Is Adderall Bad for You?
How to Tell When Adderall Can Become Dangerous
Adderall is very commonly prescribed for attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders, especially to school-aged minors and college students having difficulty focusing on their studies. It is also sometimes prescribed to those suffering from narcolepsy, and those with extreme cases of obesity as an appetite suppressant and metabolism booster. So, is Adderall bad for you? There are circumstances in which it can be.
When it is taken under the instructions of a doctor, and in doses no greater than what is prescribed, Adderall is considered to be medically safe. The main issue with Adderall is that it is a strong type of amphetamine, and is chemically very similar to methamphetamine (meth). Though it is considered to be safer than meth, it can nevertheless have similar properties and risks when it is abused.
People with prescriptions may start abusing Adderall for recreational purposes due to the feeling of stimulation, focus and increased energy it provides. Unfortunately, any amphetamine has the potential to become addictive, and this is true of Adderall.
Adderall's Addictive Potential
Adderall is considered by medical science to be safer than meth since it does not cross the blood-brain barrier nearly as quickly, and therefore is much less likely to have the dangerous side effects or to hit users as hard. Nevertheless, it does function in the way that amphetamines generally do, which is to gradually create a tolerance in the user. That's a problem for recreational users, who will have to take larger and larger doses to achieve the same effect. As the doses get bigger, the likelihood of developing a physical dependency and psychological addiction symptoms increases.
The doses that doctors prescribe are designed to be safe and to minimize the risk of physical dependency as much as possible. Recreational users put themselves at risk when they begin using the drug more frequently or taking larger doses than are prescribed. Those that don't have a prescription and obtain it illegally are also at increased risk as they have no baseline knowledge of what a safe dose is.
Symptoms of the onset of Adderall dependence include headaches, nausea, sleep disorders, appetite disorders and a lack of energy after ceasing use of the drug.
Dangers Specific to Recreational Use
Adderall is generally administered orally, and pills often have an extended release formula to lengthen the useful time of each dose while also minimizing addiction risk. Given their need for progressively larger doses, recreational users will often take Adderall in risky ways to try to defeat this extended release safeguard.
The most common method of Adderall abuse is to crush it into powder and snort it, or inject it after dissolving it in water. Each method presents unique health risks. Those who snort Adderall often experience respiratory symptoms, and the gradual decay of the cartilage in their nose. Users who inject Adderall and share needles while doing so are at greatly increased risk of contracting blood-borne diseases.
Adderall Side Effects
Adderall users can experience a wide range of common side effects. These include anxiety, nervousness, mood swings, headaches, dizziness, dry mouth, blurry vision, loss of appetite and decreased libido.
More serious side effects of Adderall that can occur in some cases include increased blood pressure, heart palpitations, gastrointestinal disturbance, hair loss and insomnia.
Taking larger doses than medically prescribed increases the risk of all of these side effects.
Users who take Adderall recreationally without a doctor's supervision are also at risk due to a wide range of negative interactions with other medications. Adderall can have adverse interactions with blood pressure medications, antacids, antidepressants and allergy medicines among others.
It is possible to overdose on Adderall. The lethal dose can vary between individuals, but generally 20-25 mg per kilogram of body weight is considered to put users at serious risk for death. Before the problem gets to this point, seek help from a properly licensed and certified drug rehab treatment center.