Understanding Adderall Addiction: Is Adderall Addictive?

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Adderall, a prescription stimulant drug, is one of the most popular drugs on college campuses as its properties help students focus better. When taken regularly, Adderall addiction can potentially develop. One should be aware that Adderall can have serious side effects when not taken under the care of a professional. Avenues Recovery provides an understanding of Adderall dependence and its symptoms.

What is Adderall?

Adderall is a prescription drug that is made from a combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine, two well-known central nervous system stimulants. Together, they increase dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain to reduce impulsivity and increase focus.

Adderall is only available to adults and children with a physician’s prescription. This stimulant medication is mainly used today to help people with ADHD, also known as Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, and narcolepsy. When used in combination with anti-anxiety medications, it can also help with depression symptoms.

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When Is Adderall Addictive?

Although it is safe and effective to take the drug as medically prescribed, when taken freely there can be major consequences. Because it is a combination of two amphetamines, Adderall is addictive and should only be taken under the care of a physician. Adderall addiction can sometimes appear similar to meth addiction. 

Moreover, since Adderall is designed to treat people with ADHD, it can be addictive for patients who do not have ADHD. Some people mistakenly think that if they take Adderall prescribed to a friend, then it’s safe for them to ingest. However, Adderall should not be taken recreationally due to its addictive nature.

How Long Does it Take to Become Addicted to Adderall?

It can take as little as a few days or as long as a few weeks to become addicted to Adderall depending on the following factors:

  • Age
  • Weight
  • Body chemistry
  • Metabolism
  • Presence of mental problems
  • Other substance abuse
  • Frequency and method of consumption
  • Current dosage

Therefore, the amount of time it takes to become addicted to Adderall varies from person to person.

What Category of Drugs Does Adderall Fall Under?

Adderall is a Schedule II drug due to its high potential for abuse which can lead to psychological or physical dependence [1]. Although Scheduled (controlled) drugs are harder to obtain due to their possibility of abuse, they also have medical benefits. For example, many people with ADHD benefit from stimulant medications such as Adderall. Nevertheless, there can be consequences when one abuses a prescription drug.

What Does Adderall Look Like, Taste Like, and Smell Like?

Adderall appears as a small, chalky tablet. The tablet is round, peach in color, and scored with a “dp” on one side and a “30” on the other. There is no noticeable smell. Furthermore, Adderall tastes like any other typical pill; it is meant to be taken without chewing and so does not have any taste.


Identifying Fake Adderall

Fake Adderall is a different version of Adderall on the streets that looks extremely similar to the brand name drug but contains different ingredients.  Fake Adderall is potentially dangerous as it is likely to contain other substances at different dosages. 

Below are some characteristics of the fake version of Adderall:

  • They are labeled as Adderall 30mg tablets but don’t contain the same ingredients 
  • They may be tablets that are round and white in color without any markings on them
  • They may come in a blister pack, while real Adderall comes in a bottle
  • Real Adderall has a National Drug Code (NDC) number, while the fake version may claim to have an “NDS” number
  • The ingredients listed may misspell “Amphetamine Aspartate” as “Amphetamine Aspartrte”

It is crucial to know what Adderall really looks like to potentially stop someone from buying the fake version recreationally. In the event of an emergency, one should call 911 as soon as possible.

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What is Adderall Called on the Streets?

By far, the most common street name for Adderall is ‘addy(s).’ Nine times out of ten, this is what you’ll hear when talking about Adderall. Other popular street names include:

  • Study Buddies
  • Smart Pills
  • Uppers
  • Beans
  • Pep Pills
  • Speed
  • Dexies
  • Zing
  • Black Beauties

How is Adderall Abused? Adderall Abuse on College Campuses

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Adderall is more common among college students than any other age group. College substance abuse is extremely common, especially when it comes to using Adderall. Most college kids won’t even bother going to the doctor for a prescription since they can find other ways to obtain it. Rather, they will self-medicate and often abuse the drug without a parent or doctor’s knowledge. 

In a recent study published in 2023, 15% of 1,663 college students reported that they took prescription stimulants in the past year, Adderall being the most used drug [2]. Adderall is most often abused among college students to help them pull all-nighters to study or get projects done. However, the danger arises when students take the drug and mix Adderall with alcohol and other drugs at parties.

