How does a prescription medication become dangerous? Adderall, a well-known amphetamine, is commonly prescribed to people who suffer from ADHD or narcolepsy. Amphetamines like Adderall reverse some symptoms associated with these disorders like hyperactivity, mood instability, irritability, and impulsive behaviors, and have been shown to improve brain function and nerve growth in children with ADHD.

However, Adderall has a high risk of addiction and has been known to be used recreationally among populations like college students. Being touted as a “study drug,” Adderall has gained a reputation for being a miracle drug.

Although it may seem like a harmless medication, Adderall is a Schedule II drug, which means although it has a prescribed purpose, it also has a high potential for abuse. Let’s take a look at some of the signs of Adderall use, symptoms of withdrawal, and how to get help if you or a loved one has become addicted to the ADHD medication.

Signs Of Adderall Use

Here are a few signs of an addiction to Adderall:

Being Overly Active

Adderall is a potent stimulant and can cause its users to become overly talkative, active, or motivated for short periods of time. They might also become easily excited or aggressive.

Feeling Dependent On Adderall To Complete Tasks

Adderall is often used as a “smart pill” and users have often been known to take it before important tests, exams, or other tasks where studying and concentration are involved. If you feel like you can’t study or complete an exam or any other important task without Adderall, you may be experiencing addiction.

Snorting Adderall Can Leave Damage

Snorting Adderall can cause adverse health effects including increased blood pressure, accelerated heart rate, shortness of breath, loss of appetite and weight, heart attack or stroke, tolerance, and dependence.

Needing A Higher Level Of Adderall To Achieve Concentration

Whether you’re using Adderall when medically prescribed or recreationally, if you notice you need more of the drug to achieve the same level of concentration, you may be building up a tolerance. A tolerance to Adderall and needing it to deal with everyday life can signal addiction.

Doing Anything To Get More Adderall

Addiction can take us to dark places. If you’re willing to go above and beyond to purchase and use Adderall, it may indicate abuse. This might include lying, cheating, stealing, or committing a crime to obtain Adderall to support your use. If you are also selling your own prescription or buying it from someone who has one, this is a cause for concern.

Adderall Use Has Negatively Affected Your Life

One of the most telling signs of addiction and drug misuse is negative consequences in your life. Your life may become unmanageable, and you may experience negative effects such as getting in trouble with the law, missing work, becoming ill, and missing important responsibilities like child care or attendance at events. You might lose a job or a relationship, forget to pay rent on time, or not have money to pay the bills. You might hurt someone you love and care about by not being your best self. These are signs that Adderall may have taken over your life and that everything else has become unimportant on your priority list.


Taking too much Adderall in one sitting, or mixing Adderall with other drugs like alcohol, can lead to the likelihood of an overdose. An overdose is not always fatal and looks different depending on what drugs are taken. It can happen unexpectedly because each user has a different metabolism and tolerance. Initial signs of an overdose include restlessness, tremor, confusion, hallucinations, and panic. After the initial stage of overdose, you may experience fatigue, depression, and cardiovascular and gastrointestinal symptoms.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Regular Adderall users who become addicted may experience withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms occur as soon as you stop taking Adderall. Symptoms include:

  • Anxiety.
  • Cravings.
  • Depression.
  • Extreme hunger.
  • Fatigue.
  • Insomnia.
  • Irritability.
  • Panic attacks.
  • Sleep disturbances.
  • Sluggishness.

Getting Help

Adderall addiction can be devastating, but it doesn’t have to be. The risks of prescription drug addiction don’t have to ruin your life. Recovery is available for anyone that wants it. Treatment can provide you with the support, medical monitoring, and therapy you need to learn how to live your life without any harmful substance.

Your physical and mental health and wellbeing matter to not only the length of your life but the quality. Sobriety may be the change you need, and you do not have to do it alone. Help is available and living a life free from stimulants can put you on a pathway to recovery.


Hom, Elaine J. “Adderall: Uses, Abuses & Side Effects.” LiveScience. March 28 2016. Accessed January 23, 2017.

“Adderall.” Accessed January 23, 2017.

Newman, Tim. “Amphetamine: Use, Side Effects, and Contraindications.” 24 October 2016. Accessed January 23, 2017.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.