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Adderall is a prescription medication most commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is also very commonly abused by students to better focus during tests.

Adderall Addiction

Adderall, like many other drugs, stimulates the central nervous system (CNS) to increase levels of dopamine in the brain. Its main effects are to calm the hyperactivity many with ADHD suffer from. Adderall’s other main effect is to strengthen focus and concentration. These effects are very appealing to students who abuse the drug in order to potentially study better and focus during tests.

Adderall Abuse

Written prescriptions of Adderall have soared in the last decade, making the drug the second most-prescribed medication in its classification. Its wide popularity and abundance make finding and experimenting with the drug all too easy for a typical curious student. However, the belief that Adderall will increase your chances of retaining and remembering knowledge is unlikely for anyone who is not diagnosed with ADHD.

Many people believe the drug is mild and harmless, leading to a higher chance of abusing the drug more often, with addiction following shortly after.

Besides using Adderall for its educational benefits (such as better focus while studying), Adderall also produces a minor euphoric state, allowing it to seep into the list of party drugs.

Adderall is also abused by those who want to lose weight as it can decrease appetite. What many people who use the drug as a diet pill are unaware of is the side effects this type of use can cause.

Some include:

  • Stroke
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Psychosis
  • Death

It is not recommended to use Adderall without a prescription, especially in the form of a diet pill due to the risky side effects.

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Adderall Withdrawal

Withdrawal from Adderall can result in what is known as an “Adderall crash.” Although many who take it as prescribed may not experience these symptoms, those who abuse the drug constantly may feel any of the below side effects:

  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and stomach pain
  • Vomiting

Withdrawal can be different for everyone, while effects and length of withdrawal can vary depending on:

  • If you are diagnosed with ADHD or not
  • Health history
  • Amount of Adderall abused
  • Length of time abusing the drug

If you have abused other drugs or alcohol, these side effects may be more intense for you. Tapering off the drug may be best to reduce side effects of withdrawal over a total detox. Remember it is never recommended to quit abruptly.

Is My Loved One Addicted To Adderall?

Many believe the effects of Adderall are so minor there isn’t a chance for addiction. This, however, is far from the truth. Have you noticed a loved one seeming unusually joyful and interactive one moment and then uninterested hours later? It’s important to know of and look out for the signs of Adderall abuse, these can be spotted by looking out for unusual behavior such as:

  • Extreme talkativeness/talking very fast
  • Unusual bursts of energy
  • Extreme focus on specific tasks
  • Social withdrawal (once the effects wear off)
  • Aggression
  • Unusual sleep patterns or trouble sleeping

If you’ve noticed a loved one has exhibited any of these behaviors and has not been diagnosed with ADHD, they might be abusing Adderall. Keep in mind, many who abuse Adderall do not have an addiction, but abuse leads to building up a tolerance which ultimately leads to addiction.

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How Does Abuse Start?

Adderall isn’t just abused by non-prescription users. Many who do have ADHD and are prescribed Adderall can be at risk for an addiction. Those suffering from ADHD can feel as if their emotions are spiraling out of control and turn to their medicine for help, often taking more than needed to cope with the symptoms of their disorder.

If someone with ADHD feels they need extra focus one day they might feel the need to take more of the drug, believing that it is just their medicine and it couldn’t hurt to up the dosage a bit. This leads to a faster built tolerance and comfort in the ability to take more that directed.

Those who abuse Adderall for school may feel it’s okay to use it every once in a while for a test. Not knowing how much their bodies can get used to this pattern, they can potentially develop a reliance on the drug for each exam.

Peer pressure can also play a heavy role in the abuse of Adderall. Party-goers might mix Adderall with other drugs to achieve the desired high, pulling their friends into the dangerous mix.

Statistics On Adderall Abuse


From 2006 to 2011, non-prescribed use of Adderall by young adults went up by 67% and associated emergency room visits rose by 156%.


30 to 40% of those who have Adderall misuse it or divert the medication at some time.


In 2012, roughly 16 million Adderall prescriptions were written for adults between ages 20 and 39.

Finding Treatment For An Adderall Addiction

We all feel we need to be productive, to learn, and to get things done. Sometimes we have trouble focusing on the task at hand and feel a little boost won’t hurt us. You can try it once and feel like the world is in your hands, try it twice, and still feel the same effect. Try it three times, four, five, and something starts to happen. You don’t feel happy or normal without the drug. You start to feel anxious, worried that you won’t be able to feel good or focus again, so the usage continues.

It’s okay to feel lost. No one plans on having an addiction, and it’s not your fault that one might have developed. But there is something you can do about it. There is a way for you to feel normal again without the use of drugs. Treatment is not far away, with plenty of providers dedicated to understanding your journey and helping you find yourself.

If you feel lost from an Adderall addiction and need help becoming yourself again, contact a treatment provider today.

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