Adderall Extended Release – Dangers of Abuse

What is Adderall?

Adderall is a prescription amphetamine drug that is used to treat symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Adderall works as a central nervous system stimulant, increasing attentiveness, cognitive function and alertness in patients. Adderall is widely prescribed and is considered to be safe to take at prescribed doses without risk of any serious side effects. Adderall is not known to be a habit-forming drug when taken at the prescribed dosage. Nevertheless, Adderall continues to be misused by many people, both for recreational and performance-enhancing purposes.

Adderall Extended Release - Dangers of Abuse
Adderall is a popular drug which is abused for recreational and performance-enhancing purposes. Many high school and college students misuse Adderall to as a study aid in order to help them stay up all night preparing for an exam or to help them to focus during class when they are sleep deprived. Students often obtain Adderall from other students who have medical prescriptions for the drug.

Adderall has also been used as a performance enhancer in other ways. Athletes, both amateur and professional, have used Adderall to increase their athletic performance since the drug keeps them sharp and alert. Some people use Adderall if they have to drive for long distances, usually overnight, and want to stay focused and avoid falling asleep at the wheel.

Adderall is also popular as a recreational drug when taken in higher doses. In higher doses, Adderall can produce euphoric effects similar to those one would experience with cocaine or other illicit stimulant drugs. When taken recreationally, it is common for people to snort Adderall. Some forms of Adderall, like Adderall XR (extended release), can deliver extremely high doses when snorted because the time-release action is bypassed. Improper use of Adderall XR can be especially dangerous since the body must react to a very large dose of Adderall at one time.

Prolonged misuse of Adderall can lead to addiction. Exceeding the recommended dosage can cause people using Adderall to build up a tolerance. When people develop a tolerance to Adderall, they will not get the same effects from the drug without taking a larger dose. Eventually, this pattern of increased dosage and increased tolerance leads to physical dependence and addiction. Once a person becomes addicted and dependent upon Adderall, they will not be able to stop using the drug without experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

Adderall withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Cravings
  • Tiredness
  • Excessive hunger
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Depression
As of right now, there are no medical treatments for Adderall addiction. Compared to other addictive drugs, like alcohol and opioids, the physical withdrawal symptoms of Adderall are less severe. The most effective treatment for Adderall addiction is cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps patients recover from drug addiction by identifying various cognitive patterns that are causing them to misuse drugs. By addressing different mental and emotional triggers, therapists can use cognitive behavioral therapy to help patients “rewire” in order to correct certain thought patterns which lead to drug-seeking behaviors. Other activities, such as meditation and exercise, have been shown to be effective in helping patients treat their addictions.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.