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  • Adderall Addiction: Symptoms of Abuse

    Adderall Addiction

    Adderall Abuse Quick Facts

    Adderall is very addictive. It is an amphetamine medication classified as a Schedule II Controlled Substance. This means that it is a powerful stimulant with a very high potential for addiction. Adderall is also commonly used recreationally, and the lack of regular dosage in recreational use increases the likelihood of Adderall addiction.

    What are the symptoms of Adderall abuse?

    Symptoms of Adderall abuse include:

    • Loss of appetite and weight loss
    • Financial troubles to due Adderall purchases
    • Aggression
    • Sudden excitement
    • Being unusually talkative
    • Social withdrawal
    • Sleeping for atypical extended periods of time
    • Secretive behavior

    How is Adderall abused?

    Adderall is abused by many different kinds of people, including teens, students, professionals, athletes, mothers, and those with eating disorders. Reasons for abuse typically involve a desire for increased productivity, weight loss, or recreational use.

    Adderall is often paired with other drugs, which is extremely dangerous.

    About Adderall

    Adderall is an amphetamine medication often used in Canada and the United States. Doctors prescribe Adderall to treat children’s attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or narcolepsy. Because it is so often prescribed, many are led to believe that Adderall is a safe substance and does not require precaution. In reality, if taken without medical guidance Adderall can be habit-forming and have dangerous side effects.

    Adderall is a powerful stimulant and considered a schedule II controlled substance. That means that it has a high potential for addiction. The drug is known under the following street names: Addys, Beans, Black Beauties, Dexies, Double Trouble, Pep pills, Speed, or Uppers, among others.

    Who Uses Adderall and Why?

    The primary reason to use Adderall is for its prescribed purpose: calming ADHD symptoms and counteracting fatigue. However, Adderall also has a number of illicit purposes:

    Performance improvement. Adderall has several effects that can people use to boost their intellectual or physical abilities:

    • Clearer thinking
    • Increase of focus and concentration
    • Better study skills and motivation
    • Staying awake and being able to study or practice longer

    Eating disorders. People with mental health issues and disrupted body image might seek some side effects of Adderall on purpose:

    • Suppression of appetite
    • Weight loss


    • Feeling of wellbeing and happiness
    • Confidence and sometimes euphoria
    • Enhanced social abilities
    • Increase of satisfaction


    Who Are Typical Adderall Users?

    The number of prescriptions for Adderall has increased by almost five times in the last 15 years. In 2012, 16 million prescriptions for Adderall were written, and over 116,000 people went to rehab for treatment related to Adderall abuse.

    Teenagers. 20% of teens using Adderall have obtained prescriptions from their doctor. The remaining 80% of these teens received it without a prescription, most likely from friends or acquaintances. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse and Health, over 7% of high school seniors used Adderall for non-medical purposes in 2015.

    College students. 6% of college students between the ages of18 and 22 use Adderall for recreation. Among those that reported Adderall use, nearly 90% also engage in binge drinking. Full-time college students are three times more likely to use marijuana and eight times to use other prescription tranquilizers than their age-matched peers that are not in college.

    Professionals. Similarly to students, some professionals use Adderall to increase their productivity.

    Athletes. Adderall is also the stimulant of choice for athletes. In 2012, the National Football League suspended the highest number of players for Adderall abuse. The International Olympic Committee banned the drug in 1968.

    People with eating disorders. One of the side effects of taking Adderall is weight loss and appetite suppression. It is often used as an aid for those that are attempting to lose weight quickly.

    Mothers. More and more women are reporting abusing Adderall to keep up with the responsibilities of motherhood.

    Adderall Consumption

    The drug is available in two forms: immediate release and extended release.

    The typical dose ranges from 2.5-60 milligrams per day, divided in up to three administrations. It is available in tablets and is intended for oral ingestion. But people seeking recreational effects sometimes crush the tablets and snort Adderall powder for immediate results.

    Combination with Other Drugs

    In 2009, over 2/3 of people admitted to emergency rooms because of Adderall abuse had other drugs in their systems. The three most frequently paired substances are alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine.

    Some people mix these drugs to enhance effects of all the ingested drugs, and others take Adderall in an attempt to relax during a hangover.

    In any case, combining Adderall with other drugs can result in dangerous complications:

    • Heart attack. The heart can be overstimulated from the effects of combining Adderall and other stimulants such as cocaine.
    • Overdose, and especially alcohol poisoning. While alcohol decreases alertness, Adderall increases it. As a result, people may fail to realize their level of intoxication and ignore normal signs that the body is approaching alcohol poisoning.

    Is Adderall Addictive?

    Adderall is an amphetamine, a class of stimulant that is potentially addictive.

    Falling into the trap of Adderall addiction is quite easy. Many think that it is not dangerous to use without prescription merely because it is legal. Adderall increases dopamine levels in the brain, which is responsible for euphoric feelings and pleasure. When its levels are unnaturally and suddenly raised by Adderall, the brain adjusts to and craves to that high level of reward. After enough use, the brain is dependent on external sources for dopamine rushes. That is when people start to become physically dependent and, following that, psychologically addicted.

    These are common signs of Adderall addiction:

    • Needing the drug to concentrate
    • Not being able to study and work efficiently without Adderall
    • Spending large amounts of money to get the substance
    • Using the drug despite knowing the harmful consequences
    • Needing to take larger and larger doses
    • Using other people to obtain prescriptions

    Signs of Adderall Addiction and Abuse

    Not everyone who abuses Adderall is immediately addicted. It is crucial to be able to recognize signs of misuse and to take appropriate steps to prevent addiction.

    Symptoms of Adderall abuse include:

    • Loss of appetite and weight loss
    • Financial troubles to due Adderall purchases
    • Aggression
    • Sudden excitement
    • Being unusually talkative
    • Social withdrawal
    • Sleeping for atypical extended periods of time
    • Secretive behavior

    Bottom Line

    Although Adderall is a recognized for its addictive potential, not all users become addicted. Unlike other drugs, most users do not intend to take it for recreational purposes, but to be more efficient in their daily life. That doesn’t make it any less alarming. The lack of stigma makes Adderall use even more accessible.

    Some people think that they have good reasons for taking it, but they are playing a dangerous game. While it might seem stimulating and pleasant in the first stages, side effects of Adderall abuse will inevitably kick in.

    The key is to recognize signs of Adderall addiction or abuse and to learn to live without it