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What Does Adderall Abuse Look Like?

By Shweta Iyer
Adderall abuse is a growing concern in the United States. Find out how to identify symptoms of Adderall drug abuse for timely intervention.

Adderall is a prescription medication, often used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and a sleep disorder called narcolepsy. While the drug is prescribed to provide relief from symptoms of these disorders, there are dangers of Adderall abuse that can result in addiction and serious side-effects like depression and anxiety.  

Signs and Symptoms Your Loved One is Abusing Adderall

Adderall is a stimulant, which means that it alters the composition of certain naturally occurring substances in the brain. Altered levels of these substances increase your brain activity, according to American Addiction Centers. When you take Adderall as prescribed by your doctor, it helps in controlling symptoms of ADHD by helping you remain focused and alert.

But according to the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, Adderall is increasingly being misused by people to get high or to enhance performance.

“Although Adderall is prescribed by a doctor, the assumption that it is a safe and harmless drug is far from the truth,” Benjamin Todd Thatcher, DO, CMRO, chief medical officer at HighlandSprings in Utah, tells WebMD Connect to Care. 

Adderall is classified as a controlled substance by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency. This means that it has a high potential for abuse and can lead to addiction. Regularly taking Adderall without consulting your doctor or at a dose higher than what is recommended, puts you at a high risk of Adderall addiction.  

Oftentimes, it's hard to identify if an individual is abusing the drug,” Thatcher says. This is why it’s important to watch out for signs of drug abuse. 

According to the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, a person abusing Adderall may show the following symptoms:

  • A decrease in appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Dry mouth
  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure 
  • Lack of motivation
  • Extreme fatigue 
  • Panic attacks
  • Impotence
  • Aggression
  • Anxiety Depression 

According to the Discovery Institute, Adderall is being increasingly used by college students to help them remain focused and alert during exams. The misuse of Adderall can quickly turn into an addiction with users needing more and more of the drug to feel its effects. This addiction can lead to health issues like headaches, tremors, or even a heart attack due to an overdose, according to the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. 

Don’t Wait. Get Help Now.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, WebMD Connect to Care Advisors are standing by to help.

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