in higher and higher dosages. Individuals should seek treatment for Adderall abuse so they can avoid misuse of the drug and developing an addiction.

While anyone who takes Adderall can be at risk of developing an addiction to the drug, those who take certain prescription medications, such as some antidepressants and blood thinners, may be more likely to develop an addiction to Adderall. Getting treatment for Adderall addiction is crucial for managing the withdrawal symptoms and staying on a path toward recovery.

What Are The Side Effects Of Adderall Abuse?

Abusing Adderall can affect a person in many ways. When a person who has troubles with sleep or concentration takes Adderall, the drug can help them to calm down, concentrate on everyday tasks, and enhance their focus. If someone is abusing Adderall, the drug may work similar to a stimulant and cause an array of physical and mental effects.

Side effects of Adderall abuse can include:

  • disrupted sleep habits
  • reduced appetite
  • increased anxiety
  • dry mouth
  • chest pain
  • disrupted vision

Taking Adderall in higher doses than prescribed or more frequently than intended to stay alert or improve one’s concentration can increase dependency on the drug.

It will take higher and higher doses to achieve the same effect on the central nervous system, known as tolerance. Those who abuse Adderall may also find that they are more likely to try other types of prescription stimulants to copy the effects of Adderall.

Signs And Symptoms Of Adderall Addiction

Addiction to Adderall involves taking the drug in higher doses than prescribed or more often than prescribed because the individual is dependent on the stimulation from the drug to function. An individual who suffers from an addiction to Adderall may become irritable or depressed when the effects of the drug wear off.

A person struggling with an addiction to Adderall may also show the following signs:

  • isolating themselves from friends and family
  • trying to purchase the drug illegally
  • spending lots of money buying more Adderall
  • crushing and snorting the drug to heighten its immediate effects
  • neglecting their responsibilities
  • suffering from paranoia

If an individual taking Adderall becomes desperate to get extra doses of the drug to function, this is a strong sign that they are suffering from an addiction.

The sooner that someone struggling with an addiction to Adderall seeks treatment, the more support they will have to endure the withdrawal symptoms and manage their daily life without relying on stimulants.

Does Adderall Abuse Lead To Withdrawal?

Unfortunately, abusing Adderall can have serious consequences when it comes to withdrawal symptoms.

An individual going through withdrawal symptoms after stopping use of Adderall may experience:

  • paranoia
  • insomnia
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • fatigue
  • irritability
  • high blood pressure
  • increased heart rate
  • restlessness
  • weight loss
  • suicidal thoughts
  • blurred vision
  • panic attacks

Managing withdrawal symptoms is extremely challenging for someone coming off Adderall. This is why it is best to withdraw under the supervision of a medical professional experienced in treating patients for addiction issues through a detox program.

For those who take other prescription drugs or have a complicated medical history, it is even more important to make sure that any attempts to detox from Adderall are done under the supervision of a medical professional.

Even after managing the withdrawal symptoms, someone struggling with an addiction to Adderall should still remain in a rehab program. It is incredibly easy to fall off the path to recovery and begin using Adderall again after making it through the detox period.

Following up with a proven Adderall addiction rehab program will ensure that the individual has the support and resources they need to continue working on their recovery past the detox stage.

Read more about detoxing from Adderall

Can You Overdose On Adderall?

Overdoses on Adderall are quite common, and they occur more frequently when Adderall is combined with other drugs or alcohol at the same time.

Some common signs of an Adderall overdose include:

  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • vomiting
  • severe chest pains
  • fever
  • rapid heart rate
  • sweating profusely
  • tremors
  • seizures
  • heart attack
  • fainting

Anyone experiencing an Adderall overdose or present while someone else may be experiencing one should call 911 immediately to seek medical help. Given that Adderall is closely linked with increasing one’s heart rate, failure to get medical assistance during an overdose could lead to death.

Mixing Adderall With Other Drugs

It is extremely dangerous to mix Adderall with other drugs or alcohol. Those who abuse Adderall commonly take it along with cannabis and alcohol.

The stimulant effects of Adderall usually mask the depressant effects of alcohol or marijuana. This is important to keep in mind because it makes it much easier to overdose on such substances while taking Adderall.

The major reason so many people who struggle with an addiction to Adderall mix it with alcohol is that alcohol can ease the anxiety that some people experience when taking Adderall.

Turning to alcohol to balance out the effects of Adderall is a serious sign that someone is suffering from a substance abuse problem or addiction to Adderall.

One of the typical consequences of mixing Adderall with other drugs is alcohol poisoning. The expected feeling of drowsiness that comes along with excessive drinking is diminished while also taking Adderall.

This means that an individual combining Adderall and alcohol is likely to consume more alcohol at once than their system can handle. Effective treatment programs for those suffering from an addiction to Adderall and other substances focus on treating the individual’s dependence on all substances.

Along with the health issues related to combining Adderall with other drugs, this behavior could also lead to poor decision-making and reckless behavior.

Learn more about mixing Adderall with other drugs by reading the following articles:

Someone who combines Adderall with other drugs or alcohol is more likely to engage in behavior that could endanger themselves or others. This can have life-changing consequences and complicate the recovery process even further.

Treatment Options For Adderall Abuse And Addiction

If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse issues, reach out to our team of treatment specialists to find out what rehab center options you can pursue.

Treatment specialists on our team have access to information about a variety of substance abuse treatment options and are ready to provide those struggling with addiction a list of rehab centers that could work for them. Call us today to gain access to valuable information about substance abuse treatment options.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D on November 11, 2020
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