Josh Chandler | April 17, 2023

Adderall Side Effects

What Is Adderall?

Adderall is a type of prescription medication that is often prescribed to individuals who are diagnosed by a doctor to have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is a stimulant drug that works by stimulating the central nervous system. People with ADHD have brains with low dopamine function, so taking a stimulant medication can help with issues like hyperactive behavior and low attention spans. Adderall may create a calming sensation in some individuals, helping them stay organized and focused to get things done. There are also serious Adderall side effects that can arise when this medication is abused or taken for a long period of time, including physical dependence and addiction, which will require prescription drug rehab to overcome.

There is an ongoing myth that taking Adderall can help anybody stay awake and focused, and it is often misused by students in an attempt to study better and get smarter. The truth is that while this medication may boost attention and mood, it does not necessarily boost brain function or skills like memory retention or reading comprehension for people who do not medically need this drug.

Adderall is a Schedule II drug, meaning it has a high risk of drug abuse and addiction because it affects the dopamine levels in the brain. Anybody who takes Adderall should only do so under a doctor’s direct guidance and supervision. If Adderall is misused, especially if it is taken with other drugs or alcohol, it also causes a serious risk of a deadly overdose. If you believe you have symptoms of ADHD, it is best to speak with a doctor about your concerns, so they can prescribe you the correct medications and oversee your dosage to keep you safe.

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How Prevalent Is Adderall Usage?

Teens, young adults, and college students are often prescribed Adderall, and this age group is the most likely to abuse this medication. In 2015, Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review estimated that approximately 17% of college students had been misusing Adderall, whereas a recent study done by Ohio State University estimated that one in six students were abusing prescription stimulants. A 2021 study supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found that study drugs like Adderall were misused by 4% of older teens and young adults.

Most students aged 18 to 25 were abusing these medications for studying purposes, but there is also a social element to this medication that increases talkativeness, alertness, and energy, which may lead some individuals to begin taking these drugs at parties. Young people are also at a higher risk of social pressures and may misuse Adderall and other stimulant drugs like Dexedrine or Ritalin for weight loss purposes. At high doses or when combined with alcohol or other drugs, Adderall can be deadly, making education about the consequences of stimulant abuse important.

Adderall Addiction Side Effects

Is Adderall Addictive?

Yes, Adderall is a Schedule II medication with stimulant effects that are similar to methamphetamine (crystal meth). It affects the brain’s dopamine levels and the central nervous system, increasing dopamine, the body’s “feel-good” chemical, to an unnaturally high level. It also affects the body’s norepinephrine levels, which improves attention levels and the speed at which a person can react to external stimuli. Although not everyone who takes Adderall will develop an addiction to it, those who use it habitually or at un-prescribed doses will eventually develop a tolerance and will become unable to function normally without it, feeling foggy and tired.

Even a person who is prescribed Adderall may require a doctor’s help to stop use, as physical dependence will develop over time. This is different from an addiction, as a person with an addiction will have an additional psychological dependence, with urges, cravings, and compulsions to take the drug that they cannot ignore. Individuals with an Adderall addiction will experience a wide variety of Adderall side effects as they develop a psychological reliance on the medication, becoming unable to cope when they stop taking Adderall.

Learn about the early signs of Adderall addiction here:

9 Early Signs of Adderall Addiction

21 Adderall Side Effects

Some common Adderall side effects that come with abuse and addiction include:

  1. Memory issues
  2. Feeling disoriented
  3. Thinking incomplete thoughts
  4. Losing interest in personal hygiene
  5. Irregular heartbeat
  6. High blood pressure
  7. Constipation
  8. Convulsions
  9. Dizziness
  10. Excessive weight loss
  11. Twitching, tremors, or shaking
  12. Headaches
  13. Back or side pain
  14. Dry mouth
  15. Restlessness or an inability to sit still
  16. Personality changes
  17. Impotence
  18. Psychiatric issues
  19. Exhaustion
  20. Hallucinations
  21. Developing a substance use disorder

Adderall is not a harmless and risk-free study drug. It comes with various health concerns that worsen every time this drug is abused. Snorting or injecting the drug is an even more dangerous way to abuse this medication. Even taking this medication and performing activities like playing sports or going out dancing can raise your heart rate to dangerous levels.

Long-term effects of Adderall abuse include mental health issues and psychosis, heart attacks, strokes, circulation issues, malnutrition, abnormal heart rhythm, and coronary heart disease. If you have been misusing Adderall or other amphetamine drugs and cannot stop, it is safest to detoxify your system in a recovery program that includes a medical detox. Quitting cold turkey alone is not recommended for your safety, but due to the high probability of relapsing. A recovery program will give you the support, medical care, and help you need to overcome stimulant addiction safely and take control back over your life.

9 Signs It’s Time to Get Help with Adderall Abuse

Some signs that it may be time for you to seek help include the following:

  1. Feeling unable to function without taking Adderall
  2. Acting impulsively or showing signs of aggression or mania
  3. Feeling disoriented, having memory issues, and feeling exhausted
  4. Noticing withdrawal symptoms like mental health issues, fatigue, body aches, sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, and irritability when you try to cut back or quit
  5. Running out of your prescriptions early
  6. Withdrawing socially or losing interest in normal activities and hobbies
  7. Feeling worried when your prescription gets low
  8. Purchasing Adderall off the street or using other people’s prescriptions
  9. Continuing to abuse Adderall even when it causes relationship, financial, or health problems in your life

Muse Treatment Can Help You Overcome Adderall Side Effects and Abuse

At the Muse Treatment Center, our inpatient medical detox program can help relieve any Adderall side effects that you may be experiencing as your body slowly tapers off the medication. Our integrated programs are customized to suit each individual in treatment best. Our professional and caring team will ensure you are comfortable and safe, with the appropriate level of medical care, cognitive behavioral therapy, relapse prevention programming, education, and community support for your individual case.

We will provide you with the recovery tools and high levels of support you need to overcome the underlying causes of your substance use disorder for a profound change. Our interdisciplinary, holistic approach aims to heal your body, mind, and spirit, We have dual diagnosis programming available for those with co-occurring mental illness and a full continuum of care featuring inpatient and/or outpatient rehabilitation plans tailored to suit each person’s unique needs, budget, and preferences.

Please call Muse Treatment Center today at (800) 426-1818 to learn more about how we can help you achieve long-lasting recovery.

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Josh Chandler
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