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Adderall® Addiction: Signs, Symptoms, Risks, and Treatment Resources

Adderall® has long been known as one of the most effective medications for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It can help a person become more focused and aware, but the downside is that it has a high risk of dependence and addiction. These risks are especially prevalent if the medication is misused.

What Is Adderall®?

Adderall®’s primary purpose is to treat ADHD. It is occasionally prescribed to treat narcolepsy. It is made from amphetamine salts, which make it a powerful stimulant. There are two main amphetamine salts in this medication that occur in equal amounts: racemic amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. They work by improving the functionality of neurotransmitters in the brain, specifically dopamine and norepinephrine.

It is ideal for controlling behavioral problems and an inability to focus or stay still. It is a Schedule II substance, which means it has a significant potential for abuse. Street names for Adderall® include Addy, pep pills, speed, and thundersticks. In recent decades, the abuse of prescription stimulants, including Adderall®, increased by as much as 67%.[1]

Adderall® addiction is always a risk whenever someone takes this medication. Knowing all the facts about Adderall® is important before you get anywhere near it.

Adderall® Addiction and Abuse

Adderall® addiction and abuse can be determined based on the following signs and symptoms:

  • Cravings for Adderall®
  • Withdrawal symptoms when you’re not taking Adderall®
  • Increased anxiety
  • Finding multiple doctors who will prescribe you more of the substance

How Addictive Are Stimulants?

When stimulants are misused, they induce an intense feeling of euphoria that often leads to increasing frequency and greater doses, sparking the cycle of addiction. As a Schedule II controlled substance, stimulants are deemed highly addictive.

Signs of Addiction to Adderall®

Other signs of Adderall® addiction include a runny nose, excess sweating, nausea, and the inability to stay still. Some people addicted to Adderall may steal from their relatives to get more Adderall® or get money to buy amphetamine salts off the street.

Effects of Adderall® Abuse

It is common for many people to take Adderall® as prescribed before drifting into the realm of dependence and addiction without even realizing it. You might start taking Adderall® to help with your ADHD, but before you know it, you might have a hard time functioning without this medication.

Those who misuse Adderall® are more likely to become addicted than those who take it as prescribed. Still, addiction is always possible, and it is especially likely among those who already have substance use disorders.

The effects of Adderall® abuse are often obvious and take the form of excess excitability. You may be unusually talkative and nervous, your thoughts may race quickly from one to the next, and you may experience a sense of grandiosity.

Some may also experience nausea, vomiting, and twitchiness or ticks.

Dangers of Long-Term Adderall® Use

Without professional Adderall® addiction treatment, it can be very difficult to stop such an addiction on your own. The long-term use of Adderall® can cause a lot of damage to your brain and body. Some of the more common symptoms include insomnia, weight loss, agitation, increased anxiety, and panic attacks.

It is also possible for some to experience toxic psychosis. This is when the high levels of Adderall® in a person’s body cause hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. It may be impossible for this person to communicate normally with others, and they may become violent or panicked.

Questions About Treatment?

We understand you have questions and concerns about seeking recovery treatment. Call now to discuss your options with our admissions team and we’ll be happy to answer all of your questions

Side Effects of Adderall® (Amphetamine Salts)

Regular Adderall® releases immediately into the system after taking the pills. The pill dosages range from 5 to 30 mg. Due to how these pills stimulate dopamine and norepinephrine (which is a fight-or-flight hormone), Adderall® can cause a variety of very intense side effects.

Some people experience changes in their emotions, and they may often feel angry, paranoid, or anxious.[2] Weight loss is a common issue due to Adderall®’s ability to suppress one’s appetite. In more severe cases, this drug may cause high blood pressure, strokes, headaches, abdominal pain, and depression.

Side Effects of Adderall® XR

Adderall® XR is more or less the same as regular Adderall®, except for the fact that it is designed for extended-release. This allows a person to experience the effects of the drug for a longer period of time without having to take as many pills throughout the day.

Many of the side effects of this drug are the same as those of traditional Adderall®. People may also experience abdominal pain, dry mouth, nervousness, trouble sleeping, and

Statistics on Adderall® Use, Misuse, and Addiction

6.6% of people in the United States use stimulants, and around 2.1% of that group misuse the substance.[3] Many people misuse Adderall® because they want to feel more alert. Others may want to use it for recreational uses.

