What Are the Long-Term Effects of Adderall?

Adderall has many undesirable short-term effects, but its long-term effects can also be extremely disruptive and harmful to your overall health

Adderall has many undesirable short-term effects, but its long-term effects can also be extremely disruptive and harmful to your overall health. This is especially true if you’re abusing it.

The main long-term effects of Adderall include:1

  • Heart damage
  • Increased risk of heart attack 
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Weight loss/malnutrition
  • Mood disorders
  • Seizures
  • Respiratory problems
  • Ulcers
  • Skin problems
  • Panic attacks
  • Depression 
  • Addiction or other behavioral disorders
  • Overdose

If you’re struggling with Adderall addiction, you are more likely to suffer from the long-term effects of Adderall use. The professionals at Briarwood Detox Center are ready to help you take the first step and get help for Adderall addiction.

What Is Adderall?

Adderall is a stimulant drug and the brand name for the combination drug amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It’s primarily used to treat ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and it helps users by increasing their ability to pay attention, remain focused on an activity, and control behavior problems. Adderall works by changing the amounts of certain substances (called neurotransmitters) that are naturally found in the brain.2

Adderall may be prescribed as an oral tablet or the Adderall XR extended release oral capsule. It’s typically taken with food one to three times a day or once a day, depending on the person, the reason it’s prescribed, and the form of Adderall the doctor prescribes.

Since Adderall and other stimulant medications can increase focus, attention, and wakefulness, they are sometimes misused by students or professionals to enhance performance at school or work. People who want to lose weight might also misuse Adderall and other prescription stimulants because they are known to reduce appetite.

In 2017, about 5.2 million Americans ages 12 or older misused Adderall.3 Many of these people took someone else’s prescription Adderall or bought it illegally from a dealer or friend.

Like many other prescription medications, taking Adderall without a prescription or using it recreationally can produce physical tolerance and may lead to dependence and addiction. People who have a history of substance abuse may be more likely to develop an Adderall addiction.

Regardless, any misuse of Adderall can be dangerous and will increase your risk of addiction. You should never use Adderall at higher doses than prescribed or if you don’t have a prescription for it. 

If you take too much Adderall, not only do you risk getting addicted, but you could also experience harmful short-term and long-term side effects. Some of the long-term effects of Adderall may also have lasting health consequences.

Learn more about Adderall and other similar drugs:

What Are the Short-Term Effects of Adderall?

Adderall can cause some normal side effects when taken as prescribed by a doctor. Some people may not experience any side effects when they start taking Adderall or the side effects may go away after a week or two of taking it. Serious side effects of Adderall like hallucinations or psychosis are very rare, but they can sometimes occur in users. 

If you take Adderall as prescribed by your doctor, some of the normal side effects of Adderall can include:4

  • Restlessness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Mood swings
  • Head pain
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Heart palpitations
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Digestive problems

On the other hand, if you abuse Adderall, you could experience many other harmful side effects. Some of the most common side effects of Adderall abuse include:

  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Paranoia
  • Convulsions
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Hallucinations
  • Constipation
  • Weight loss
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Skin problems
  • Depression
  • Anxiety 
  • Seizures
  • Frequent urination
  • Dry mouth
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Twitching 
  • Pain in the lower back or side

People who do not have ADHD but take Adderall for a quick mental boost to get some work done or to stay awake longer may not experience the effects they desire. For those who do not have ADHD, Adderall may not produce any effects. Or, according to one 2018 study, it may even have the opposite effect, causing memory impairment.5 

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Adderall?

Even if you use Adderall as prescribed by your doctor, you might experience some harmful long-term side effects. Abusing Adderall can have more severe long-term effects and may lead to addiction, overdose, or even permanent bodily damage.

Common long-term effects of Adderall use include:

  • Heart damage
  • Increased risk of heart attack 
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Weight loss/malnutrition
  • Mood disorders
  • Seizures
  • Respiratory problems
  • Ulcers
  • Skin problems
  • Panic attacks
  • Depression 
  • Addiction or other behavioral disorders
  • Overdose

Some people may also crush Adderall pills into a fine powder and snort the powder up through their sinus cavity. They often do this to achieve more immediate effects. However, doing this also comes with its own set of long-term side effects, including destruction or damage to the nasal cavity, damage to the sinuses, and increased risk of overdose. Snorting Adderall can also amplify other harmful side effects like an irregular heartbeat.

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    Are There Any Permanent Effects of Adderall?

    Some physical side effects of Adderall, such as heart damage, may not improve over time.6 Medical experts are still researching the potential long-term effects of Adderall use, especially when it’s abused. While many of the significant side effects on the brain and body listed above are reversible, some may not be.

    If you take Adderall under the direct supervision of a doctor and only take your prescribed doses, you’re unlikely to experience any permanent effects of Adderall use. However, if you abuse Adderall and take higher doses than necessary, you are more likely to suffer lasting physical effects.

    Additional Consequences of Untreated Adderall Addiction

    If Adderall addiction and abuse is left untreated and continues for months or years, there could be additional personal consequences, such as:

    Long-term Adderall abuse not only produces harmful physical and psychological effects, but it’s also incredibly damaging to your personal life. While Adderall addiction can be difficult to overcome, with the right treatment and support, you can stop using Adderall and begin a new sober life for yourself.

    Signs of Adderall Addiction

    It’s not difficult to get a prescription for Adderall and it’s one of the most widely prescribed ADHD medications in the U.S. Not surprisingly, Adderall is frequently abused and has a significant risk of causing dependence and addiction.

