The Drug Abuse Warning Network, also known as DAWN, witnessed a 650% spike in emergency room visits that were related to Adderall misuse or abuse from 2004 to 2011. There was a 100% spike from 2009 to 2011. Adderall is the brand name of the drug amphetamine-dextroamphetamine, which is a prescription medication fundamentally used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADHD symptoms.
Adderall works to enhance individuals struggling with ADHD focus and concentration levels. It is commonly abused in the following ways:
- Recreationally as a party drug
- Weight loss drug
- Study drug
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reported that there were 1.4 million nonmedical users who owned prescription stimulants in the month before the actual survey. College students are known to become more prone to abusing Adderall than any other demographics to “get ahead” or enhance their studies.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) published in the years of 2006-2007, that full-time college students around the ages of 18-22 were twice more likely to abuse Adderall than their peers who were not full-time students in college.
According to a 2011 study assembled by the Center for Young Adult Health and Development, over 61.8% of college students were at some point offered a prescription stimulant while in school.
What Are The Serious Side Effects Of Adderall Abuse In Adults?
- Sudden cardiac death
- Appetite suppression
- Sexual dysfunction
- Muscle weakness
- Kidney disease
- Abdominal pain
- Fast heartbeat
More Serious Side Effects Of Adderall Abuse In Adults
- Mood swings
- Panic attacks
What Are The Serious Health Risks Of Adderall?
Stimulants like Adderall are known to raise body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure all while suppressing individuals’ appetites and keeping them stimulated and awake. Engaging in regular Adderall abuse or use can result in altered brain structure and a changed way of emotional regulation. Side effects of Adderall abuse in adults can also result in issues with:
- The vascular system
- Heart muscles
- Other internal organs
Even if an individual uses Adderall once, this can result in dangerous Adderall side effects such as potential toxic overdose and sudden cardiac death. According to CBS News, between the years of 1999 and 2003, there were 25 reported fatalities and an additional 54 serious medical issues reported relating to ADHD stimulant medication use.
Many of these cases did have undiagnosed or prior conditions that might have played as contributing factors to the individual’s reactions to the drug. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety warning as a result of the risk of potential cardiac death when engaging in Adderall abuse or use. Even though confirmed cases are considered rare when the drug is used as it is intended to be.
It’s important to note that Adderall isn’t always used as it is intended to be. By engaging in nonmedical use of Adderall, the odds of negative outcomes are therefore increased. When an individual mixes Adderall with alcohol or other drugs, the risk for Adderall side effects ending up hazardous is increased.
Why Can’t Adderall Be Mixed With Other Drugs?
There are numerous reasons why it’s best not to mix Adderall with other drugs. Mixing Adderall with alcohol or other drugs increases the risk of hazardous side effects of Adderall abuse in adults. For example, alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, while Adderall is a stimulant. Adderall can keep a person awake and has the potential to possibly shut down internal cues.
When this process happens, the body is told that it has had enough alcohol, and this causes that individual to continue to drink. This process can result in alcohol poisoning as the alcohol reaches the bloodstream at toxic levels. The key factor to take away here is mixing Adderall with other substances isn’t ideal.
What Are Some Other Serious Side Effects Of Adderall Abuse?
- Difficult breathing
- Kidney problems
- Heart attack
- Blurred vision
- Chest pain
Adderall in Relation To Panic Attacks and Mood Swings/Disturbances
Adderall functions by increasing specific neurotransmitters’ presence in an individual’s brain and interfering with the way some of the neurotransmitters create a buildup and are reabsorbed. Serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine are particularly attached. These chemical messengers are responsible for the following:
- Creating feelings of pleasure
- Increasing energy levels
- Stimulating the brain
They “talk” to various parts of the brain responsible for:
- Regulation of emotions
- Internal motivation
As the regions of the brain and their messengers are altered artificially by drugs such as Adderall, the chemical structures slowly begin to change. The individual’s brain might stop producing dopamine of its own since the body is accustomed to Adderall producing it.
Since Adderall has guaranteed that dopamine will remain present, the brain will produce less of it. After this process, Adderall leaves the bloodstream and the dopamine levels begin to drop. Once this occurs, the good feelings associated with dopamine also disappear.
Panic, depression, and anxiety might begin to set in. These are typical symptoms of withdrawal, which can happen after dependence has been formed from chronic use of a particular drug.
Adderall is considered a highly potent drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). This classifies Adderall as a Schedule II controlled substance, which is the highest level of control for a drug that has accepted medicinal uses.
What Are Some Widespread Symptoms Of Adderall Use?
Adderall withdrawal symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable and include psychological and physical side effects of Adderall abuse in adults. When an individual is addicted to Adderall, they might present the following widespread symptoms of Adderall abuse in adults.
