Side Effects of Adderall Abuse & Seeking Help for Adderall Addiction
Adderall is a prescription amphetamine used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. However, Adderall’s ability to increase alertness, focus, and energy puts it at an elevated risk of misuse. Some refer to Adderall as a “study drug,” but Adderall can be extremely dangerous when used recreationally. Some of the primary side effects of Adderall abuse include drug cravings, impulsive behavior, and even changes to a person’s mental health.
What Are the Side Effects of Adderall?
All drugs have known side effects that can occur regardless of a doctor’s supervision. These side effects tend to be the most well-understood by healthcare providers because they are seen in most or all patients who are taking Adderall for a legitimate medical reason.
Because Adderall is a stimulant, it tends to cause side effects like:
- Being more sociable and talkative
- High blood pressure
- High blood sugar
- Dry mouth
- Rapid breathing
- Rapid heart rate
- Muscle pain and weakness
- Sense of restlessness
It’s important to note that these side effects of Adderall are generally considered tolerable and they do not outweigh the benefits of taking Adderall for its prescribed purpose. However, in instances of Adderall abuse, higher doses can worsen these side effects and create new ones, posing a potentially life-threatening situation.
Additionally, while Adderall has been closely studied for how it affects people with ADHD, narcolepsy, PTSD, and similar conditions, it acts differently on the brains of neurotypical individuals. An individual without these conditions might experience additional side effects, including memory loss and changes to their personality. These are all signs of drug abuse that you should watch for, especially among college-aged adults.
What Are the Short-Term Side Effects of Adderall Abuse?
Since Adderall abuse is marked by taking more Adderall than prescribed or taking the drug without a prescription, typically in high doses, the short-term side effects of Adderall abuse can be intense. Prescription stimulants are known for their ability to increase alertness and focus, but large amounts of Adderall can lead to side effects like:
- Feeling high-strung, restless, and anxious
- Paranoia and psychosis (seeing, feeling, or hearing things that aren’t there)
- Changes in personality (talking more, talking faster, feeling invincible)
- Aggressive behavior
- Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
- Changes in appetite
The short-termside effects of a drug like Adderall can be tough to detect, especially since the initial side effects may seem positive (i.e., feeling more social and energetic). However, as time goes on and a person begins taking more Adderall and/or taking it more frequently, the long-term side effects will begin to show.
What Are the Long-Term Side Effects of Adderall Abuse?
The long-term side effects of Adderall abuse get progressively worse as an individual takes more of the drug and takes it more often, such as:
- Digestive upset
- Heart disease
- Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, which contributes to general fatigue
- Inability to concentrate on important tasks
- Depression and thoughts of suicide
- Mood swings and irritability
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Paranoia and hallucinations
- Aggression and changes in behavior
- Changes in appetite and weight loss
Adderall forces the body to function at an increased rate, which is helpful for someone suffering from narcolepsy or a similar disorder but can be deadly in the long term for someone abusing the drug. Pay close attention to your friends and family, and if you begin to see any of these long-term Adderall side effects, take the time to assess them for potential abuse.
Do you need help identifying the signs of drug use? If you believe you or a loved one are suffering from a substance use disorder, we can help. Contact Zinnia Health on our website or by calling (855) 430-9439.
Signs and Symptoms of Adderall Abuse
College students and young adults are particularly prone to Adderall abuse because it is often marketed as a “study drug” that will help them focus better. Adderall is also promoted as a social drug, which can help a person feel more outgoing, energetic, and talkative. These side effects can make an individual feel like they’re getting more out of life as they begin taking Adderall, but the positive effects are short-lived.
The more a person takes Adderall, the higher overall dose they will need to feel the same effects as before. This phenomenon is known as drug tolerance. As a person increases their dose, they’re at an increased risk of Adderall overdose and they will begin to experience dependence. Once dependence forms, the side effects of Adderall abuse tend to be obvious.
- An individual may show less interest in the activities they used to enjoy.
- They may spend more time alone and avoid social settings.
- Work and school performance may begin to suffer.
- Changes in their mood and behavior will grow more noticeable as they become more anxious and/or aggressive.
These side effects won’t disappear if someone stops taking Adderall after abusing it for some time. Instead, they will face another set of Adderall withdrawal symptoms, which can last for weeks after someone stops taking a drug. The withdrawal period is one of the toughest parts of recovery, which is why seeking help from a substance abuse treatment center is critical for helping your loved one through their situation.
Get Help With a Substance Use Disorder
Adderall abuse is no joke. With its ability to impact heart health, mood, and behavior, Adderall abuse requires specialized addiction treatment to ensure that an individual is fully recovered and able to return to a healthy life. Treatment facilities often include a combination of group therapy, talk therapy, and behavioral health designed to identify the initial use of Adderall and help an individual recover from all aspects of Adderall misuse.
If you fear that a loved one is using Adderall or another substance, you need a trusted team on your side to guide you through these times.