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6 Things You Might Not Know About Adderall Side Effects

man's hand with medicine spilled out of the pill container

Adderall (dextroamphetamine-amphetamine) is a stimulant medication commonly prescribed for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It’s also a drug that needs to be prescribed and monitored very carefully, as it can pose serious risks if it’s not done right.

Understanding the potential for negative Adderall side effects is essential for anyone taking this medication, whether they have a prescription or are abusing pills they’ve acquired illegally. Abuse of Adderall can lead to significant health issues, making it critical for anyone using it to follow the guidance of professionals. Educating yourself about these risks can prevent serious health consequences.

It might seem like misusing Adderall is just a harmless way to increase energy and focus, but that’s far from the truth. Misuse can have long-term detrimental effects on both physical and mental health. Here are a few key things you might not know about this powerful and heavily controlled substance.

1. Adderall Can Be Addictive if Used Incorrectly

If taken at an appropriate dose by someone with diagnosed ADHD, Adderall can be an invaluable treatment. In a brain with ADHD, a proper therapeutic dose of Adderall does not produce a high. It raises brain activity to normal levels and has a low addiction risk. If the dose is too large or the person doesn’t have ADHD, however, it can be an extremely addictive substance.

Adderall addiction can develop quickly because of its impact on the brain’s reward system. The drug increases the levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward. When misused, this can create a euphoric feeling, leading to repeated use and eventually dependence. Over time, higher doses are needed to achieve the same effect, escalating the risk of addiction and severe side effects. It’s important to follow healthcare professionals’ instructions carefully and never adjust your dosage without consulting them first.

2. Prescription Adderall Addiction Is a Huge Problem in the U.S.

A concerning statistic shows that as the number of Adderall prescriptions has increased, so has the number of stimulant-related ER visits. This doesn’t mean that Adderall is bad, in and of itself, but that it may be being over-prescribed and getting into the wrong hands.

Many doctors prescribe Adderall correctly and with care. However, questions remain about whether others are acting recklessly. If patients aren’t properly screened for ADHD and dosage standards are ignored, patients may be at risk. Prescribing Adderall “just to see if it helps” is a dangerous gamble. So is giving someone with ADHD too high a dose.

Illegal activity is also an issue. Prescriptions may be written in bad faith or forged, or a person with ADHD might be selling their pills to others. Even though Adderall is a controlled substance in the U.S., the availability of the drug for illegal sale and use remains a problem.

3. Mixing Adderall with Alcohol Can Be Extremely Dangerous

Because alcohol is a depressant and Adderall is a stimulant, their effects can “cancel each other out” when taken together. If you feel like you’re not impaired and continue drinking, there’s a very real risk of accidental alcohol poisoning.

Mixing the two can also lead to things like:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Aggression
  • Risky/impulsive behaviors

This combination can cause severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalance due to the diuretic effect of alcohol and the increased physical activity driven by Adderall. This can lead to serious health complications if not addressed promptly. These complications can include muscle cramps, dizziness, and severe fatigue.

The strain on your heart from using both substances can lead to long-term cardiovascular problems. Prolonged use of Adderall mixed with alcohol can damage your heart and blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart attack or stroke over time. Regular monitoring by a healthcare professional is crucial to prevent these serious health issues.

If you typically take Adderall for ADHD, combining it with alcohol can make your symptoms worse. This defeats the purpose of the medication and adds serious, unnecessary risks.

4. There Are Serious Short- and Long-Term Adderall Side Effects

Beautiful red haired woman casualy resting in bed

Misusing Adderall doesn’t just have immediate, temporary effects. With continued use, it can lead to a variety of serious short-term and long-term side effects. These effects can significantly impact your health and quality of life.

In just a few weeks or months, Adderall misuse can cause various worrisome side effects, including:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Dry mouth
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain

These short-term side effects can disrupt daily life and overall well-being. For instance, insomnia and mood swings can impact your ability to function effectively at work or school and strain personal relationships. Increased heart rate and elevated blood pressure also pose immediate health risks that should not be ignored.

Over a longer period of time, abuse of Adderall can have even more severe side effects. Some of the long-term side effects of Adderall include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Heart disease
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Tremors
  • Headaches
  • Panic attacks
  • Sleep problems
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Memory loss

Long-term misuse can lead to lasting mental health issues, such as chronic depression and anxiety, which can make it difficult to live a normal, productive life. Physical health issues like heart disease and tremors can have serious, life-threatening consequences. If you’re taking higher and higher doses, it could cause sudden death by heart attack or overdose.

5. Adderall Abuse Can Have Severe Effects on Mental Health

When used properly as a treatment for ADHD, Adderall can help normalize brain activity, significantly enhance focus, and improve overall mental well-being. By contrast, when abused, Adderall can dramatically harm mental health. It can exacerbate symptoms of anxiety and depression, and potentially lead to new mental health issues such as paranoia, hallucinations, and aggressive behavior.

If you do happen to experience worsening mental health despite properly using prescription Adderall, the dose may be too high for you. Speak to your prescribing doctor immediately to discuss possibly adjusting your medication.

6. Adderall Withdrawal Can Be Challenging, Making Addiction Harder to Escape

Stopping Adderall suddenly can lead to withdrawal symptoms like extreme fatigue, depression, and trouble sleeping. These symptoms can be severe and might need medical help. It’s important to reduce the medication gradually under a doctor’s supervision to minimize withdrawal effects.

The tough withdrawal process makes it harder to break free from addiction. The strong cravings and discomfort can push people to use the drug again, continuing the cycle of addiction. This highlights the need for professional treatment and support to successfully overcome Adderall dependence and achieve lasting recovery.

Do You Need Adderall Addiction Treatment?

If you or a loved one is struggling with Adderall addiction, seeking professional help is crucial. Adderall addiction can lead to severe physical and mental health issues if not addressed promptly. Professional treatment is important because it provides a structured and supportive environment where individuals can safely detox, receive medical care, and undergo therapy to address the underlying causes of addiction.

At Adelante Recovery Centers, we offer comprehensive treatment options tailored to meet the unique needs of those battling Adderall addiction. Our programs include medically supervised detox, individual and group therapy, holistic therapies, and aftercare planning to ensure long-term recovery. Our experienced and compassionate staff are dedicated to helping you regain control of your life and achieve lasting sobriety.

Contact us online or call (949) 427-9099 to learn more about our Adderall addiction treatment programs and take the first step toward recovery. At Adelante Recovery Centers, your journey to a healthier, drug-free life begins with us.

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If you or a loved one are in need of help with addiction, contact us today. Our professional and friendly addiction specialists are able to answer your questions and get things moving in the right direction.