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Understanding Adderall Addiction and Abuse

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Getting addicted to prescription drugs is a tricky situation. One might say that this type of addiction is more difficult to identify and approach correctly precisely because it so often starts off with a doctor's recommendation for a particular drug. 

In recent years, thousands upon thousands of people were admitted into rehab for prescription stimulant abuse, with Adderall being one of the most common culprits.

In this article, we'll go over Adderall misuse and the crippling addiction it can lead to. We'll also talk about the groups that are most susceptible to Adderall dependence, as well as the first steps to take in order to break free. If you or your loved one has fallen victim to this particular drug addiction, keep reading to educate yourself on how to overcome it.

What is Adderall?

Adderall is a prescription drug most often given to individuals struggling with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. It is a mix of amphetamine salts, and the intended effects of Adderall are to help people with ADHD retain attention for longer, focus on activities for longer periods of time, and reduce behavioral issues. Aside from treating ADHD, Adderall is also commonly prescribed for narcolepsy, which is a sleep disorder that makes people feel drowsy all throughout the day and even fall asleep at random times.

Adderall is supposed to be used between one and three times per day, as per the doctor's instructions, in adherence to the prescribed dose. Adderall pills should be taken 4-6 hours apart from each other and never late in the day, as it can lead to trouble falling asleep and insomnia in more severe cases.

This stimulant is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs to children and teens, with the goal of helping them focus on schoolwork and not fall behind their peers. Unfortunately, teenagers are also one of the most susceptible groups to drug abuse, and it has developed a reputation for being misused by high schoolers all across the United States.

How It Works

Taking Adderall triggers an increase in the production of norepinephrine and dopamine by the central nervous system in your brain. The former is responsible for how your respond to events and process information, how fast you react to outside prompts, and how long you can pay attention. 

The latter, on the other hand, is a reward chemical intended to make you feel good after certain activities, such as exercising, meditating, or having sex. Most psychoactive drugs are so addictive because they bind with dopamine receptors, triggering a release that wasn't "earned" by performing actions that release dopamine naturally.

Other Prescription Amphetamines

While probably the most popular of the bunch, Adderall is far from the only prescription amphetamine-based drug out there. Some of the better-known ones include Ritalin, Methylin, Concerta, as well as a number of other medications that have a similar set of invigorating, focus-enhancing effects.

Most, if not all, prescription amphetamines have the potential to lead to substance abuse disorder if not taken accordingly to the prescribing doctor's instructions. Addictive prescription drugs should be handled with care, especially if they are to be used by minors.

Adderall Addiction

While the terms "dependency" and "addiction" are often used interchangeably by people without much expertise in the matter, it is important to distinguish the two, particularly when talking about a drug like Adderall. Adderall dependency is actually an expected reaction of the human body to this substance. Physical dependence on Adderall can be identified in all patients who take it and is caused by the main active ingredient of the drug, amphetamine.

The problems begin when you start developing a psychological dependence on Adderall on top of the physical one. Some people are able to notice when they become psychologically dependent on the substance and cooperate with their doctor to help them get off it, reduce dosage, or obtain a prescription for a different medication altogether.

Addiction begins when the user starts chasing the high that their drug of choice provides them, which leads them to crave and obsess over the drug, prioritizing it above all else. One dead giveaway that might suggest you're addicted to Adderall is the fact that you run out of your prescription early and start experiencing painful withdrawal symptoms (which we will go over later in this text). At that point, you might find yourself ready to do whatever it takes to get more of the substance.

Non-Medical Use of Adderall

It is impossible to talk about Adderall addiction and only mention cases that were the result of a prescription. Many young people find themselves drawn to Adderall even though they never actually needed it to treat any disorder in the first place. One of the most dangerous aspects of Adderall is the fact that it can hook ambitious students and professionals who misuse it to excel at their schoolwork or work assignments.

Although it's not a street drug per se, it can be found in the inventories of drug dealers just as often as substances such as cocaine or marijuana due to how many people actively seek it out. It has even developed a reputation as the "study drug" of choice for students who need to get out of an academic rut or get better grades on exams. Some addicts even go as far as faking ADHD in order to secure their own prescription.

Today's youth is also increasingly using Adderall recreationally. After all, it contains amphetamines, which are already a component of many popular party drugs, such as MDMA. It can lead users to experience a more intense euphoric rush than alcohol, and is also frequently combined with other drugs, which can have fatal consequences that go beyond the outcomes of addiction to Adderall by itself.

The Most Common Signs of Adderall Addiction

The symptoms of Adderall addiction follow a similar pattern to that of other stimulant medications and street drugs like cocaine or methamphetamine. 

While you should be on the lookout for all of those symptoms, it's important to note that they do not exhibit themselves in the exact same way in all individuals. Not experiencing all of them doesn't necessarily mean that a person doesn't need professional treatment to get out of addiction. 

With that said, here are some of the most frequently reported signs of Adderall addiction:

Brain fog and drowsiness when not under the influence of the drug.
Constantly upping the dose to feel its effects.
Feeling a strong desire to quit or limit usage but being unable to do so.
Financial trouble caused by seeking out increasingly higher quantities of Adderall.
Inability to focus without the drug.
Inability to get work done without using Adderall.

Adderall Abuse

Abusing Adderall can take up many shapes and forms. Not everybody starts doing the drug for the same reasons, and different individuals will develop different patterns of behavior when falling down the rabbit hole of addiction.