- Difficulty sleeping
- Feel irritable and jittery
- Experience drug cravings
- Notice an appetite change
- Drastic mood shifts/swings
- Feel down and extremely fatigued
- Potentially have thoughts of suicide
If Adderall is abused or used over a long period, it can take a long time to reverse changes in the individual’s brain. It can also take time for the neurotransmitter levels to return to their previous levels before the introduction of the drug. More often than not, detox is the smoothest and safest way to remove the drug from the individual’s body.
In some cases, the introduction of stimulant drugs has the likelihood of triggering psychosis or panic attacks in an individual, which can include delusions or hallucinations. During this process when the individual’s “fight or flight” reflex is turned on, blood pressure, body temperature, and heart rate might spike.
A New York Times study published in 2006 estimated that about 1 in 400 patients might suffer from psychotic behaviors and suicidal thoughts when taking ADHD stimulant medications as directed. These discussed risks have the possibility of increasing with recreational or nonmedical use.
Adderall Relation To Gastrointestinal Problems And Cardiovascular Issues
Since Adderall can raise heart rate and blood pressure gradually over time, this can weaken or damage parts of the cardiovascular system in an individual’s body, which includes:
These vital vessels and organs are forced to work more diligently due to the drug’s interaction in the person’s body. After a while, it’s common to become strained with long-term use. High blood pressure or hypertension and tachycardia, an elevated heart rate is reported commonly with stimulant drug abuse or use.
An individual’s lungs might also be damaged with Adderall use, which can result in the following:
- Pulmonary disease
- Trouble breathing
- Reduced lung capacity
An individual can also experience irregular heart rate, chest pain, and heart palpitations while engaging in Adderall use. If a person already has an underlying medical issue or a heart condition, using Adderall can be extremely dangerous. This can result in a stroke, heart attack, or seizures. When it comes to a person’s digestive system, the muscles are slowed down by Adderall use.
Once this process occurs, gastrointestinal issues can happen such as constipation and abdominal pain. Diarrhea, nausea, and the need to urinate are also side effects of Adderall abuse in adults. Since Adderall is known to decrease an individual’s appetite, it is likely to suffer from unintentional anorexia or unhealthy weight loss.
When an individual does not eat an adequate amount of food, it can result in malnutrition which is known to affect numerous vital organs and present serious side effects on a person’s body. Coupled with the challenging sleeping schedule that Adderall induces, the brain and the body have difficulty functioning at normal rates. A person’s kidneys and other organs can be damaged by Adderall use, which can result in potential kidney failure.
How Do Adderall Side Effects Affect Women Differently?
Body fat percentage, hormones, and much more can vary greatly between men and females, making side effects differ for each gender group. The psychological differences have the power to alter how drugs such as Adderall can affect a person on more of an individual level, regardless of whether the drug is taken or abused as prescribed or for nonmedical reasons.
The Food and Drug Administration’s information on Adderall documents that the average body weight among women can influence dose administration. This occurs because the bioavailability is changed of one of the amphetamines in Adderall side effects in females. When the dosage isn’t based on the actual body mass of the specific female, the amount of amphetamine that the female processed was 20-30% higher.
Once the dose was adjusted, the amount of amphetamine was normalized and similar results across genders were produced. There were two other amphetamines discovered in Adderall that weren’t influenced by gender or age. Some medical studies have indicated that a female’s menstrual cycle which is fundamentally influenced by estrogen can greatly affect how bioavailable Adderall presents in her body.
During the first 14 days of the menstrual cycle, also known as the follicular phase, Adderall is known to present a greater impact on the female’s body, resulting in negative side effects. Women have reported experiencing stronger cravings, physical dependency, and feeling high as a part of Adderall side effects in females. The presence of estrogen during this process aimed to enhance amphetamine effects since estrogen can trigger dopamine release in the brain.
Adderall Sides Effects in Females
Adderall side effects in females differ from Adderall side effects in men. The abuse of this substance in women presents more serious side effects than it does for men:
- Difficulty staying asleep or sleeping
- Bowel movement changes
- Increased anxiety
- Decreased libido
- Dry mouth
The most common Adderall side effect in females that is sought out is weight loss. Adderall increases energy but decreases appetite. When women engage in Adderall abuse, they tend to eat less often and exercise more intensely. During this process, rapid weight loss is a big result.
It’s important to understand that shedding several pounds at an exponential rate is super dangerous. Anorexia can cause liver damage, cardiovascular damage, and dramatically slow metabolism. When an individual engages in nonmedical doses of Adderall, the side effects are:
- Increased heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Mood swings
Women who are pregnant should not engage in Adderall use because it’s not considered safe. However, Adderall has been found in small studies to be an effective treatment approach for menopause negative symptoms. It is effective in treating the following:
- Concentration associated with hormonal changes
- Attention problems
- Memory concerns
Recovery Awaits At Northern Illinois
It’s important to note that Adderall abuse can result in Adderall side effects in any individual, regardless of gender or age. The most intoxicating substances present varied effects in people based on weight, gender, and age. Here in Northern Illinois, we understand the power addiction and substance use have on a person. Contact us today to be one step closer to a sober life!