What is Adderall? Signs, Dangers, and Addiction

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Adderall (dextroamphetamine and amphetamine) is a prescription amphetamine and stimulant medication. It is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of individuals diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. However, the misuse of Adderall has become a significant concern, especially among young adults and college students. Read on to learn more about what Adderall is, addiction, and signs, symptoms, and treatment options.

Understanding Adderall and Its Effects

Dextroamphetamine-amphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant that affects the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, including dopamine and norepinephrine. It helps individuals with ADHD by increasing their ability to focus, control impulsive behavior, and stay alert. When taken as prescribed, Adderall can be safe and beneficial. However, when used without a prescription or in higher doses than prescribed, it can lead to addiction and various negative outcomes. It was once thought that Adderall had less potential for abuse when prescribed in its extended-release form (Adderall XR), but it can still be abused.

The Rise of Adderall Misuse

In recent years, the nonmedical use of Adderall has been on the rise, particularly among young adults and college students. Many individuals misuse the medication as a study aid, believing that it enhances their cognitive abilities and academic performance. However, research suggests that nonmedical use of prescription stimulants does not improve academic outcomes and can have serious health risks.

Signs and Symptoms of Adderall Abuse

Misusing Adderall can have various physical, psychological, and behavioral signs and symptoms. Some common signs of abuse include:

  • Increased energy levels and wakefulness
  • Euphoria and a sense of well-being
  • Increased talkativeness and sociability
  • Decreased appetite and weight loss
  • Insomnia and sleep disturbances
  • Rapid heart rate and increased blood pressure
  • Agitation, irritability, and anxiety
  • Paranoia and hallucinations in severe cases

It’s important to note that these symptoms may vary from person to person, and not everyone who misuses Adderall will exhibit all of these signs. However, the presence of multiple symptoms should raise concerns about potential Adderall misuse.

The Dangers of Adderall Addiction

Adderall addiction can have severe consequences for both physical and mental health. Prolonged misuse of Adderall can lead to tolerance, where higher doses are needed to achieve the desired effects. This can quickly escalate into addiction, where individuals feel dependent on the drug and experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop using it.

Some of the dangers associated with Adderall addiction include:

  • Cardiovascular (heart) problems, such as high blood pressure and heart disease
  • Increased risk of stroke and heart attack
  • Sudden death (in severe cases)
  • Psychiatric disorders, including anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder
  • Impaired cognitive function and memory problems
  • Financial difficulties and legal consequences due to obtaining the drug illicitly
  • Strained relationships and social isolation
  • Neglect of responsibilities, such as work, school, and personal relationships

Seeking Help for an Adderall Addiction

Treatment options for stimulant addiction typically involve a combination of detoxification, therapy, and support groups. It’s important for a medical professional to evaluate whether you may have Adderall dependence or an addiction to dextroamphetamine-amphetamine. Both could be greatly helped by treatment; however, treatment for Adderall dependence may not be as intensive (i.e., outpatient services may be a viable option).

Just as everyone’s substance abuse disorder (SUD) is different, so are personal treatment goals, options, and outcomes. If a doctor prescribes the medication but you find you can’t take the medicine because of its addictive properties, there are non-stimulant medications for ADHD that can be a replacement.


The first step in treating Adderall addiction is detoxification, which involves safely managing the physical withdrawal symptoms as the drug leaves the body. Detox should be done under medical supervision to ensure a safe and comfortable process.


Therapy plays a vital role in treating Adderall addiction by addressing the underlying causes and helping individuals develop coping mechanisms to avoid relapse. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is commonly used to modify harmful thought patterns and behaviors associated with addiction.

Support Groups

Support groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA), can provide a valuable source of encouragement and understanding for individuals in recovery. These groups offer a supportive community of peers who have gone through similar experiences and can provide guidance and support throughout the recovery journey.

Prevention and Education

Prevention and education are essential in addressing the growing issue of Adderall addiction. It is imperative to educate individuals, especially young adults and college students, about the risks and consequences associated with Adderall misuse. By promoting awareness and providing accurate information, we can empower individuals to make informed decisions about their health and well-being.

If you or someone you know is struggling with Adderall addiction, it is important to seek professional help, even if you’ve been prescribed Adderall legitimately for a condition. Caring and compassionate addiction treatment professionals can help address your addiction, offer solutions, and teach you strategies to help prevent relapse.


What is Adderall? It is a medication used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. It is a central nervous system stimulant made up of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It changes the brain chemistry and helps neurotransmitters send messages between nerve cells and the brain. It primarily helps with focus. Because of this, it is often used non-medically by college students.

Using Adderall without a prescription is dangerous and can lead to addiction. Common side effects of Adderall abuse include: headache, dry mouth, nausea, digestive issues, anxiety, excessive fatigue, and shortness of breath. Prolonged use can lead to more dangerous side effects, including: changes in vision, aggressive behavior, paranoia, mania, and seizures. When mixed with other substances such as alcohol, the risk of overdose significantly increases.

If you or anyone you know needs addiction treatment, call Mountainside at 888 833 4676.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, Mountainside can help.
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