Many people abuse it to increase productivity, whether at work or at school. However, Adderall is equally popular for its capacity to improve one's confidence, conversational skills, and the immense feeling of euphoria in produces, especially in individuals who don't have ADHD. It can also boost athletic performance, as well as suppress appetite, which is why a lot of people also turn to Adderall to lose weight.

Another clear sign of abuse is not taking Adderall in a way that goes against your doctor's advice. This includes ingesting increasingly higher doses but also crushing up and snorting the pills for a more immediate, intense effect.

Side Effects of Adderall

Even when not abused, Adderall can also carry some unintended side effects, which tend to be more intense when the drug is taken in overly high doses. Here are some of the most common ones:
Loss of appetite.
Elevated blood pressure.
Dry mouth.

Signs of Adderall Overdose

Like many other prescription drugs, Adderall can be deadly if overdosed. Loss of life is the most severe consequence of an Adderall overdose, but there are also many other serious ones, including:
Shaking uncontrollably.
Constant feeling of nausea.
High fever.
Intense chest pain.
If you ever experience these yourself or notice them in someone you know, seek treatment immediately. When left untreated, Adderall overdose signs can lead to long-term health problems.

Who is Prone to Adderall Abuse?

While anyone can get addicted to Adderall, the drug is undeniably abused most often among a few identifiable groups of people that are particularly prone to abusing it due to their unique circumstances.

People with Eating Disorders

Adderall also suppresses appetite. Teenagers and young adults with eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia are known to take Adderall for that property alone. In the long term, it can lead to a severe disturbance of one's eating habits, the development of serious health risks, and the worsening of the eating disorder.


Some of the short-term effects of Adderall are the suppression of fatigue and increased ability to perform intense physical exercises. This is why many athletes turn to Adderall use to improve their performance when competing. 

To give you a sense of how much this problem has gotten out of hand, in the early 2010s, the NFL amassed a record-breaking number of Adderall-related suspensions. 

As you can see, Adderall abuse can be found even in the highest echelons of sports, and the problem is even more pronounced in lower leagues, as well as academic competitions.


We already mentioned earlier that Adderall is commonly referred to as a study drug. It increases the ability to focus, helps remain awake for long hours, and reduces the instances of distraction. 

Young adults, with college students in particular, often use Adderall when studying for important exams and trying to meet the demands of their supervisors at work. College campuses are also full of recreational Adderall users, who often resort to mixing Adderall with other drugs.

Quitting Adderall

Realizing that you have a problem and that you need an Adderall addiction treatment program to stop using is the first step towards getting better. However, there is still a long way ahead of you, and it may be difficult, if not impossible, to go at it alone. 

Inpatient treatment centers are by far the most effective way to get rid of any addiction once and for all, but there are also outpatient rehab methods that can help you return to a healthy, addiction-free lifestyle.

For minors struggling with Adderall abuse, the support of their parents and relatives is key. Family therapy is a good way to overcome addiction together with the help of a professional counselor. Adults could also benefit from support groups, individual therapy sessions, and frequent medical consultations.

Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms

When you quit Adderall, you're likely to experience some withdrawal symptoms, which may be severe, depending on your addiction level. To help you prepare for it, we've compiled a list of some of the common symptoms of Adderall withdrawal:

Difficulty focusing
Intense, vivid dreams
Heightened anxiety
Increased appetite
Lack of motivation
Memory problems
Sudden bursts of sadness and crying
Mood swings

Get the Professional Adderall Addiction Treatment You Deserve

Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant that, if abused, can be highly addictive and incredibly difficult to quit. At Miracles Asia, we are equipped to help patients with even the most severe cases of addiction, all in a luxurious, worry-free environment. 

Our treatment center is located in Phuket, a lush, tropical island in Thailand, where you can detach yourself from the troubles of your daily life, as well as many of the triggers you're exposed to at home.

Our staff is comprised of top mental health professionals, world-class cooks, and clinical staff who are not only experts at what they do but also know what it feels like to deal with and overcome addiction. 

If you're ready to take the next step towards recovery and get the best help possible, don't hesitate to contact us for a personalized action plan, expert guidance, and securing a stay at our residential rehab facilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get addicted to Adderall if I'm diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

In short, yes. Even individuals who have ADHD and were prescribed Adderall to treat this disorder have found themselves getting addicted to it. If you misuse Adderall, you are running the risk of becoming overly dependent, regardless of whether you have ADHD or not.

What other drugs is Adderall often combined with?

While many people abuse Adderall by itself to boost their studying efforts or improve athletic performance, it is also a popular party drug among teenagers and college students, who often mix it with a myriad of drugs. These drugs most often include alcohol, marijuana, Xanax, and cocaine.

What's the difference between Adderall and methamphetamine?

It may surprise you, but there are actually not as many differences between Adderall and meth as you might expect. Both are amphetamines, and their effects are pretty much identical, albeit meth acts more rapidly and has much more devastating effects on the body. What sets Adderall apart is the fact that it is a pharmaceutical drug, and therefore if you obtain it legally, you won't be exposed to any harmful chemicals that dealers might add into the substance, a practice which is known as "cutting" the product.

Methamphetamine, on the other hand, is strictly illegal, and can only be bought using illegal means. To save money, dealers often add toxic chemicals to increase the overall amount they can sell, which can cause severe harm on top of the damage that meth will do to you. If you or someone you know is addicted to it, they should seek methamphetamine addiction treatment immediately.

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