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Breaking Free: Overcoming Adderall Addiction – A Comprehensive Guide

addereall addiction

Adderall addiction is one of the lesser-known addictions. It is, however, a serious addiction with similar effects to that of meth addiction.

Adderall is primarily prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Adderall works by increasing dopamine and norepinephrine levels in your nervous system. The function of norepinephrine is to help the brain in responding to events. It increases the attention span and affects your reaction to external factors.

Dopamine, on the other hand, is the ‘feel-good’ hormone of the body. This makes the users come back for the ability of this medicine to make them feel good and happy.

In this blog, we will discuss Adderall addiction and the factors related to it in detail. Read on to find out more.

What is Adderall addiction?

How Does Adderall Work?

Research suggests that over 4.4% of the adult population is suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the United States alone. This number is even more alarming when the adult population in India is considered. As per studies, 8.83% of the adult population in India are suffering from ADHD.

In such cases, the doctors prescribe Adderall to patients with ADHD. Adderall is a prescription drug that contains amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. These drugs are stimulants and using them without prescriptions can lead to Adderall addiction. This means that the patient will become tolerant to small doses of Adderall, become dependent on Adderall, develop disorders related to stimulant abuse, or all three.

Individuals can become addicted to Adderall with chronic use of the drug. If this prescription drug is being taken for long enough for the body to become dependent on it to function normally, the patients may also suffer from withdrawal after they stop using it.

How Does Adderall Work?

Adderall is a synthetic stimulant designed to boost activity in the central nervous system (CNS). It functions by elevating the levels of norepinephrine and dopamine, essential neurotransmitters responsible for responding to stimuli and promoting feelings of well-being.

Individuals with ADHD often experience difficulties with memory and responsiveness to external influences. Adderall aids in the release of these neurotransmitters in the brain, helping to improve these functions.

As a result, patients with ADHD can have normal levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in their brains, thanks to Adderall.

What are the symptoms of Adderall addiction?

Just like any other addiction, Adderall addiction can be identified by the individual needing to use this stimulant to function normally. The patient must show at least two of the following symptoms within 12 months to be deemed as addicted to Adderall:

  • When the individual keeps using Adderall for longer than the period that it was prescribed for by the doctor
  • When an individual wants to continue using Adderall just to make them feel ‘normal’
  • When an individual is not able to quit the use of Adderall even with repeated efforts
  • When an individual is spending a lot of time, effort, and energy to get access to Adderall
  • When an individual is unable to get over their cravings for Adderall
  • When the health, relationships, work, and studies of an individual are affected but the individual is still insisting on using Adderall
  • When the individual is using Adderall regularly, despite being aware of its physical, mental, and psychological side effects
  • Developing Adderall tolerance; which means that the individual now requires higher doses of Adderall than what was initially prescribed to see its effects. However, it may not be perceived as a symptom of Adderall addiction when a healthcare practitioner is increasing the dosage.
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms with stopping the use of Adderall

What is the difference between Adderall addiction and Adderall dependency?

What is Adderall addiction?

Prima facie, drug dependency can occur with chronic use of a prescription drug. Similarly, Adderall dependency can be caused by chronic use of Adderall. It can occur even when it is taken with a prescription. When a patient is dependent on Adderall, they might suffer from withdrawal symptoms after they stop taking it.

On the other hand, Adderall addiction is different from Adderall dependence. It may or may not include symptoms of Adderall dependency. A patient who is addicted to Adderall will seek to intake this drug deliberately. This behavior affects the daily functioning of an individual. Their addiction may even impact their personal and professional life.

Is Adderall Addictive?

The short answer to this question is, yes. Adderall, being an artificial stimulant, is addictive. Sometimes, students may take Adderall to improve their focus and concentration to enhance their performance in academics. Some athletes may consider using Adderall to reduce fatigue. While some people might be tempted to try Adderall as a recreational drug or to feel intoxicated.

Such uses of Adderall, unless prescribed by a certified medical practitioner, can lead to Adderall addiction as the dosage is not monitored by the doctors. Any unsupervised intake of Adderall may result in a substance abuse disorder that might impair the daily functioning of an individual.

What are the effects of Adderall Misuse?

