Is Adderall Addictive?

Adderall is a prescription drug that is used to increase focus and alertness in people who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or certain sleep disorders. When misused or abused, taking Adderall can lead to tolerance, dependency, and addiction.

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Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS

on November 4, 2023

When Adderall is used as directed, it possesses a low risk for addiction. However, this is not the case when it is misused and abused, as it often is for recreational purposes.

Adderall is a popular brand name for the drug dextroamphetamine-amphetamine. It is most commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.

As a central nervous system stimulant, Adderall has the ability to increase energy, alertness, concentration, and focus, as well as to help people stay awake when needed.

Because of these characteristics, Adderall has been dubbed a “study drug” and has shown prominence among high school and college students.

Adderall is considered a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning it has a high potential for abuse leading to an Adderall dependence, and should be considered dangerous.

What Are The Signs Of Adderall Addiction?

Because Adderall has such high potential for abuse and addiction, people who are prescribed it, and particularly young adults, are usually monitored closely by their prescribing physician.

A person who has become addicted to Adderall will likely start to behave in a different manner that may be recognizable to their close loved ones.

They may start to show certain behaviors of addiction, and their physical appearance or characteristics may start to change as well.

Behavioral Signs

Some changes in behavior you may recognize in a person with an Adderall addiction:

  • taking Adderall without a prescription or after a prescription has ended
  • engaging in risky or illegal behaviors in order to obtain Adderall
  • taking Adderall at higher doses or more frequently than has been prescribed
  • snorting, smoking, injecting, or plugging Adderall
  • neglecting responsibilities
  • withdrawing from friends and family
  • acting secretively or lying about Adderall use

Physical Signs

Adderall abuse may also result in a number of physical symptoms.

Some physical signs of Adderall abuse may include:

  • dilated pupils
  • excessive talkativeness and sociability
  • restlessness
  • fast breathing
  • decreased appetite
  • skin picking and other skin disorders

What Side Effects Are Caused By Adderall Addiction?

While Adderall has been shown to be extremely effective in the treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy, it does come with potential negative side effects.

These side effects are usually mild when Adderall is taken as directed, but can be amplified significantly when the drug is abused and taken in larger doses.

Short-Term Side Effects

Immediately after misusing Adderall, you may experience a range of physical and psychological side effects.

Short-term side effects of abusing Adderall could include:

  • loss of appetite
  • insomnia
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • dry mouth
  • nausea with or without vomiting
  • headaches
  • shaking or tremors
  • sexual dysfunction
  • increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature

Long-Term Side Effects

Over time and with repeated misuse, you may start to see more dangerous effects as well.

Long-term dangers of abusing Adderall could include:

  • cardiovascular damage
  • weight loss
  • malnutrition
  • psychosis
  • physical dependence
  • loss of interest in sex
  • high blood pressure
  • increased risk of heart attack, stroke, hyperthermia, or sudden death

Does Adderall Addiction Lead To Withdrawal Symptoms?

Adderall addiction can lead to withdrawal symptoms, or a range of symptoms that start after a person tries to cease use of a drug they’re addicted to.

The longer a person has been abusing Adderall, the more severe their withdrawal symptoms may be. These symptoms typically begin within a few hours of the last dose taken.

Even a person who has been taking Adderall as directed by their physician may experience mild withdrawal symptoms.

The best thing that a person can do when ending their Adderall use is to taper off the drug slowly over time and under the supervision of medical professionals.

Adderall withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • fatigue
  • irritability and aggression
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • headaches
  • nightmares
  • problems focusing or concentrating
  • muscle aches
  • slowed reflexes
  • strong cravings
  • suicidal thoughts

Adderall withdrawal can significantly affect a person’s mental health due to the depletion of dopamine and norepinephrine they experience when ending use.

Addiction Treatment Options For Adderall Abuse

While professional addiction treatment is not required for an Adderall addiction, it can certainly make the process of withdrawal more comfortable as well as make relapse less likely.

Every treatment center will have its own unique offerings and treatment options designed to help people reach their goals of long-term recovery.

Treatment services for Adderall addiction can include:

  • medically supervised detox
  • outpatient treatment
  • short-term inpatient treatment
  • individual, group, and family counseling
  • long-term residential treatment
  • holistic treatments
  • behavioral therapy
  • healthcare and wellness education
  • life skills workshops
  • aftercare and relapse prevention planning

Find Addiction Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center

If you or one of your loved ones is currently living with a drug addiction to Adderall or any other type of substance use disorder, know that help is just a phone call away.

At Bedrock Recovery Center, our treatment specialists can answer any and all questions that you have about substance abuse treatment, and help you get started on your own recovery journey.

Our state-of-the-art treatment program and facility provides medical detox, residential treatment, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), and so much more.

  1. Medical News Today
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
  3. United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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