In those cases, some get Adderall® from their friends or family members rather than getting their own prescriptions. Some may also try buying Adderall® or other forms of amphetamine salts illegally off the street.

A person is pouring pills from a bottle into their hand while lying in bed.

Can You Overdose on Adderall®?

It is possible to overdose on Adderall®. Medical attention, Adderall® recovery, and addiction treatment may be required to resolve the dependence and address misuse.

Signs and Symptoms of Adderall® Overdose

Because Adderall® is a stimulant, this kind of overdose looks different compared to an overdose of sedatives or hypnotics. Having too much Adderall® in your system will make you feel breathless and panicked. Your heart rate will skyrocket, along with your blood pressure and breathing rate.

Those who have overdosed on Adderall® are confused and hyperactive. More severe symptoms may include hallucinations, fever, chills, aggressiveness, and convulsions. There is also the risk of rhabdomyolysis, which is the breakdown of muscle tissue.

What to do if you suspect someone is overdosing on Adderall®:

It is important to call for medical assistance once you find someone who has overdosed on Adderall®. If they are conscious, try to keep them calm. If they are unresponsive, stay with them and make sure they keep breathing until medical services arrive.

How is Adderall® Taken?

Adderall® most commonly comes in little blue pills or tablets that must be swallowed whole. In some cases, it is necessary to take two to three pills throughout the day. This will give the pills plenty of time to slowly dissolve in your stomach and be released into your body.

Many people who become addicted to Adderall® misuse it by snorting the powder from the crushed pills or injecting it. Some may also try heating the crushed pills and inhaling the vapor.

This releases the entire dose of the pill at once and causes euphoria. This feeling is highly addictive and often compels Adderall® users to continue taking the substance incorrectly. This mode of administration is also very dangerous and can lead to an overdose.

Mixing Adderall® with Other Drugs

You should not take Adderall® with Xanax, as this may result in seizures. You should also avoid mixing it with alcohol. This is because, while taking Adderall®, it is easier to develop alcohol poisoning without realizing it until it’s too late.

Adderall® Addiction Treatment

Adderall® treatment programs range from detox and residential treatment to outpatient and aftercare, based on individual needs. Most people require treatment for several weeks or months before they are independent enough to continue on their own.

Therapies Used in Adderall® Addiction Treatment

Various therapeutic methods play a major role in treatment.

Dual Diagnosis for Co-Occurring Disorders

ADHD is the most common co-occurring disorder for this medication since most people seek out Adderall® as a form of treatment due to this disorder. Those with narcolepsy often take Adderall® as well.

It’s also common for people who use Adderall® to develop anxiety, or their anxiety may become worse. Some may develop psychosis or have panic attacks. In any case, dual diagnosis treatment, which addresses both substance use disorder and mental health disorders holistically, is the best treatment option.

Adderall® Withdrawal Management Treatment

The detox process occurs over several weeks before beginning longer-term treatment. Effective detox strategies are paired with intensive therapy that will outlast the detox program. The cost of the treatment will vary depending on the program. In many cases, health insurance will cover all or some of your treatment programs.

Drugs Used in Adderall® Withdrawal Management

Modafinil® is a common medication used to reduce the severity of Adderall® withdrawal symptoms. Some benzodiazepines may be used for this purpose as well, but each patient’s treatment plan will be customized to their needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Should Not Take Adderall®?

If you do not have ADHD or narcolepsy, you should not take Adderall®. You should also not take it if you have a substance use disorder.

How Is Adderall® Obtained?

Adderall® is obtained through a doctor’s prescription. However, some people may get the substance illegally off the streets.

What Is Adderall® Withdrawal Like?

Withdrawal symptoms are severe and often include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, sweating, fever, chills, delusions, and body pain.


  1. Weyandt, L. L., Oster, D. R., Marraccini, M. E., Gudmundsdottir, B. G., Munro, B. A., Rathkey, E. S., & McCallum, A. (2016). Prescription stimulant medication misuse: Where are we and where do we go from here? Experimental and clinical psychopharmacology, 24(5), 400–414. Retrieved from on May 18, 2023.
  2. NIDA. 2018, June 6. Prescription Stimulants DrugFacts. Retrieved from on May 18, 2023.
  3. American Journal of Psychiatry. (n.d). Prevalence and Correlates of Prescription Stimulant Use, Misuse, Use Disorders, and Motivations for Misuse Among Adults in the United States. Retrieved from on May 18, 2023.
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