Misusing Adderall, particularly in high doses without a prescription, can yield severe consequences:

  1. Cardiovascular Risks: Elevated blood pressure and heart rate due to Adderall intake can predispose individuals to cardiovascular diseases.
  2. Neurotransmitter Imbalance: Abuse of Adderall can disrupt the normal release of dopamine and norepinephrine. Ceasing its usage abruptly may lead to a significant drop in these hormone levels, contributing to depression, suicidal tendencies, aggression, and fostering addiction.
  3. Brain Chemistry Alteration: Prolonged misuse of Adderall can induce changes in the brain’s chemical composition. Such alterations may result in debilitating mental health disorders like schizophrenia, seizures, and insomnia, posing serious and potentially fatal risks.

Adderall Overdose

While an Adderall overdose is typically not fatal, it can lead to significant and serious side effects. In the last few years, the fatality rate has been rapidly increasing. Using Adderall recreationally can lead to an overdose, especially without a prescription.

A healthcare professional would be very careful in prescribing the dosage of Adderall after due assessment of the severity and history of ADHD in a patient. Without the guidance of a healthcare professional, the response of an individual to Adderall may be extreme and may lead to Adderall overdose.

In severe cases, it may also lead to an individual being in a comatose state, suffering from organ damage, or even death. Other symptoms may include the following:

  • Body shivers or tremors
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Chest pain or abdominal pain
  • Hallucinations
  • Depressive disorder
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Heart attack or stroke
  • Liver damage

What happens in withdrawal from Adderall addiction?

Just like any other addiction, withdrawal from any stimulant comes with its own set of symptoms. Symptoms of withdrawal from Adderall addiction can be felt especially when the patient uses high doses of Adderall. These symptoms may last from 3 days to 1 week.

Withdrawal from Adderall addiction may include the following symptoms:

  • Episodes of depressive disorder
  • Excessive drowsiness or insomnia
  • Irritability and fatigue
  • Anxiety disorder and panic attacks
  • Loss of concentration and inability to focus
  • Increase in appetite
  • Paranoia
  • Craving of Adderall

These symptoms can be treated with proper aftercare of the patient. These symptoms do not risk the lives of the patients. However, in episodes of depressive disorder, the patients need appropriate treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can Adderall addiction cause personality changes?

Adderall affects the norepinephrine and dopamine levels of the body. This means that Adderall can alter the attention span and the ‘feel-good’ hormones of the body. Small doses of Adderall will not lead to drastic changes in the personality. However, if an individual is a victim of Adderall addiction, they might see some personality changes.

2. What was the purpose of Adderall?

Adderall was developed accidentally by chemist Gordon Alles in the year 1920s when he was searching for an effective asthma treatment. However, Adderall is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

3. What are the side effects of Adderall?

Adderall is a prescription drug used to cure attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The side effects of Adderall can include loss of appetite, irritability, overexcitement, and aggression. In extreme cases where the patient is taking Adderall in high doses, it may also cause hallucinations, suicidal tendencies, and mania.

4. What does Adderall do to the brain?

Adderall is a prescription drug that is a combination of chemical compounds called amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. These chemical compounds stimulate the Central Nervous System (CNS) of the body. They help in releasing dopamine and norepinephrine which helps in increasing the focus and reducing impulsiveness in an individual.

5. Is Adderall addictive?

No, Adderall addiction is not common in those who are using this drug on the advice of a healthcare professional. However, if an individual is using Adderall in high doses without a valid prescription, or both, it may lead to addiction.


Medical science has touched new heights. There is a medicine or a solution to almost every problem that human beings face today.

However, with the advancement of medical science, we are also facing downsides. A prescription drug like Adderall is being misused which is leading to Adderall addiction. As a result, the side effects of Adderall are more well-known than its benefits. Adderall is not addictive when prescribed by a healthcare professional and taken in small amounts. Addiction to stimulants is a growing concern worldwide.

Good news! Adderall addiction can be successfully treated with professional help, behavioral therapy, psychoeducation, and other interventions.

Avisa Recovery dedicates itself to aiding New Jersey’s adult community on its journey toward recovery. Renowned as a leading provider of addiction and mental health treatment, Avisa Recovery positively impacts the lives of numerous individuals in Fort Myers and surrounding areas. With a focus on long-lasting success and holistic wellness, Avisa offers comprehensive mental health and drug addiction treatment services in Fort Myers. Contact us today to learn more about our acclaimed rehab facility in Fort Myers.

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