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Adderall Abuse Symptoms

Adderall abuse can cause several physical and psychological symptoms. It can also be dangerous, and even deadly. Some of the most common Adderall abuse symptoms include changes in weight or appetite, problems sleeping, mood swings, paranoia, and hallucinations. Adderall misuse can also lead to addiction and serious health problems.

What Is Adderall?

Adderall® is a trademark name for a stimulant prescription drug that contains four amphetamine salts. It is a powerful amphetamine and most used to treat symptoms of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and narcolepsy. When used as prescribed, it may improve focus and attention and decrease impulsiveness and hyperactivity. With misuse, it can be highly addictive.

Adderall is known on the street as:

  • Addy’s
  • Bennies
  • Beans
  • Black beauty
  • And more

It is also known as, “the study drug.” Students may misuse this drug to cram for tests. They mistakenly believe it will enhance their academic performance, but there is no research to substantiate this belief.

Similar stimulant long-acting drugs include:

  • Dexmethylphenidate
  • Dextroamphetamine (Adderall XR)
  • Lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse)
  • Methylphenidate
  • Ritalin

Adderall comes in tablet or capsule form. It has versatility for abuse, in that it can be swallowed, snorted, or injected. People who misuse Adderall often crush it and snort it like cocaine or meth.  Others crush the tablets or open the capsules, mix the contents with water, and inject it.

Depending on the method of consumption and the type of Adderall (extended-release versus immediate-release), the effects of this drug can be felt within minutes to about half an hour. They can last hours to an entire day. Although the length the effects last depends on the method of consumption, Adderall is generally considered a long-acting drug, which is part of its appeal to users.

While Adderall is relatively safe if used as prescribed, misuse can quickly lead to dependency and addiction. Prescriptions like Adderall stimulate the central nervous system and impact the brain by increasing the activity of naturally occurring chemicals called dopamine and norepinephrine. The chemical structure of Adderall mimics these naturally occurring brain chemicals. Since dopamine is connected to the brain’s reward system and norepinephrine is involved in functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing, abusing stimulants may cause a significant risk of physiological overactivity.

When doctors prescribe Adderall, they start at low doses and gradually build up as needed, slowly increasing dopamine in the brain. However, when the drug is misused and snorted, or injected, the release of dopamine can be much more intense. This increase in brain activity can lead to an intense pleasure response but also serious negative side effects, including addiction, overdose, and death.

What Are the Effects of Adderall?

If you or a loved one takes Adderall, it’s important to be aware of the potential side effects. While Adderall can be effective in managing symptoms, it can also cause several unwanted side effects.

Adderall side effects may include:

  • Headaches
  • Stomach aches
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Weight loss
  • Nervousness
  • Agitation
  • Diarrhea and vomiting

In some cases, Adderall can also cause more serious side effects like anxiety, depression, and psychosis. If you experience any of these Adderall side effects, talk to your doctor. They can help you manage the side effects and make sure you are still benefitting from the medication.

How to Spot Adderall Abuse Symptoms

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Adderall abuse can lead to a number of serious side effects, including addiction, psychosis, and cardiovascular problems.

But what are the signs of Adderall abuse? Adderall abuse is characterized by certain patterns of behavior. For example, someone who is abusing Adderall may start to neglect important responsibilities in their life to use the drug.

Adderall abuse symptoms and signs include:

  • Taking Adderall without a prescription
  • Increasing dosage without doctor’s orders
  • Mixing Adderall with alcohol or other drugs
  • Feeling the need to take more and more Adderall to get the desired effect
  • Experiencing negative side effects from Adderall use, such as anxiety, insomnia, paranoia, or irritability
  • Continuing to use Adderall despite negative consequences, such as job loss, financial problems, or relationship issues
  • Giving up important activities to use Adderall
  • Spending large amounts of time obtaining, using, or recovering from the effects of Adderall
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not taking Adderall, such as fatigue, dysphoria, or depression

If you or someone you know is displaying these symptoms, it’s time to get help. Adderall abuse can lead to serious problems, including addiction, health complications, issues at work, and relationship problems. Don’t wait to get help—reach out today.

Why Is Adderall Abuse Dangerous?

Most people are aware that abusing drugs is dangerous. But many people don’t realize that even prescription drugs can be abused. Adderall is a powerful stimulant that can have serious side effects when it is abused. Some of the dangers of Adderall abuse include:

  • Cardiovascular problems, such as irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure
  • Gastrointestinal problems, such as constipation and nausea
  • Psychiatric problems, such as anxiety and psychosis
  • Neurological problems, such as seizures and stroke

What Are the Risks of Adderall Abuse?

When taken as prescribed by a doctor, Adderall can be a helpful medication for treating ADHD or narcolepsy. When abused, Adderall can have harmful long-term effects. For example, Adderall abuse can lead to short-term and long-term effects like:

  • Paranoia
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Sleep problems
  • Stroke
  • Addiction
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Overdose
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Psychotic episodes
  • Organ damage
  • Brain damage
  • Severe weight changes

What Is Adderall Withdrawal Like?

