Adderall Abuse Side Effects Adderall is a prescription medication generally used to treat adolescents and children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a disorder characterized by trouble focusing, hyperactivity and impulsivity. Unfortunately, due to the increased focus, euphoria and other stimulant effects users experience, Adderall is often abused.

Prescription drug abuse is defined as using drugs outside of a prescription or other than the way they were prescribed. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that in people over the age of 12, as many as 52 million had abused prescription drugs at some point in their lives. Methods of abuse may differ, varying from prescription diversion to crushing and snorting the drug, all of which are dangerous.

man experiencing side effects of adderall addiction

Short-Term Health Risks

Central nervous system stimulant drugs increase heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature, and decrease appetite and the need for sleep. Adderall contains amphetamine and dextroamphetamine and works by affecting the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is responsible for pleasure and attention.

Adderall is often abused by students as a type of so-called “smart drug” as well as a weight-loss stimulant. It is cheap and easy to come by, and many harbor the misconception that it is a safe drug to abuse. Adderall abuse can lead to tolerance, and the user may need to take more and more of the drug in order to obtain the desired effect. This is a slippery slope that can slide right into drug dependency or addiction.

Short-term side effects of Adderall abuse may include:

  • Restlessness
  • Nervousness
  • Dizziness
  • Shaking
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Stomach pain and/or nausea

More serious side effects include aggression, seizures, hallucinations, mania, chest pain, shortness of breath, irregular heart rate, paranoia, and blurred vision. Adderall abuse can also lead to a potentially life-threatening overdose indicated by tremors, confusion, hallucinations, restlessness, panic, vomiting, cardiac arrhythmia, hypertension, or convulsions. These symptoms are often followed by depression and extreme fatigue. If you suspect an Adderall overdose, seek immediate medical attention as it can lead to coma, irreversible brain damage, and even death.

Long-Term Side Effects

Chronic abusers of Adderall risk additional health concerns. Long-term abuse can actually lead to diminished cognitive functions such as a lack of motivation, trouble with concentration, and a foggy feeling.

Additionally, dependence or addiction to Adderall can cause vicious withdrawal symptoms when the drug is removed, including:

  • Hostility and/or anger
  • Restlessness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Change in appetite
  • Cravings
  • Depression
  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Psychosis
  • Vivid dreams
  • Hallucinations
  • Suicidal thoughts

These symptoms can last a few days, a few weeks, or even a few months, depending on your level of dependence, dosage amount, length of time abusing the drug, and personal physiology. Detoxing from Adderall can be difficult and should be managed professionally, with the help of consulting physicians.

Getting Help

Prescription drug abuse and Adderall abuse seem to be on the rise. The CDC reported that in 2011, 8.2 million people over the age of 12 had abused Adderall in their lifetime, which is almost double the 4.7 million reported in 2006. Adderall abuse can be dangerous and even deadly if left unmanaged and untreated. Adderall is also often mixed with other substances like alcohol, which can greatly increase its risk factors.

If you, or your loved one, suffer from Adderall abuse or addiction, Michael’s House can help. Our serene and private location offers comprehensive, integrated, and evidence-based treatment models. Compassionate admission coordinators are standing by, ready to help you, or your loved one, start a unique journey towards recovery. Call us now at 760-548-4032.

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