Effects of Adderall Abuse

The effects of Adderall abuse last about six hours per dose and remain active in the body longer than a dose of Ritalin. Adderall is a reformulated version and close cousin of the ADHD medication Dexedrine. Dextroamphetamine (Adderall, Dexedrine) is classified as Schedule II controlled substance, a classification given to medical drugs with the highest abuse potential and dependence profile.

This drug is a 'cocktail' mixture of four different amphetamine salts, and was first developed about 20 years ago and marketed under the name Obetrol for weight loss and diet control. In 1996 the FDA approved Adderall for unrestricted use for treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder. Today, this prescription stimulant is quickly becoming a physician favorite for the treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder in children.

The effects of Adderall abuse are often less harsh than Ritalin's. Many parents who have their children on this prescription stimulant drug report less 'peaks and valleys' than Ritalin and less of a drop off (withdrawal) than Ritalin. Ritalin also tends to cause more stomach discomfort and tends to produce more moodiness than Adderall.

Keep in mind, all Attention Deficit Disorder medication - Adderall included - has potentially harmful side effects. Adderall is an amphetamine that works on children in the same way amphetamines work on adults. Children are subject to the same adverse Adderall effects as adults using amphetamines, with the most common effects of Adderall abuse being loss of appetite, weight loss and insomnia. This prescription drug has a high potential for abuse as well as addiction. If similarities to Ritalin hold, Adderall abuse can result in death.

It is natural for parents to question whether taking a powerful stimulant like Adderall is in their child's best interests. Amphetamine stimulants like Adderall are worrisome for many reasons ' predominately because of the potential for harmful effects of Adderall abuse and high potential for Adderall addiction.

In most cases, the effects of Adderall abuse are considered mild. However, some side effects, though rare, are life threatening. These extreme effects of Adderall abuse include: phonetic tics, high blood pressure, rapid pulse rate, elevated blood pressure, increased heart rate, hallucinations, Tourette's syndrome, and cardiomyopathy. Amphetamines like Adderall can impair judgment and the ability to engage in potentially hazardous activities like operating machinery, vehicles and sports participation.

Tolerance, extreme psychological dependence, and severe social disability have occurred. There are reports of patients who have increased the dosage to many times that which is recommended. Abrupt cessation following prolonged high dosage administration results in extreme fatigue and mental depression; changes are also noted on the sleep EEG. Manifestations of chronic intoxication with amphetamines include severe dermatoses, marked insomnia, irritability, hyperactivity, and personality changes. The most severe manifestation of chronic intoxication is psychosis, often clinically indistinguishable from schizophrenia.

Many individuals believe Adderall is a "safe prescription drug" and therefore less harmful to snort or inject than street drugs. Adderall, however, is not sterile and injecting or snorting the potent stimulant directly into the blood stream could result in infection or a fatal overdose. Adderall abuse is incredibly dangerous and could potentially lead to cardiovascular failure.

Adderall is also widely known as the "study drug". A 2004 study conducted at the University of Wisconsin determined 14% of the campus had misused Adderall, or a similar ADHD medication. Since Adderall is an amphetamine that aids an individual with greater concentration, energy, and the ability to stay awake, accounts of college students studying for exams or writing papers for fourteen hours straight are common. Consequently, the next 24 hours may be rife with the painful effects of Adderall abuse such as temporary vision loss, involuntary muscle spasms, mental confusion, vomiting, and over fifteen hours of unconsciousness, if Adderall is taken to prevent sleep.

Common effects of Adderall abuse include:

  • Addiction
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Euphoria
  • Feelings of suspicion, hostility and paranoia
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Irritability
  • Life-threateningly high body temperature
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Over stimulation
  • Restlessness
  • Stomach pain
  • Tolerance (constant need to raise the dose)
  • Unpleasant taste
  • Weight loss

The effects of Adderall abuse often include taking too much of the drug. An overdose demands instant medical attention and the symptoms are:

  • Acute dehydration
  • Confusion
  • Delusions and hallucinations
  • High blood pressure
  • Lower abdominal cramps
  • Muscle soreness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Perspiration
  • Rapid breathing
  • Seizures
  • Swelling and numbing of the hands/feet/ankles/fingertips
  • Uncontrollable twitching/shakiness