It is possible to experience withdrawal symptoms after stopping Adderall, even when taken as prescribed. However, Adderall withdrawal symptoms will be much more intense if you’ve been abusing Adderall.

Symptoms of Adderall withdrawal can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Increased appetite
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Adderall cravings
  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Increased heart rate
  • Hypertension
  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Seizures

These symptoms can begin within a few hours of stopping Adderall use, and they may last for several days or weeks. Some people only experience a few mild symptoms, while others experience more severe symptoms. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms after stopping Adderall use, it is important to seek medical help. Withdrawal from Adderall can be dangerous, and a medical professional can provide you with the support and care you need to safely detox from the medication.

How Do You Treat Adderall Addiction?

It’s vital to seek professional addiction treatment for an Adderall addiction. This way, you or your loved one are safely detoxed and able to be removed from the temptations and distractions while working on recovery.

Behavioral therapies and other incentive-based treatments are helpful in treating addiction to Adderall. In addition, as with treatment for any kind of addiction, having a strong support system after clinical treatment is crucial. Mutual support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, SMART recovery, etc. can provide guidance and even comradery for those in recovery from an Adderall addiction.

Currently, there are no medications specifically used to treat Adderall addiction, but a multidisciplinary approach is most beneficial. For some people struggling with Adderall addiction, this might mean attending weekly therapy sessions and participating in mutual support programs. Others might benefit from a more intensive approach, such as a 30-day inpatient rehab program.

The type of addiction treatment you need depends on factors like:

  • The severity of your Adderall abuse symptoms
  • If you’re also abusing alcohol or other drugs
  • How long you’ve been abusing Adderall
  • If you have co-occurring mental health conditions
  • Client support system
  • Client living and work situation

When it comes to addiction treatment, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The best way to ensure lasting sobriety is to tailor treatment to the unique needs of the individual. Components of addiction treatment for Adderall may include:

Medical Detox

Detoxing from any type of drug can be difficult, but medical detox can help make the process more comfortable and safe. When detoxing from Adderall and other substances, you will be closely monitored by a team of medical professionals who can provide around-the-clock care.

The first step in medical detox is to stabilize you and manage any withdrawal symptoms. This may involve the use of medication to help with headaches, nausea, and anxiety. Once you are stabilized, you will begin the process of slowly tapering off Adderall. This will be done under the guidance of a doctor, and the doses will be reduced gradually over time. The length of detox varies depending on the individual. Most people can expect to spend a few days to a week in medical detox. After successfully completing detox, you’ll be ready to begin an addiction treatment program.

Inpatient Rehab

Inpatient treatment for addiction may last anywhere from 28 days to 90 days. It depends on the severity of the addiction and any underlying mental health issues. During treatment, you’ll receive around-the-clock care from a team of medical and psychological professionals. You will participate in individual and group therapy sessions, as well as activities like yoga and meditation that help promote healing. Inpatient drug rehab provides a safe and structured environment where you can focus on recovery without distractions or temptation.

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

A partial hospitalization program (PHP) provides intensive care for people who are struggling with addiction. PHP typically includes both group and individual therapy, as well as other services such as medication management and case management.

PHP programs are usually considered the next step down from inpatient treatment, and they can be very beneficial for people who need more support than what an outpatient program can provide. The length of time in a PHP program varies depending on your needs, but most programs last for 30 days. During that time, you will learn about addiction and recovery, develop healthy coping skills, and begin to build a support network.

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) provide addiction treatment while allowing you to continue working and living at home. IOPs typically meet three to five times per week for two to four hours at a time. Treatment may include individual and group therapy, educational lectures, skill-building exercises, and 12-step meetings.

IOPs are usually most appropriate for people who have completed a residential treatment program and are now ready to step down to a less intensive level of care. However, some people with less severe addictions may be able to start their treatment in an IOP. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to Adderall, an IOP may be a good option to consider. With the support of caring professionals, you can begin the process of recovery and learn how to live a sober life.

Sober Living

A sober living residence is a safe and supportive environment for people who are in recovery from addiction. Residents typically live together in a shared house or apartment, and they agree to abstain from alcohol and drugs. Sober living homes provide structure and support that can be vital for maintaining sobriety, and they often require residents to follow certain rules, such as attending 12-step meetings and abstaining from drug use. While sober living homes are not treatment facilities, they can be an important step in the journey of recovery.

Get Help for Adderall Addiction

Addiction treatment at Vogue Recovery Center is focused on helping you achieve sobriety and maintain long term recovery. We provide a safe and supportive environment where you can work through the challenges of addiction and develop the skills needed for successful recovery. Our treatment for substance abuse is evidence-based and engaging. Vogue Recovery Center has treated thousands of people and have proudly facilitated our clients and their families to take back their lives from Adderall addiction and regain a new restored happiness.

If you or a loved one is struggling with Adderall abuse, contact Vogue Recovery Center for a free, confidential consultation.


Theresa Brown

Medically Reviewed by Theresa Brown, RN, MSN, CADAC-I

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