Adderall is a potent stimulant, and it can be hard to recognize when someone is abusing the drug.
People often abuse Adderall to enhance alertness and productivity. They are often motivated individuals that don’t look like a stereotypical drug user. Most often, those who abuse Adderall are students and young professionals.
“Stimulants will help anyone focus better. And a lot of young people like or value that feeling, especially those who are driven and have ambitions. We have to realize that these are potential addicts — drug addicts don’t look like they used to.”
Telltale signs of Adderall abuse may include:
- Being overly talkative
- Loss of appetite
- Unusual excitability
- Social withdrawal
- Financial troubles
- Sleeping for long periods of time
- Secretive behavior
Dangers and Side Effects of Adderall (Prescription Amphetamines)
Many people who abuse Adderall wrongly assume the drug is safe because it comes from a doctor. Adderall is prescribed to people, including children, with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This leads some people to think the drug is safe because children take it.
In reality, Adderall is a strong stimulant that can lead to serious — and potentially deadly — side effects. Overdose is one of the worst side effects of Adderall abuse, which can lead to heart attack, stroke and liver failure. Taking Adderall with other substances, such as alcohol, heighten the risk of a fatal overdose.
Adderall can also cause physical changes in the brain’s neurocircuitry. This can lead to altered behaviors and the development of mental disorders like depression. Some Adderall addicts become suicidal after taking the drug for a prolonged period of time.
Some drug users have even injected Adderall in an attempt to achieve a better “high” by delivering the drug directly into the bloodstream. Injecting the drug may provide a more intense high, but it is also a fast track to a fatal overdose.
Athletes taking Adderall have died because their increased blood pressure lead to heat stroke and cardiac arrest. Amphetamines, including Adderall, have been banned by the International Olympic Committee since 1968, due in part to the dangers of these drugs.
Some of the side effects of Adderall abuse may include:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Loss of appetite
- Sexual dysfunction
Snorting Adderall is a common among users looking for immediate effects. They crush up their pills into a fine powder, sniffing Adderall into their sinus cavity. This often leads to a more intense high, but snorting Adderall comes with its own side effects.
Snorting pills causes destruction of the nasal and sinus cavities. The longer someone continues taking Adderall in this way, the more damage that can be done. Snorting also amplifies other Adderall side effects such as irregular heartbeat. Those snorting Adderall also have a heightened risk of overdose.
Recognizing an Adderall Addiction
Prescriptions written for Adderall increased by nearly fivefold from 2002 to 2012, making it easier for people to get the drug from a friend or family member. Compared to that of other drugs, use of Adderall is rarely stigmatized; as such, many people don’t recognize when a loved one has a problem. People addicted to Adderall have even been known to fake the symptoms of ADHD to get their own prescription.
Not everyone who abuses Adderall has an addiction. Although it’s a slippery slope, simply taking an Adderall from time to time to stay awake or increase productivity is not the same as needing the drug to function.
The key to recognizing an Adderall addiction is spotting certain behaviors. Those who are addicted to Adderall prioritize using and obtaining the drug over all else because they can’t function without it. Addicted people have trouble controlling how much Adderall they take and may start ignoring important social or familial obligations.