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Am I Addicted To Adderall?

by Landmark Recovery

September 6, 2020
A woman sitting and wondering if she is addicted to adderall


Adderall is a prescription drug used by doctors for the treatment of attention hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.

As of 2016, around 16 million adults in the United States were using prescription stimulants like Adderall.

Adderall is classified as a central nervous stimulant containing amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. These ingredients can help control the nerves and chemicals in the brain that play a role in hyperactivity and controlling impulses.

For people who need the help of this medication, taking it at the prescribed dose can be extremely helpful. Unfortunately, many people abuse Adderall. According to a study published in the Journal of Addictive Diseases, more than 3% of Americans over the age of 12 reported using prescription ADHD medication for nonmedical reasons.


The Appeal Of Adderall

When taking Adderall, the brain is calmed, allowing for better focus. In children and adults with ADHD, Adderall is prescribed to calm down the brain.

When Adderall is used by people who do not have ADHD, it sometimes has the same effect. The drug is used to help people focus and stay awake. Many people report that taking Adderall makes them more social and outgoing, allows them to accomplish more without feeling overwhelmed, and a lot of women use Adderall because they feel it helps them lose weight.

Nature reports that the growing recreational use of Adderall is in a bid for people to enhance their cognitive skills, and a 2018 publication from the Global Drug Survey showed that non-prescription use of Adderall is growing worldwide.


Adderall Addiction

Because Adderall is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States, it is easily accessible. You can likely find the pills in your friend or family member’s medicine cabinet and you can easily procure them online or through other means.

Over time, it takes more and more of the drug to get the same effects. When taking Adderall under the advice and prescription of a doctor, patients often have to increase their dose to achieve results.

This works in the same way in those who abuse the drug. People take larger doses of Adderall, chasing their high except the dosage is not monitored to ensure safety.


Who Is At Risk?

The US Drug Enforcement Administration classifies drugs according to their use and potential for abuse. Adderall has been classified as a Schedule II drug, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and addiction.

While anyone is at risk of developing an addiction, the people most at risk of abusing and becoming addicted to Adderall are teens and young adults.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse’s 2019 Monitoring the Future Survey indicated that the misuse of Adderall among teens was nearing 4%. Steve Pasierb of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids stated “The rates of Adderall misuse and abuse among high school seniors… is an immediate threat to the health of America’s teens.” These teens take their Adderall addictions to college where 20% of students report abusing prescription stimulants.

When people graduate from college, their Adderall addiction can then become a problem in the workplace.

Adderall is usually abused by people who are very ambitious or competitive, and by those who are using it in an effort to lose weight.


Adderall Side Effects

While any prescription drug comes with a list of side effects, abusing medications like Adderall can cause heightened intensity and frequency of these issues. Some of the most common signs that someone is abusing Adderall are:

  • Aggressiveness
  • High excitability
  • Excessive sleep
  • Exhaustion
  • Lack of appetite
  • Loss of memory
  • Overworking
  • Paranoia and hallucinations
  • Running out of prescriptions sooner than anticipated
  • Tremors and shaking
  • Talkativeness
  • Troubles with finances


People who abuse Adderall will often start to show behaviors that are common in addiction. These behaviors are a sure sign that you or a loved one is dealing with addiction to Adderall. Look out for:


  • Avoiding responsibilities
  • Becoming withdrawn socially
  • “Doctor shopping” for multiple prescriptions
  • Spending a lot of money and time to get your “fix”
  • Sudden lack of care about grooming
  • Using Adderall in ways that are not intended (crushing, snorting, etc.)

Dangers Of Adderall Addiction

Over time, the abuse of Adderall can cause several physical and psychological issues for people. These issues include:

  • Blistering skin
  • Breakdown of muscles
  • Change in sex drive
  • Deficiencies in vitamins
  • Digestive issues
  • Erratic behavior
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Increased risk of heart attack
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Malnutrition
  • Psychosis
  • Seizures
  • Shortness of breath

People who use Adderall in ways it is not intended to be used are at a higher risk of harming themselves or overdosing on the drug. Adderall can negatively interact with several other prescription medications, and amphetamines (like Adderall) can result in death, even in small doses.


Finding Help For Adderall Addiction

As you have read, anyone can become addicted to Adderall, and the side effects of this addiction can be very dangerous.

Dealing with an addiction to prescription medications requires the help of specialized treatments and therapies with medical guidance.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction to Adderall, please give us a call on 888-448-0302 so we can help get you on the road to recovery! Landmark Recovery of Lexington is here and ready to help!


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About the Author

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery was founded with a determination to make addiction treatment accessible for all. Through our integrated treatment programs, we've helped thousands of people choose recovery over addiction and get back to life on their own terms. We're on a mission to save one million lives over the next century. We encourage all those struggling with substance use to seek professional help.