How is Adderall abused?

You abuse Adderall when you take Adderall other than prescribed. Snorting, injecting, dosing more frequently or at higher doses than prescribed is considered Adderall abuse. More here.

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Adderall abuse can lead to addiction. In fact, Adderall is considered a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act and is considered relatively more than other ADHD medications like Concerta or methylphenidate. While treatments for Adderall addiction are based in psychotherapy, you can save yourself a whole lot of time by stopping improper use of Adderall while you can.

So, how is Adderall abused? And what signs should you should look out for? We review here and invite your questions about how to get help for Adderall addiction at the end.

Can Adderall be abused?

Yes. Adderall is a stimulant medication with the potential for abuse. People use Adderall for performance enhancement but may find that they are quickly dependent on it to function. And not only can Adderall be abused, but it also has a high potential for abuse. Why?

Amphetamines found in Adderall interact with receptors in the brain and change the chemical composition of the central nervous system to the point that the body becomes quickly dependent. This physical dependency may account for why Adderall is abused. In other words, the physical need for Adderall may drive people to take more Adderall to function.

It is important that you use Adderall only as directed to treat ADHD and that you talk to you doctor if you need to decrease or increase doses of Adderall. It also become important to know and understand the effects of Adderall. This education should starts young so that adolescents don’t feel the desire to abuse Adderall at a young age. Student populations are and the greatest risk of abusing Adderall.

How Adderall is abused

The primary way in which Adderall is abused includes people taking Adderall without a prescription. Adderall is specifically used to treat ADHD. Many people who abuse the medication do not have this diagnosis. Amphetamine actually works on the brain chemistry differently for people with ADHD versus those without. Adderall has a calming effect on ADHD patients. For others, Adderall works as a stimulant and will make people feel like working really hard, can help you stay super focused, and/or get a lot done without the need for food or sleep.

Additionally, if you read any label for Adderall one of the warnings is to never: chew, crush or snort Adderall. Manufacturers warn against this type of use because different modes of administration release the amphetamine salts into the bloodstream quickly, which can alter therapeutic effects and get you high.

Adderall abuse side effects

When you abuse Adderall, you run the risk of suffering adverse side effects. For example, erratic dosing can cause you to either overdose or experience withdrawal quickly. Other side effects of Adderall abuse include:

  • cardiovascular problems
  • damage to nasal cavities
  • fatigue/and insomnia
  • hostility
  • loss of appetite
  • psychosis
  • weight gain or loss
  • withdrawal

Adderall abuse will also have side effects on your personal life. Not only will it damage your body and put your health at risk, but you can also damage those you care about around you. Behavioral side effects of Adderall abuse include:

  • co-occurring abuse of medications and illicit drugs
  • financial problems
  • legal problems
  • strained friend and family relationships
  • unable to finish school effects on school work
  • withdrawing from environment

Signs of Adderall abuse

There are several ways you can tell if you or someone you know is abusing Adderall. Signs to look out for are included in the following list:

  • buying Adderall through illegal means
  • chewing Adderall
  • increasing doses
  • needing to refill prescription more often
  • secretive behavior
  • self-medication
  • snorting Adderall
  • upping doses or using more than the prescription
  • using Adderall to cram for an exam or study
  • using regardless of no ADHD diagnosis

If you notice any of these signs, you may be abusing Adderall. It is important to deal with Adderall abuse before addiction and dependence are present. Abuse can lead to addiction and physical dependency.  And while withdrawal side effects of Adderall can be resolved in a week or so, longer term effects of mood disorders and/or problems sleeping can persist for weeks or months.  These conditions can cause craving, a need for Adderall, that can lead to relapse and continued use.

Adderall abuse questions

Do you still have questions about Adderall abuse? Please leave your questions in the comments section below. We’ll do our best to respond to you personally and promptly.

Reference Sources: White house: Response to Prescription drug abuse
National Institute of Drug Abuse for Teens: Prescription Stimulants
FDA: Adderall
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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