Adderall Effects & Treatment Options
Adderall is a prescription medication that is used to treat ADHD. It is a stimulant that increases energy, alertness, and focus.1 However, Adderall is also a Schedule II controlled substance, which means that it has a high potential for misuse which can potentially lead to dependence, and addiction.
In 2021, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that over 3,700 people had misused prescription stimulants in the past year. Of these, the vast majority (3,400 respondents) have misused amphetamines such as Adderall.2
Adderall Side Effects
There are some common side effects associated with Adderall use. These may include:3
- Trouble sleeping.
- Unintentional weight loss.
- Decreased appetite.
- Mood swings.
- Dry mouth.
- Irregular heartbeat.
Effects of Misusing Adderall
Misuse of prescription stimulants like Adderall can include:1
- Taking more of the drug than is prescribed.
- Taking someone else’s prescription.
- Using the medication to get high.
People may also misuse Adderall by crushing the tablets to snort, smoke, or inject the powdered form.1
Misuse of prescription stimulants such as Adderall poses a significant risk to your physical and mental health. Some of the short-term effects of misusing prescription stimulants can include:1
- Increased blood pressure.
- Increased heart rate.
- Increased respiratory rate.
- Decreased blood flow.
In 2021, around 3.7 million people aged 12 and older misused prescription stimulants.2 Adolescents and young adults often misuse Adderall because they mistakenly believe it will help improve academic performance.1 Older adults may also misuse prescription stimulants in the hopes of improving cognition.1 However, there is no evidence that Adderall enhances cognitive performance in people not diagnosed with ADHD. In fact, Adderall misuse — particularly at high doses — can have serious side effects, including:1,4
- Increased anger and aggression.
- Heart failure.
Mixing Adderall with Drugs or Alcohol
When someone uses more than one drug simultaneously, intentionally or unintentionally, it is referred to as polysubstance use.5 Mixing drugs can be dangerous because it can alter how they affect you, often unpredictably.5 Polysubstance use of Adderall with alcohol or other drugs can be hazardous.
Some of the effects of polysubstance use can include:5
- Brain injury.
- Liver damage.
- Heart attack.
- Increased risk of overdose.
When you drink alcohol and take other drugs, such as Adderall, you are at increased risk of serious health problems. Alcohol has depressant effects, and Adderall is a stimulant. When these two substances are combined, they can put a strain on your heart, lungs, and other organs.5
Additionally, mixing stimulants with depressants, such as when using Adderall and alcohol together, can mask the effects of the substances. This can result in someone taking more of either substance than intended, increasing the risk of overdose.5
Adderall misuse, especially at higher doses or for a prolonged period, can lead to physiological dependence. When someone has become physically dependent on a substance, like Adderall, it means that their body has become so accustomed to the presence of the drug that it requires it to function normally that withdrawal symptoms may emerge when use is stopped or reduced.3
Some of the symptoms of Adderall withdrawal may include the following:3
- Depressed or dysphoric mood.
- Vivid or unpleasant dreams.
- Hypersomnia (sleeping too much) or insomnia (inabiity to fall or stay asleep).
- Increased appetite.
- Psychomotor retardation or agitation.
When Adderall is misused or taken at high doses, there is a risk of overdose. An overdose occurs when someone takes a large amount of a drug, producing a life-threatening reaction.1
The symptoms of an Adderall overdose may include: 3
- Restlessness and feelings of panic.
- Rapid respiratory rate.
- Increased risk of serotonin syndrome.
- Cardiovascular effects, including arrhythmias, hypertension, hypotension, or circulatory collapse.
- Gastrointestinal symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal cramps.
- In cases of fatal poisoning, convulsions or coma may occur.
Adderall Addiction Help
A hallmark of Adderall addiction is the inability to control use despite negative consequences to your life, health, and relationships. If you or a loved one struggling with an addiction to Adderall and/or other drugs, there is help available.
To find out more information, contact our admissions navigators at for a free, private phone consultation and start treatment as soon as possible. Our team can answer your questions about paying for rehab, using insurance to pay for rehab, and finding out more about how Laguna can get you on the road to recovery.
American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information. We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.
While we are unable to respond to your feedback directly, we'll use this information to improve our online help.