Meth Vs. Adderall: Differences And Similarities

Meth and Adderall are both amphetamine drugs with many similarities and some major differences. They can both be abused or used for medical purposes. Addiction treatment can help to combat substance abuse.

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Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS


Meth and Adderall are both central nervous system stimulant drugs. Meth is short for methamphetamine.

Adderall is the brand name for a prescription drug that combines amphetamine with dextroamphetamine.

Meth is more powerful than Adderall. While there is a prescribable version of meth available, called Desoxyn, it is most commonly found as a street drug that is illegally produced and abused.

Adderall is mainly prescribed by doctors to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Adderall is also commonly abused, though it is less addictive and harmful than meth.

Differences Between Meth And Adderall

Meth and Adderall are similar in some ways, but they also have some major differences between the two of them, including the following.

Adderall’s Intended Medical Use

Adderall is a commonly prescribed prescription stimulant medication that is intended for the treatment of ADHD.

Meth is very rarely prescribed to treat ADHD or obesity. Because crystal meth drug addiction is so common, doctors usually avoid prescribing it.

Adderall Sold On The Street

Produced almost exclusively in clandestine labs, meth is sold on the street. Adderall is generally produced as a prescription medication for legitimate medical reasons.

Still, a large amount of Adderall is sold on the black market to people who abuse it. Adderall addiction is relatively common and can develop quickly.

Adderall sold on the street might be used as a party drug or a study drug. Other times, it is used by people who have a physical dependence on it.

People often take Adderall sold on the street by snorting it. Snorting Adderall makes its effects faster and more powerful than ingesting it.

Prescription Meth’s Intended Use

Prescription meth, also called Desoxyn, can be used for the treatment of ADHD or obesity. Because meth has many potential side effects and a high potential for abuse, it is uncommonly prescribed.

Adderall, on the other hand, is a very commonly prescribed drug, especially for the treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy.

Street Meth

Meth found on the street is usually not Desoxyn. Instead, it is produced in illegal labs and drug-making operations.

Meth addiction is responsible for devastating entire communities in the U.S., especially in rural areas.

How Meth And Adderall Are Similar

As central nervous system stimulants with similar chemical structures, Adderall and meth have some major similarities.

Euphoric Effects Of Meth

Meth is addictive because of the euphoric “rush” that people feel when they smoke or inject the drug.

Though less powerful, the effects of Adderall can also produce feelings of euphoria, especially when misused.

The euphoric effects of meth and Adderall are largely due to the fact that they initiate the release of neurotransmitters including dopamine, which leads to temporary feelings of well-being.

Central Nervous System Stimulants

Meth and Adderall both act as stimulants, meaning they have energizing effects. Both drugs can lead to feelings of alertness, attentiveness, and awakeness.


Hyperactivity is one of the elements of ADHD, which meth and Adderall can help to treat when they are used as prescribed by a doctor.

On the contrary, when these drugs are abused, they can actually cause hyperactivity. This might include scattered and rapid thinking, irregular movements, and more.

Weight Loss

Both Adderall and meth can lead to weight loss. When these drugs are misused, weight loss may be extreme and contribute to other health problems.

Risks Of Abusing Meth And Adderall

Adderall and meth use have similar side effects. Both of these drugs are very dangerous to abuse.

Risks include major long-term health issues, as well as the possibility of fatal short-term complications, especially when taking a high dose of either drug.

Some of the effects of methamphetamine abuse are not usually seen with Adderall. One example is “meth mouth”, the rapid decay of teeth that occurs when someone smokes a lot of meth.

Side effects of abusing both meth and Adderall are listed below.


Psychosis is basically when someone loses their sanity, either temporarily or permanently.

People experiencing psychosis might have hallucinations, believe things that are obviously untrue, and have trouble relating normally to other people.

Psychosis can occur as a result of stimulant drug use such as meth or Adderall. In fact, more than a third of people who abuse meth develop psychosis.

People who have psychosis from meth or Adderall abuse might experience paranoia and hallucinations.

Severe Changes In Body Temperature

Both meth and Adderall abuse can increase body temperature. Changes in body temperature put stress on many systems of the body.

Prolonged periods of increased body temperature can lead to major health complications.

Changes In Blood Pressure

Both Adderall and meth can lead to both short-term and long-term changes in blood pressure.

High blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack and heart disease. Both drugs also increase heart rate, which is stressful for the cardiovascular system.

Cardiovascular Damage

Long-term abuse of stimulants like Adderall or meth can lead to extensive cardiovascular damage. Damage to blood vessels, changes in heart rate, and plaque in the arteries can all occur.

Intense Cravings And Stimulant Addiction

Meth and Adderall are Schedule II drugs, meaning they have a high potential for abuse according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

People who become addicted to meth or Adderall experience intense cravings for the drug and may develop withdrawal symptoms if they stop using it.

Stimulant addiction is dangerous, because people will use more and more of their drug of choice to get high as their tolerance increases. Eventually, an overdose may occur.

Treatment Programs For Meth Addiction

If you or a loved one has a meth addiction, it’s crucial that you seek professional help. Inpatient detox and rehab at a certified treatment center is the best way to combat meth addiction.

Meth addiction treatment plans will aim to address mental and physical health concerns and tackle the underlying causes of drug abuse.

  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
  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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