Adderall is meant to treat conditions like ADHD, but some people misuse it to get high. Learn more about the side effects and dangerous risks of Adderall misuse.

Adderall is a prescription drug that acts as a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. CNS stimulants speed up the functionality of the central nervous system and also change how the brain senses messages. Adderall affects two brain neurotransmitters in particular: dopamine and norepinephrine.

Does Adderall Make You High?

Yes, becoming high from Adderall is possible, particularly at high doses or when using the drug without a prescription. People who truly need Adderall and take it as prescribed shouldn’t experience a high.

The effects of an Adderall high are likely to be more intense when the immediate-release version of the drug is used, but abusing this drug in any way is risky. Some of the risks include addiction, physical dependence, cardiovascular symptoms and even sudden death in some cases. It’s important never to use Adderall to achieve a high. It’s not only illegal — it’s potentially deadly.

The Effects of an Adderall High

The effects tend to be more pronounced when someone takes immediate-release versions of the drug. With extended-release formulations, the effects are gradual. This is why some people abuse extended-release (or Adderall XR) in other ways, such as snorting it, to get more of an effect at one time.

At the time, they may feel euphoric, energetic and have a rush of self-confidence. A person may feel like they can accomplish a lot more, and they’re likely to be focused for long periods of time on tasks that they might otherwise find boring. 

Though, when someone comes down from the high, they’re likely to feel anxious or depressed. Some even experience psychotic symptoms in some cases. They may sleep for long periods, experience rebound hunger and feel like they don’t have the motivation to do anything. 

Overview of Adderall and Intended Use

Adderall is prescribed to children and adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It can also be used to treat narcolepsy. The medication is available in immediate-release and extended-release versions (or IR and XR formulations). Adderall is a controlled substance in the U.S., meaning it is illegal to use without a prescription or in ways other than prescribed.

When someone without ADHD or narcolepsy takes Adderall or the drug is misused, they may experience a high. It triggers reward pathways in the brain, which then creates a cycle of psychological addiction.

What to Know About Being High on Adderall

When a doctor prescribes a patient Adderall, they carefully work on the dosage to make sure it’s well-suited to their patient’s needs. Adderall, particularly in its immediate-release version, comes in many incremental doses. This allows a physician to start with the smallest dose that might work for a patient and increase it if necessary.

Adderall is a drug with a potential for abuse, particularly when it’s taken without a prescription or in high doses. When someone is high on Adderall, they will experience euphoria, increased concentration, high energy and feelings of self-confidence. College students, in particular, may misuse this drug in an attempt to increase focus for studying

A high isn’t something that should occur when the drug is taken as prescribed.

If you or a loved one is struggling with Adderall addiction, The Recovery Village can help. We encourage you to learn about treatment plans and programs available that can help you live a sober, healthy life.

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Editor – Jonathan Strum
Jonathan Strum graduated from the University of Nebraska Omaha with a Bachelor's in Communication in 2017 and has been writing professionally ever since. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Conor Sheehy, PharmD, BCPS, CACP
Dr. Sheehy completed his BS in Molecular Biology at the University of Idaho and went on to complete his Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) at the University of Washington in Seattle. Read more

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Prescription Stimulants DrugFacts.”>&[…]t;[…]ts DrugFacts.” June 2018. Accessed June 17, 2020.

Food and Drug Administration. “Adderall.”>Adderall.” March 2007. Accessed June 17, 2020.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with 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 providers.