Adderall Abuse: Effects, Signs & Symptoms

Adderall Abuse: Effects, Signs & SymptomsAdderall is a prescription medication that is a mix of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, potent stimulants that increase activity in the central nervous system. It is largely used to treat ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, in both children and adults, but it is also a schedule II controlled substance because it has a high potential for abuse and because misuse can lead to dependence.1

Misuse of Adderall is not uncommon, and if you are struggling to stop using this drug it is possible you have developed a substance use disorder, or an addiction. According to a recent federal government study, five million U.S. adults have abused prescription stimulants and nearly half a million have developed an addiction to Adderall or similar drugs.2 This addiction can be overcome, but you or someone you care about who is struggling to stop use will need a professional evaluation and structured treatment.

Symptoms and Side Effects of Adderall Abuse

Adderall is a stimulant. It increases heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, wakefulness and energy levels. One sign you may see in someone who you are concerned is abusing or has become addicted to Adderall is regular or frequent intoxication. The effects of intoxication include:3

  • Increased confidence and energy
  • Restlessness and alertness
  • Unusual behavioral changes, including aggression
  • Jumbled, rapid speech and racing thoughts
  • Anxiety or paranoia
  • Confusion, delusions or hallucinations
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased temperature, heart rate and blood pressure
  • Nausea, vomiting, weight loss
  • Insomnia
  • Depression as the high tapers off

Signs of Abuse

There are many reasons people turn to Adderall as a substance of abuse. You may have started misusing this drug to stay awake to study or because you hoped for better performance at work. You may have needed to stay up late or you wanted the drug to help you lose weight. Unfortunately, there are some very serious risks of using Adderall for reasons other than what it is prescribed for. Here are some signs that your use Adderall has gotten out of control. These signs indicate that you may have become dependent on it:

  • Using more of the drug than you intended and try to cut back but fail repeatedly.
  • You crave the drug when not using it.
  • You spend a lot of time and energy trying to get more Adderall.
  • Responsibilities at home, work or school are not being met .
  • Relationships with those you care about are getting damaged, but you keep using anyway.
  • Use of Adderall is causing health problems. This may include worsening heart conditions and depression.
  • You have used Adderall in dangerous situations more than once.
  • You have given up activities you once enjoyed to spend more time using.
  • As you continue to use Adderall you have found that you need larger and larger doses to get the effect you want.
  • When you are not using Adderall you experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

If you recognize even one or two of these behaviors in yourself or someone else, there is cause for concern. Only a mental health professional can diagnose you with a stimulant use disorder. It is important to seek out that evaluation so you can get help if necessary.

Reach Out For Help

We provide holistic care and treatment using an individualized approach specifically tailored to your needs. Secondly, we help you lead a healthy, substance-free life with adaptive coping and problem-solving skills. Contact us today for more information on our certified staff of professionals, as well as our first-rate facilities.

  1. United States Drug Enforcement Administration. Drug Scheduling.
    https://www.dea.gov/drug-scheduling
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Five Million American Adults Misusing Prescription Stimulants.
    https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/2018/04/five-million-american-adults-misusing-prescription-stimulants
  3. Mayo Clinic. Drug Addiction.
    https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/2018/04/five-million-american-adults-misusing-prescription-stimulants
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