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Adderall Addiction: Signs, Side Effects, and Treatment

Adderall is a prescription stimulant approved to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.1 When prescribed by a doctor and taken as directed, Adderall is legal to use. However, people sometimes misuse Adderall for the rush of euphoria (i.e., the “high”), to feel that they move faster, to increase alertness, and to be more mentally and physically active. Misuse of Adderall can lead to addiction, so it’s important to understand the potential for misuse, particularly if you or someone you know is struggling with Adderall addiction.2
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What Is Adderall?

Adderall is the brand name for a prescription medication that combines dextroamphetamine and amphetamine and is often prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).1,3 It is classified as a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that helps treat distractibility, short attention span, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.1,3 It can also be prescribed for narcolepsy in adults and children over 6 years old.3

What Are the Side Effects of Adderall?

When Adderall is taken as prescribed and directed by a physician for the treatment of ADHD, it can lead to a drastic reduction in symptoms such as distractibility and an inability to focus.8 Yet, amphetamines like Adderall also have the potential for adverse side effects, which can include:8

  • Insomnia.
  • Decreased appetite.
  • Weight loss.
  • Headaches.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Nervousness.

Other side effects can be more serious leading people to discontinue using this medication as prescribed. These include tics, seizures, and psychosis.8

Signs of Adderall Addiction

Studies have indicated that individuals who use stimulant medications like Adderall as prescribed by a doctor are at no increased risk of developing a substance use disorder at a later time.17

Misusing Adderall may lead to addiction or a substance use disorder (SUD). Misuse can include taking Adderall at higher doses, taking someone else’s medication, using it to get high, or attempting to take it in a way other than directed, such as crushing and snorting it or dissolving it in water and injecting it into a vein.9

Adderall Addiction Treatment

If you’re struggling with Adderall misuse and are ready to quit Adderall for good, treatment may be a good option. Detox may be an important first stage in recovering from a stimulant use disorder like Adderall addiction. This is especially true for those with long-term amphetamine misuse since withdrawal symptoms can be more severe, especially if a person expresses suicidal thoughts or attempts to act on them.11

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