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February 2019: Adderall Addiction

Dangers of Snorting and Injecting Adderall

Adderall is a brand name drug that combines two stimulants: amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It is used to treat hyperactivity, distractability, inattention, and/or impulsivity, as well as any other symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD). 

Originally Adderall was only immediate release, meaning the effects would hit the body right away and individuals with ADHD or ADD would need to take multiple pills throughout the day. This complicated treatment for children, especially in a school setting where they needed a school nurse to administer treatment. Adderall XR was the solution, an extended release pill lasting approximately 12 hours. 

Snorting or injecting Adderall transmits large quantities of stimulants directly into your body. As opposed to taking the drug orally, where the releases is extended as it passes through the GI tract, injecting or snorting Adderall sends the full release immediately into the blood stream and to the brain. 



The Risks of Snorting or Injecting Adderall

Compared to oral administration, snorting or injecting Adderall sends the full release immediately into the blood stream which can result in a rapid surge of dopamine in the brain. Misusing the prescription in this way may increase the likelihood of developing an addiction. Side effects of snorting Adderall may include the following:

  • Paranoia or hallucinations
  • Aggression or mood swings
  • Confusion and dizziness
  • Cardiovascular complications including chest pains, erratic heart beat, or difficulty breathing
  • Increase in body temperature
  • Malnutrition or weight loss 
  • Seizures or stroke

Similar to snorting cocaine, snorting Adderall can severely damage the nose. Snorting can result inloss of smell, nosebleeds, frequent runny nose, and problems with swallowing. 

Injection Adderall can cause even more serious health issues than snorting, with potential life threatening consequences. Repeated drug injection, into the same vein or area, can lead to collapsed veins, infection, and chronic venous disorders (CVD). While the body may respond by creating new veins, they are small and result in poor circulation. With repeated use, damaged veins can create clots which result in itching, cold hands or feet, and sharp pain.

Additional risks come from crushed up pills. When pills aren’t fully dissolved they send small particles through the veins, creating blockages, further compounding the circulatory effects of intravenous drug use. Injected drugs may also contain contaminants creating infections which in some cases can cause permanent damage. Intravenous drug use also carries significant risks from shared needles including HIV, Hepatitis C, bone infections, and tuberculosis among other diseases. Of the 16 million individuals who inject drugs globally, approximately 3 million of them have HIV.

Facts on Adderall Misuse

The number of people ages 18–29 seeking emergency care because of prescription stimulant misuse rose from 3,758 in 2004 to 20,532 in 2011 (Dawn, 2011)

In 2017, an estimated 18 million people (more than 6 percent of those aged 12 and older) have misused such medications at least once in the past year. (2017 NSDUH)

NIDA’s Monitoring the Future survey of substance use and attitudes in teens found that about 6% of high school seniors reported past-year non-medical use of the prescription stimulant Adderall in 2017.


Adderall increases your heart rate and blood pressure and may cause shortness of breath.  As a result, Adderall overdose may lead to sudden death, especially if the individual has a pre-existing heart condition or family history of heart conditions. Snorting or injecting Adderall increases the risk of overdose, drug dependency, and has adverse affects both short-term and long-term on the body. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Adderall addictive?

While stimulants have the potential for addiction, when used properly and monitored in coordination with a physician, there is minimum to no likelihood of becoming addicted to Adderall. It’s function, when used as directed, assists brain neurons in operating normally. When misused or used by individuals without a prescription, Adderall as with any other stimulant can be addictive.

Can Adderall increase my intelligence?

TIME magazine’s article Adderall May Not Make You Smarter, But It Makes You Think You Are highlights a study on whether Adderall actually offered improvement on tests. The study’s results, not surprising from the title, indicated that students didn’t actually perform better on tests of cognitive function. The drug did however provide students with an inflated sense of productivity, likely from the increase in dopamine released in the brain by the drug.

Do I have an Adderall addiction?

According to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition (DSM-5), there are eleven criteria defining a substance use condition including: 

  • Taking more of the substance than prescribed or for longer than the prescription indicates
  • If you have cravings or urges to continue or overuse the substance
  • Continuing to use the drug, even when you know its having negative physical or psychological effects
  • The development of withdrawal symptoms when you cease taking the drug

If you think you may have an Adderall addiction, CONTACT US today and speak with our admission team to talk about how to get help.

What are the side effects of Adderall use?

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) large doses of stimulants can result in psychosis, seizures, and cardiovascular events. Additional potential risks include: anorexia, constipation, dizziness, dry mouth, headache, insomnia, jitteriness, irritability, nausea, and sexual disfunction. Misuse can also affect and raise the body’s temperature which can present additional cardiovascular risks for athletes misusing the drug. 

The Signs of Adderall Abuse

Adderall abuse can be difficult to identify for parents, friends, or relatives if they aren’t aware of the side-effects and signs of abuse. While symptoms and affects can vary between people, common signs of Adderall abuse include:

  • Weight loss, the drug has the side effect of suppressing hunger. 
  • Disruption in sleep patterns or sleeping difficulties. You may notice your teen staying up throughout the night repeatedly. 
  • Sudden or gradual deterioration in self-care (showering, grooming, etc.) is an indication drug abuse may be occurring. 
  • Behavior changes, including theft, may occur to fund their continued use. You may also notice an increase in social isolation. 

If you or someone you love is suffering from an Adderall addiction, it’s important to get help. Adderall overdoses can cause a coma, brain damage, or death. Significant dosages not only affect the brain, but the body’s core temperature, and can lead to cardiovascular complications. An addiction treatment center can be effective for getting clean from Adderall. The initial decline in dopamine levels from cessation can be a big struggle for someone looking to come off of the drug. An experienced clinical team of psychologists can help offer the therapy, support, and education for them to overcome this challenge.

Long-Term Effects of Adderall Abuse

Mood or behavior changes as Adderall can alter the brain if misused over a long period

Drug-induced psychosis has been reported in 8%–46% of regular users of amphetamines (NCIB)

Heart disease and other cardiovascular complications 

Anxiety and increased aggression

Depression, paranoia, stroke, and seizures may occur in some cases

Get Help At One Of Our Locations

If you think you have an Adderall addiction, our experienced team can offer help at one of our modern locations in Colorado. Adderall addiction can be difficult to overcome by yourself. The first step is reaching out. We help people from across the United States get the help they need. Contact us today if you need help or would like more information. 

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