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Adderall Addiction


What is Adderall?

Adderall is made up of the central nervous system stimulants – Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine. They affect the chemicals in the brain and nerves that are responsible for hyperactivity and impulse control. Narcolepsy (extreme tendency to fall asleep in relaxing conditions) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder that affects a person’s ability to focus or pay attention) are treated using Adderall.

Is Adderall Harmful?

Adderall is known to be addictive, and therefore can be dangerous when abused.

Short Term Effects of Adderall

Adderall works by increasing the availability of chemicals like norepinephrine and dopamine. Both these work by helping to boost alertness, attention and energy levels. It also increases the heart rate and therefore there is more flow of blood to muscles. Adderall users therefore find a high from it, much like the high cocaine gives. Due to this feeling of ‘Euphoria’ (a state of intense excitement and happiness), Adderall is often abused as a recreational drug.

Side Effects

Some of the side effects associated with Adderall use are anorexia (appetite suppression) and malnutrition (unhealthy loss of weight). Along with this there can be irritability, insomnia and restlessness. Adderall abuse can lead to fatigue, laziness, increase in irritability and decreased ability to concentrate. . In some cases, there can also be heart problems like disrupted heart rhythm and increased blood pressure.

Consuming Adderall and alcohol is extremely dangerous. Adderall has the ability to hide some of the common signs of drinking excessively, like slurred speech and lethargy. Therefore, alcohol poisoning will not be detectable.

Long-term Effects of Adderall

Usage of Adderall over a long period of time could lead to depression, hostility and paranoia. This is because the state of high that Adderall gives uses a lot of active neurotransmitters in the brain. When the number is significantly reduced post the high, it makes the world seem dull. Over time, this could lead to depression, then hostility and further paranoia.

In children, Adderall can stunt growth because of the appetite suppressors, which causes malnutrition.

Adderall Dependence

There are 2 kinds of Adderall dependence, Psychological and Physical. Psychological dependence starts with using the drug regularly as a part of a routine. Breaking away from that routine leads to withdrawal symptoms like headaches and sweating, which are also signs of stress.Psychological dependence needs to be treated using psychological techniques. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a psychotherapy treatment that aims at changing patterns of thinking or behavior that underlie the habit or addiction. Cognitive behavioral therapy is often used to address Adderall abuse. Physical dependence is the when the user gets used to high levels of dopamine in the brain. Stopping the drug suddenly lowers the levels of dopamine leading to withdrawal symptoms such as depression, tiredness, or narcolepsy (excessive sleeping) or insomnia (inability to sleep). Thus the user excessively consumes the drug which increases the side effects and leads to overdose. Treatment for this is usually detoxing under supervision.

Am I Addicted to Adderall?

Adderall addiction can be determined by answering some of these questions. If the answers to most of the questions are yes, then Adderall addiction persists and treatment needs to be taken. The questions cover areas like Cravings to consume Adderall, Usage of Adderall, Tolerance towards the drug, Social Impact of Adderall use, Health Impact and Withdrawal symptoms.


  • Do you use Adderall when not needed?
  • Do you use more Adderall than necessary to treat your symptoms?


  • Is your Adderall usage more than 3 times a week?
  • Do you often use Adderall even after symptoms have passed?
  • Do you often think of procuring and using Adderall?


  • Has the same amount of Adderall become less effective?
  • Do you need to use more Adderall to reach same high?

Social impact

  • Do you give up on social relations for Adderall?
  • Is your Social/ Professional lifeaffected due to Adderall use?
  • Have you ever not met obligations because of Adderall?

Health Impact

  • Have the effects of Adderall put you in physical danger?
  • Have you experienced physical or mental issues because of Adderall use?
  • Have you suffered from heart issues or confusion after Adderall use?


  • Have you ever wished to reduce usage?
  • Have you failed trying to stop Adderall use?
  • Have you experienced bad moods, or insomnia upon discontinuing?


Adderall Withdrawal Treatment

Low Energy, disorientation, increased appetite and lack of motivation are some of the physiologic effects of withdrawal from Adderall. Although now there are no approved medicines to help with the withdrawal symptoms, some anti-depressants are seen to possibly help some of the psychological effects that occur.

Adderall withdrawal is not a medical emergency, but it can get a very difficult to manage. And there are high chances of relapse and continuation of drug abuse. There are centers that give round the clock supervision to help in the course of the detoxing process. After the withdrawal, there may need to be behavioral interventions, the treatments of which are similar to treatments for cocaine and methamphetamine. The treatments include:

  • Contingency Management: Contingency Management works with conditioning (the user to change), using stimuli (to establish the change) and finally consequences (that deals with the user having to adapt to change). The user’s behaviors are rewarded if it adheres to the treatment rules and punished if it is not acceptable.
  • Contingency Behavioral Therapy: This treatment tries to understand why drug abuse happened and how risk can be avoided. It also deals with figuring out skills to help coping with withdrawal and helping avoid relapse.
  • Recovery Groups: Recovery or support groups allow the users to share experiences and their stories of negative effects of Adderall abuse with other users. Knowing that there are other people who have suffered from Adderall usage and have successfully gotten over it, helps the users currently undergoing treatment to develop a positive approach towards detoxing. This can help raise the motivation for users to undergo the change.
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