Adderall – Heart Risks and Other Effects

What is Adderall?

Adderall is an amphetamine stimulant drug that is used to treat Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, among other conditions. People with ADHD may struggle with focusing and paying attention (inattentive type) or controlling energy and impulses (hyperactive type). Adderall has proven to be effective in treating both types of ADHD.

Adderall is a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning that it has been approved for medical use but is considered to be a drug with a high potential for abuse and addiction. It has become a popular recreational drug and is also abused as a study aid and performance enhancer.

Adderall - Heart Risks and Other Effects
When used in the correct dosage, people who take Adderall may experience a feeling of slight euphoria, changes in sex drive, alertness and improved cognitive function. Patients who have ADHD benefit from the drug by becoming more focused and attentive. They are better able to perform day-to-day functions, retain information and avoid trivial distractions that would typically hinder their performance. When taken as recommended, there is little risk of becoming dependent upon Adderall. Patients who take the drug as directed are at little to no risk of heart or cardiovascular complications despite the fact that heart rates may increase slightly.
When taken in higher doses, Adderall can result in detrimental effects. Cognitive impairment, muscle breakdown and paranoia may be experienced by people who take large doses of Adderall. High doses can initiate drastic changes in the heart rate, heart rhythm, or blood pressure. At high enough doses, people who do have a tolerance to the drug can overdose, leading to even greater heart problems such as cardiovascular failure.
People who frequently take Adderall outside of its intended use are at a high risk of becoming dependent upon the drug. People who have become dependent upon Adderall will start to feel the withdrawal symptoms after not taking the drug. Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Cravings
  • Depression
  • Tiredness
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in sleep patterns

Adderall addiction causes relatively mild physical dependence symptoms when compared to other drugs of addiction like opioids and alcohol. Still, the psychological addiction can be very strong and may require professional therapy to address and overcome.

There are currently no available pharmaceutical treatments to help people overcome the physical withdrawal symptoms of Adderall dependence. While withdrawal symptoms may be severe for some patients, most people struggling with Adderall addiction and dependence will benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and other activities. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a tool used by mental health professionals to help people cope with drug addictions and other mental health concerns. By addressing cognitive issues, such as thought patterns, emotional reactions and habits, therapists can help patients discover new ways to deal with emotions and tackle old habits that lead to risk-taking behavior. Cognitive behavioral therapy, combined with group therapy, exercise and other activities, can be highly effective in addressing Adderall addiction.
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