dangers of misusing adderall
Healthy Living

The Dangers of Misusing Adderall

Mercy Health | Feb 7 2019
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Learn more about the drug that is being prescribed 40% more often for ADHD

Just because a doctor prescribes a drug doesn’t mean it’s safe for anyone to use in any amount. And yet many young adults and students — along with others you may not suspect — misuse Adderall. This drug is designed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. It’s one of the 50 million prescription stimulant drugs dispensed in 2011. That’s a nearly 40% increase in prescriptions since 2007, according to the American Addiction Centers.

Many people benefit from using Adderall in the way doctors prescribe it. Others are misusing it, and the results could be deadly. Let’s take a closer look at Adderall, its uses and its dangers.

How is Adderall used correctly?

Adderall, or amphetamine-dextroamphetamine, is designed to increase focus and attention for people who have ADHD. This is a condition that makes people have difficulty concentrating on things. ADHD can also make people’s behaviors more impulsive. Doctors also prescribe Adderall to treat narcolepsy. This is a disorder that causes people to fall asleep or feel drowsy during the day or in places they typically shouldn’t.

Adderall is a controlled substance used for only specific indications. To reduce your risk of dangerous side effects, patients prescribed Adderall should take the medication exactly in the way its prescribed, both from a dosage amount and frequency standpoint. Still, over time, some people can develop a tolerance to the drug. They might need to take higher and higher doses to get the same effects.

Why do people abuse Adderall?

People who abuse Adderall come from all walks of life. Adderall is a stimulant that helps improve focus. Many students and young professionals misuse the drug because they think they can accomplish more work or achieve higher energy levels from taking the drug. Athletes also sometimes abuse amphetamines like Adderall. It’s been banned by the International Olympic Committee since 1968 due to the dangers associated with its abuse.

Some people not only take pills but also want to have a faster reaction to the drug. They crush up the pills and snort them. People who are abusing the drug might also:

  • Use a higher dosage
  • Take someone else’s medication
  • Take Adderall more often than what their doctor prescribed
  • Take Adderall to stay awake longer, not because they have a medical condition

Dangers and side effects of Adderall

There are both physical and mental side effects of Adderall abuse. People who misuse this drug may develop heart disease, dizziness and abdominal pain. They may lose weight and have insomnia, constipation or trouble breathing. Long-term abuse is also associated with strokes and heart attacks.

Other side effects of Adderall include paranoia, sexual dysfunction, hallucinations, depression and even convulsions. When people snort Adderall, the drug also causes major harm to nasal and sinus cavities. Side effects of misuse can range from anxiety to fatality.

How to tell if a loved one is misusing Adderall

There are some classic signs that someone may be abusing Adderall. These people may be overly talkative and unusually excitable. They may have a loss of appetite and want to withdraw socially. It’s also common that Adderall abuse can result in financial troubles and aggression. It can cause secretive behavior or make someone sleep for long periods of time when they stop taking the medication.

While some people misuse Adderall occasionally, others have full-blown addictions. This happens because long-term misuse of the drug alters your brain’s neurotransmitters. These are natural chemicals that travel between nerve cells to tell your body and brain what to do. This makes it harder to naturally feel pleasure like you once did without the drug. Physical and emotional dependence can result. This causes serious impacts to health and life.

If you suspect that you or someone you know may be abusing Adderall, visit one of our behavioral health centers, or call our behavioral health crisis line 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Just call (877)-219-2708.


Mercy Health


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