    It’s not always easy to tell if a loved one is struggling with Adderall addiction, but there may be some noticeable signs. Common signs of Adderall addiction include:

    • Faking symptoms of ADHD to get an Adderall prescription
    • Ignoring important family or social obligations
    • Losing interest in regular hobbies and activities
    • Being unable to function normally without Adderall
    • Losing control of Adderall usage
    • Continuing to misuse Adderall even when it causes physical, psychological, or relational problems
    • Needing higher doses of Adderall to achieve the desired effects
    • Being preoccupied with thoughts of getting or using Adderall
    • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when the user cuts back or stops using Adderall

    What Are Common Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms?

    Over time, if you take too much Adderall, you may become physically and psychologically dependent on it. Adderall works by increasing the activity of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. As you continue taking it, your brain will become accustomed to the increased level of chemicals.

    If you suddenly stop taking Adderall, you’ll likely experience some withdrawal symptoms. This is because your brain believes it’s experiencing low levels of norepinephrine and dopamine and is reacting to the change in its chemical balance.

    Common Adderall withdrawal symptoms include:7

    • Severe depression
    • Fatigue 
    • Persistent cravings for Adderall
    • Increased appetite
    • Vivid or unpleasant dreams
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Problems thinking clearly
    • Slowed reflexes
    • Slow heart rate
    • Headaches

    Adderall withdrawal can be very uncomfortable but it’s different for everyone. Not everyone will experience the same symptoms. The severity of Adderall withdrawal symptoms can also be worse for some people. As such, it’s difficult to anticipate exactly what Adderall withdrawal will be like for any one person.

    However, the depression associated with Adderall withdrawal can be very intense and is much more than just feeling sad. Often, this is why Adderall withdrawal requires professional treatment at a detox center.

    How Long Does Adderall Withdrawal Last?

    Adderall’s half-life is about 9 to 14 hours. Withdrawal symptoms typically begin appearing a day or two after you stop using Adderall and can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.8

    The Adderall withdrawal timeline varies from person to person and depends on several factors, like:

    • How long you’ve been taking Adderall
    • How much Adderall you typically take each time you use it
    • Your metabolism, age, and other individual factors

    If you’re wondering, “How long does Adderall withdrawal last?” here’s what you can expect during detox.

    Adderall Withdrawal Timeline
    1 to 3 days after the last doseYou’ll start experiencing Adderall withdrawal symptoms during the first day or two of detox and they may be very intense early on. As the Adderall leaves your body, you’ll probably feel extremely fatigued, depressed, have difficulties sleeping, and have intense cravings.
    4 days to 2 weeks after the last doseWith time, your Adderall withdrawal symptoms will begin to dissipate and you’ll start feeling better. Overall, cravings will become less intense, you’ll gradually regain your energy, and you’ll get better sleep. Depressive symptoms may linger but a strong support system, therapy, and medical treatment can help you cope.
    Several weeks after the last doseSome people might experience prolonged Adderall withdrawal symptoms for several weeks or months after quitting. This is called post-acute withdrawal syndrome or PAWS. It’s recommended that you continue your Adderall addiction treatment with continued social support, therapy, and a drug rehab program. These things will help you cope with any lingering Adderall withdrawal symptoms and stay sober.

    How to Stop Taking Adderall Without Withdrawal

    If you’re addicted and trying to stop taking Adderall without withdrawal, your best bet is to seek treatment at a specialized Adderall detox center. Although medical detox for Adderall addiction isn’t guaranteed to eliminate all withdrawal symptoms, it is much more likely to reduce the severity and duration of Adderall withdrawal symptoms and treat the severe depression that comes with it.

    During an Adderall detox program, professional addiction treatment staff will monitor your vitals round the clock to make sure you are progressing safely through Adderall withdrawal. They will also administer medication as needed to manage any withdrawal symptoms you may experience and make sure you are as comfortable as possible.

    Generally, counseling, therapy, and group sessions are also provided during Adderall detox to help you deal with the psychological side effects of Adderall withdrawal.

    Relapse is common among people who misuse stimulant drugs and often, people relapse within just four weeks of quitting.9 Getting professional help through an Adderall detox program can reduce your likelihood of relapse by helping you establish a sober support system and develop relapse prevention strategies.

    After detox, you can enroll in a residential or outpatient rehab program to further address the underlying causes of your addiction, continue your addiction treatment with behavioral therapy, and receive social support from staff and sober peers.

    Get Help For Adderall Addiction Today

    If you’re addicted to Adderall, there’s help available now. Quitting Adderall may be difficult, but it’s not impossible. With the right treatment and support, you can get sober and start living the life you’ve always wanted to create for yourself.

    Please call (888) 857-0557 today to speak with a Briarwood Detox Center representative. We are available to provide more information about an Adderall detox program, verify your insurance benefits, and help you determine if our detox center is the right fit for you.

    References:

    1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3489818/ 
    2. https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-63163/adderall-oral/details 
    3. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/cbhsq-reports/NSDUHDetailedTabs2017/NSDUHDetailedTabs2017.pdf
    4. https://www.rxlist.com/adderall-drug.htm#side_effects
    5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29954141/
    6. https://www.healthline.com/health/adderall-effects-on-brain#brain-chemistry
    7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7138250/
    8. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2007/011522s040lbl.pdf 
    9. https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/drugtreat-pubs-modpsy-toc~drugtreat-pubs-modpsy-3~drugtreat-pubs-modpsy-3-7~drugtreat-pubs-modpsy-3-7-aws

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