Almost everyone has heard of Adderall or its cousin, Ritalin. The band, Chevelle, even wrote a song about it. Usually prescribed for Attention Deficit Disorder and sometimes for narcolepsy, it is one of the most commonly prescribed medications in America. It is also one of the most abused drugs among young people.

If you think it is harmless, think again. Adderall is an amphetamine, a controlled substance, and it is highly addictive. Here are five important things that you need to know about Adderall.

#1: People Take Adderall for Improved Focus and Energy

It is no surprise that many people addicted to Adderall begin in either high school or college. In high school, students may want perform at a higher level than they are capable of to secure a slot at their college of choice. One pill might not seem too risky, but it is.

The rigors of college are often hard to manage, which leads students to reach for the familiar Adderall to help them stay awake. All the while, the drug blurs the user’s ability to function normally without it.

As an addiction to Adderall forms, normal dopamine receptors in the brain weaken. They do not have to function normally when the drug fills in the gaps. When natural dopamine production wanes, users need Adderall just to feel normal. To get the burst of energy, they need more.

#2: The First Few Adderall Highs Will Never Happen Again

The first time most people try Adderall, the feeling is akin to euphoric energy and focus. People like Casey Schwartz, who writes for the New York Times, says the first time she used it, she was in a “state of peerless ecstasy.” It did not last.

Over time, she needed more and more of the drug to attain the same level of energy and focus. However, something else was happening underneath. Like many people addicted to Adderall, Schwartz eventually succumbed to one of the side effects of long-term abuse. She had a panic attack that resulted in an emergency room visit. That started a series of attempts to leave Adderall behind, each one more difficult than the last.

Adderall is not designed for euphoria, energy, or superhuman focus. The drug is currently prescribed as a treatment for people suffering from ADHD or narcolepsy only.

#3: A Prescription Cannot Protect You From Addiction

Having a legal prescription for Adderall does not, of itself, make it safe. To be clear, Adderall is only safe if you follow your doctor’s instructions to the letter.
Research indicates that nearly half of abusers are not familiar with the negative aspects of using the drug. Prescription drug abuse happens any time you use more than you have been prescribed, use it in ways that your doctor has not authorized, or take someone else’s prescription.

A prescription cannot protect you from addiction. In fact, many people struggling with addiction started with a diagnosis and a prescription. They simply abused the drug, which set off a chain reaction of needing more.

Carey Dune writing for Quartz says the Adderall problem is now affecting the workplace. As more and more children and teens rely on stimulants to help control ADHD in school, many of them become dependent. Once they are in the workforce, they may feel that their performance depends on the drug.

#4: Adderall Addiction Causes Numerous Challenging Side Effects

Although the drug is widely prescribed, it has a staggering array of side-effects that intensify if the drug is abused. The least of them include headache, dry mouth, stomach upset, and reduced appetite. Effects worsen as the disease progresses.

Adderall abusers may experience these and other symptoms both during use and when they try to quit:

  • Anxiety
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Chest pain
  • Blistering skin
  • Paranoia
  • Mania
  • Seizures
  • Weakness
  • Slurred speech

One step further and abusers can overdose. Those symptoms include:

  • Panic attacks
  • Hallucinations
  • Tremors
  • Vertigo
  • Delirium
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Unconsciousness
  • Coma

Adderall abuse is a very real health concern in America. Addiction may begin innocently enough with a prescription or an ill-informed idea that just one pill cannot hurt. Most abusers view it as a means for improving focus and academic performance. However, the perceived positive effects of abusing stimulants never last. They give way to side effects and a consuming need for more.

If someone you care about abuses Adderall or is suffering from an addiction, Florida drug treatment can help. Contact us today to learn more about admissions and the programs available to you.

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.