Dextroamphetamine vs. Adderall

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Dextroamphetamine and Adderall are two similar yet distinct drugs. In this article, we will analyze the features of each one as well as the differences between adderall and dextroamphetamine. We will also explore how they can be misused and how their drug abuse can be treated.

What Is Dextroamphetamine?

Dexedrine (the brand name for Dextroamphetamine) is a central nervous system stimulant that works by increasing the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain - neurotransmitters that are involved in attention, motivation, and impulse control. Dexedrine is used to treat ADHD by helping individuals to focus better, control their impulses, and reduce hyperactivity. It can also help people with narcolepsy to stay awake during the day by feeling more energetic and alert.

How long does dextroamphetamine last? The effects of dextroamphetamine last for about 8-10 hours.

Side Effects of Dextroamphetamine

The side effects of dextroamphetamine can vary from person to person and can be more or less severe depending on the dose. Some of the most common side effects include:

  • Nervousness
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Stomach upset
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Changes in sex drive

In rare cases, dextroamphetamine can cause more serious side effects, such as:

  • Serotonin syndrome
  • Psychosis
  • Seizures
  • Heart problems
  • Liver problems
  • Addiction

What is Adderall? 

Adderall is also a central nervous system stimulant used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy, but whereas Dexedrine is just made up of Dextroamphetamine, Adderall is a combination of Dextroamphetamine and Amphetamine.

Its effects are very much the same as Dexedrine - helping individuals with ADHD to reduce their restlessness and distraction from external stimuli, causing them to be more focused and controlled. It also helps people with narcolepsy to stay awake during the day.

The side effects of Adderall are similar to those of dextroamphetamine, as Adderall is a combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine.

Are Dextroamphetamine and Adderall the Same Thing?

Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine) and Adderall are similar in that they are both prescription stimulant medications used to treat the same conditions. However, they are not the same.

As we already mentioned, Dexedrine contains only dextroamphetamine, while Adderall contains a mixture of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. Dextroamphetamine is considered to be the more potent form of amphetamine, so Dexedrine is generally stronger than Adderall.

Another difference between Dexedrine and Adderall is the way they are released into the body. Dexedrine is an immediate-release medication, meaning that it is released into the bloodstream all at once. Adderall, on the other hand, is an extended-release medication, meaning that it is released into the bloodstream gradually over time.

Both drugs come in two formats: immediate-release tablets and extended-release tablets. For Adderall, the immediate release lasts 4-6 hours, while the extended release lasts up to 12 hours. For Dexedrine, the immediate release form lasts 4-6 hours, while the extended release lasts up to 8 hours.

Addiction Potential of Adderall vs Dexedrine

Both Adderall and dextroamphetamine have a high potential for addiction. They are both Schedule II controlled substances, meaning that they have a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence.

The addiction potential of Adderall and dextroamphetamine is due to the way they affect the brain. They increase the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, which are neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) that are involved in reward and motivation. This can lead to a feeling of euphoria and increased energy, which can be addictive.

Prescription drug abuse is defined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as “using a medication not prescribed for you, using a medication in a manner other than prescribed… or using a medication for the experience or feeling the drug can cause.” To explain each part of this definition further:

  1. Using a medication not prescribed for you - This can mean stealing medicine prescribed for someone else or someone with a legitimate prescription, or sharing/ giving the drugs to a friend. Individuals can also forge or alter prescriptions to get drugs they are not entitled to.
  2. Using medication in a manner other than prescribed - This refers to taking medication that is prescribed to you, but taking a higher dosage than prescribed or taking the drug more frequently than prescribed. Alternatively, it includes taking medicine in a different way than one is supposed to, such as crushing pills and snorting them or combining them with alcohol.
  3. Using a medication for the experience or feeling the drug can cause - This refers to using medicine for non-medicinal purposes (i.e., getting high).

Recognizing Stimulant Abuse

In addition to these factors just listed, other signs and symptoms of addiction to Adderall or dextroamphetamine can include:

  • Craving the medication
  • Feeling anxious or irritable when not taking the medication
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Changes in appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Social isolation

As the prescriptions of ADHD stimulants increased, the misuse of stimulant medication has also been growing over the past two decades. There are concerns that greater access to prescription stimulant medication could lead to potential misuse in the general population. 

Who is Likely to Abuse Stimulant Drugs?

College students in particular are one demographic that has been shown to abuse stimulant drugs for cognitive enhancement (i.e. increased focus and concentration, ability to study for long periods of time etc.). Adderall and dextroamphetamine give users the feeling of more energy, and students misuse the drugs to help stay awake for long periods, particularly in exam season when they might want to stay up late studying.

Other people who are at risk of developing an addiction to Adderall or dextroamphetamine include those with a history of substance abuse, those with mental health disorders, and those who take high doses of the medication for extended periods of time due to the severity of their ADHD.

If you are concerned that you or someone you know may be addicted to Adderall or dextroamphetamine, it is important to seek professional help. Avenues Recovery Center offers a wide array of resources and treatment options to help you recover in both inpatient and outpatient drug programs. Find the nearest Avenues location to you and take the first step towards a life free from addiction. Our dedicated and talented team will be at your side every step of the way! If you are serious about addiction recovery, contact us today so that we can begin the journey towards the happy, healthy and sober future you deserve.

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