Adderall (dextroamphetamine-amphetamine) is a stimulant medication prescribed to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It works by altering the amount of certain natural chemicals in the brain.
When used for medical purposes, Adderall can help increase attention span and focus on an activity, as well as control behavioral problems. Adderall is also indicated to treat the sleeping disorder narcolepsy.
Adderall is also frequently abused as a study aid and for its stimulating, euphoric effects and ability to induce wakefulness for an extended period. However, Adderall’s unwanted side effects may include physical damage to the brain and internal organs.
Adderall Effects on the Brain
Stimulants promote concentration and energy levels while reducing a person’s need for sleep and suppressing appetite. Adderall increases the activity of several neurotransmitters in the body, including serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.
Over time, the shift in dopamine activity can affect the brain’s reward center, and impair one’s ability to feel pleasure without the chemical support of amphetamines. The more frequently Adderall is used, the more pronounced these changes become. Drug tolerance may develop, and thus more Adderall will be needed to achieve the desired effect.
As Adderall exits the bloodstream, withdrawal symptoms and cravings occur, indicating a physical and psychological dependence on the drug. The manner in which Adderall was used, in addition to the average amount and duration of abuse, can influence the level of dependence on the drug.
For example, crushing the pills and injecting or snorting the powder sends the drug into the brain more rapidly than consuming them whole and allowing them to digest properly. As a result, these methods of using Adderall increase the risk of addiction and a life-threatening overdose.
Someone who is addicted to Adderall may encounter sleep disturbances, concentration difficulties, a lack of motivation, and experience irritation, lethargy, and fatigue when it is absent from the body. Abusing amphetamines like Adderall may also increase the risk of aggression and suicidal thoughts.
An individual who has abused Adderall for a prolonged period may find that the emotional aspect of withdrawal may be the most intense side effect. Natural production of dopamine has been impaired, and result in low mood and difficulty feeling pleasure without the drug’s presence.
The longer Adderall is abused, the more pronounced the mood swings may become when it is no longer in the body. Fortunately, most of these changes in the brain can be repaired over time with sustained abstinence and the appropriate care and support.
In rare instances, Adderall and other prescription stimulants have been reported to lead to psychosis and schizophrenia-like symptoms, such as paranoia, delusions, hallucinations, and other behavioral or mood disturbances. Prolonged use of an amphetamine stimulant and Adderall withdrawal can also trigger anxiety and panic attacks.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prints warnings on Adderall labels about the potential adverse psychiatric side effects. Symptoms may be exacerbated in someone with a history of mental health disorders such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.
Adderall Side Effects
Stimulants such as Adderall increase body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. Repeated use or abuse, especially in high doses, can produce a host of medical issues that range anywhere from a stroke to a seizure to cardiac arrest.
Prolonged Adderall abuse can also cause damage to the heart and cardiovascular system, especially when used in excess. The most common cardiovascular problems related to ADHD medications are hypertension (high blood pressure) and tachycardia (fast or irregular heart rate). Sudden cardiac arrest may also be a side effect of Adderall.
Other side effects of extended Adderall abuse include the following:
- Heart disease
- Headaches and Dizziness
- Stomach pain
- Weight loss
- Dry mouth
- Heart palpitations
- Trouble breathing
- Feeling jittery
The heart muscle may be weakened by long-term stimulant abuse, resulting in additional complications. Changes in the brain, as well as mood and behavioral issues associated with prolonged Adderall abuse, may also continue unless the drug is safely removed from the body.
Treatment for Adderall Addiction
Adderall addiction is an unhealthy condition that, over time, can lead to a host of physical and emotional problems that will not resolve unless abstinence and long-term sobriety are achieved. Persons suffering from dependence on Adderall are urged to seek an intensive treatment program that consists of evidence-based therapies, counseling, and group support.
Our center employs compassionate addiction specialists who deliver these services with care and expertise. We provide clients with the resources they need to attain abstinence, prevent relapse, and enjoy long-lasting sobriety and wellness.
Adderall addiction may not be directly curable, but it is treatable. We can help you restore sanity to your life and begin to experience the happiness you deserve. Please do not wait another day – contact us to find out how we can help you forge your path to long-lasting recovery!