College is a high-pressure environment. Whether the pressure is to get good grades or to spend time partying with friends, the pressures are there. Adderall is a drug that can be abused in the classroom or the party scene, which makes it potentially even more dangerous and addicting among college students.

The longer Adderall is taken, the greater the need to continue taking it. This makes it dangerously easy for someone to quickly develop a dependency or an addiction to the substance. Being open and honest with your doctor is of the utmost importance.

Does Adderall Make You High? Symptoms of Using Adderall

The physical symptoms of Adderall are usually experienced immediately after taking Adderall. Below are some of the most common symptoms: 

  • Improved attention span
  • Impulse control
  • Short breathes
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased brain activity
  • Increased heart rate
  • Loss of appetite which can lead to weight loss
  • Nervousness
  • Swelling
  • Dry mouth
  • Constricted blood vessels

These symptoms are the most common symptoms and side effects of Adderall. In addition, there are other side effects and consequences that are not as pleasant. 

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Signs of Adderall Addiction

In order to determine if one is experiencing an Adderall addiction, there are some signs one should be aware of. 

Some of the consequences include: 

  • Restlessness
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Changes in vision
  • Anxiety
  • Tics or seizures
  • Hallucinations and other thought problems
  • Increased depression symptoms

Not to mention the long-term effects the drug has on the body, like: 

  • Sleeping problems
  • Heart problems
  • Lack of motivation
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Aggression
  • Lethargy
  • Mood swings
  • Paranoia
  • Panic attacks
  • Thoughts of suicide

Even if you’ve been taking Adderall recreationally, if you experience any of these foul symptoms, speak to a doctor right away about what’s been going on. Nothing is more serious than your own health.

Adderall Dependence: Withdrawal and Overdose

Although overdosing on Adderall is not as common, those that experience addiction to Adderall are more at risk of overdose and death. Overdosing on prescription amphetamines constituted 2% of all overdose rates in 2017. Furthermore, Adderall is more likely to lead to overdose when it is mixed with other drugs or alcohol. Professional care is necessary to reduce the addiction and death rates of Adderall. If you witness anyone experiencing an overdose, call 911 immediately. 

Adderall Addiction Detox and Treatment

Depending on your tolerance, the frequency, and how long you’ve taken Adderall for, the detoxing can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Withdrawal symptoms usually only show up in those that have abused the drug and taken more than directed by a doctor, or taken it without speaking to a doctor at all.

The main withdrawal of drug detox treatment is the fact that dopamine levels will drop rapidly. Your brain and body must adjust to this change and compensate for the loss. There isn’t a real treatment method for someone experiencing Adderall withdrawal. However, it is important to ask for help or to speak with a doctor if you begin feeling powerless, fearful of the future, paranoid, or suicidal. 

Adderall might be looked at as a play drug by most college students, but it is still a controlled substance that requires a lot of discipline to take properly to avoid addiction. Remember, it’s never too late to ask for help.

How to Safely Take Adderall

First and foremost, Adderall should only be taken when prescribed by a doctor and should always be taken exactly as prescribed. If you feel the medication isn’t working as intended, it is vital to speak with your doctor instead of trying to self-medicate. Your doctor will work with you to ensure you get the relief you need without endangering yourself with addiction.

It is also crucial never to share your prescription with anyone else, especially someone with a history of drug or alcohol abuse. It should always be kept in a place away from public view and out of reach. 

Here are a few other pointers to remember when taking Adderall: 

  • Do not break, crush, or chew the tablet. Swallow it whole. 
  • You may take it with or without food.
  • It is best when taken first thing in the morning.
  • Always be open and honest with your doctor during your visits.

Adderall works by increasing connections between the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine in the central nervous system, when taken as directed. These connections speed up brain activity, and it usually lasts four to six hours unless the patient is prescribed extended-release (XR) capsules.

The XR version slowly releases the medication into the system rather than all at once. The patient may not feel the effects as strongly or suddenly, but it will last longer to help them make it all the way through the day.

Adderall Addiction Treatment at Avenues Recovery

Avenues Recovery Centers offer real, lasting recovery options for Adderall addiction. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction to Adderall, reach out to us today. We offer a wide array of resources and treatment options to help you recover. Find the Avenues location nearest you and take the first step towards your new life. You CAN have a future free of addiction!

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[1] www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov

[2] www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

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