Understanding Adderall Addiction

Understanding Adderall Addiction

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Adderall use has grown in popularity among many students in recent years. In fact, a study from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health says that college students between the ages of 18-22 are twice as likely to misuse Adderall as those who are not in college. 1 This rise in Adderall misuse is concerning due to its propensity to lead to addiction, overdose, and death.

Adderall misuse can cause serious harm, and lead users down a road of addiction that they struggle to break free from. Learning about the dangers of Adderall addiction can help you prevent or avoid falling victim to this addictive prescription.

What Is Adderall?

Most people recognize Adderall as a prescription drug that is used to treat ADHD, narcolepsy, and even obesity. It is made from a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, both of which stimulate your central nervous system. 2 Adderall works by activating your brain’s ‘reward system’ and produces additional amounts of norepinephrine and dopamine which can give you feelings of euphoria. 2

Why Is Adderall Commonly Misused?

It is commonly used by college students so that they can focus better on their studies. Research, however, does not indicate that it is helpful if you do not have ADHD. It does activate the part of your brain that is responsible for executive function, so it can make you feel like studying longer. Since it is a stimulant, it also helps you stay awake longer. Once you begin using Adderall frequently, you can develop a dependence on it very quickly. This means you’ll start going through withdrawals if you don’t keep taking it— just like any other habit-forming substance. Many students find that they are surprised by how quickly they become dependent on Adderall, oftentimes without even realizing it.

Continued after infographic:

Understanding Adderall Addiction (Infographic)

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Adderall Addiction?

Since Adderall affects the reward center of your brain, it is highly addictive and considered a Schedule II drug. When you take Adderall, you may experience a feeling of euphoria or extreme happiness. When the Adderall begins to wear off, you begin to feel worse than before. It can leave you feeling tired and irritable. When this happens, you may begin to continue taking it or take more and more of it to ward off those feelings. This is how Adderall addiction slowly begins. Below are more signs and symptoms that you are misusing or are addicted to Adderall:

  • Using someone else’s prescription
  • Taking more than you are prescribed
  • Smoking, snorting, or injecting the drug
  • Taking it to try and improve your mood or keep up with your studies
  • Using it to avoid feeling sick
  • You have intense cravings for it
  • You feel like you can’t quit taking it, even if you want to
  • If you are low or out of the drug, you feel panicked and anxious
  • You spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to get more of it

What Are the Dangers of Adderall Addiction?

Stimulant drugs are known to sometimes increase your blood pressure and heart rate, even when taken as directed. So, if not taken under the care of your physician, Adderall can cause you to experience an increased resting heart rate and blood pressure as well as other dangerous symptoms, including: 3

  • Muscle pain and weakness
  • Restlessness
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Chest Pain
  • Heart Attack
  • Intense feelings of anger or aggression
  • Hallucinations and/or psychosis
  • Coma
  • Death

Since Adderall is a controlled substance, you should only take it under the care of a medical professional. The lethal dosage of Adderall varies widely from person to person, so what may be fine for your friend could be enough to cause you serious harm and even death. 4

Furthermore, Adderall also reacts negatively with a number of commonly used prescriptions and over the counter drugs. Medications like Paxil, Prozac, and Wellbutrin are known to react negatively with Adderall.

Treatment for Adderall Addiction

Fortunately, if you are suffering from an addiction to Adderall, you have options. First, a safe medical detox is required so that you can comfortably rid your body of the drug. After you’ve undergone detox, you should begin an inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation program to help you understand how to avoid falling back into your addiction. A rehabilitation program will also teach you healthier coping strategies so that you no longer feel as though you need Adderall to feel happy or content with your life.

Overcome Addiction at Ocean Hills Recovery

At Ocean Hills Recovery, we understand the pain and suffering you’ve been experiencing throughout your addiction. Our detox centers and rehabilitation programs are designed to help you feel safe and healthy while you relearn who you are and how to navigate through life without drugs. If you have questions or are ready to get started, please contact us today.


[1] https://drugfree.org/drug-and-alcohol-news/college-students-more-likely-to-misuse-Adderall-study-finds/

[2] https://www.webmd.com/drug-medication/qa/is-Adderall-addictive

[3] https://www.webmd.com/drug-medication/Adderall-abuse-addiction-signs#2

[4] https://www.healthline.com/health/can-you-overdose-on-adderall#prescribed-dosage

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