Many people are familiar with ADHD medication, but few could elaborate on the effects of Adderall and whether Adderall is addictive.

If you’ve wondered what Adderall is used for, who uses Adderall, what Adderall is abused and more, you’re in the right spot. Here’s what you need to know.

What is Adderall?

Adderall is a combination of two substances, amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Both of these substances belong to a class of drugs known as stimulants, meaning they stimulate, or energize the body’s central nervous system.

Adderall is a medication that comes in pill form and is taken orally. Depending on when a person desires the favorable effects of the medication, the pill can be taken once, twice or up to three times a day. Two doses of Adderall should be taken at least four hours apart. 

What is Adderall used for?

The most common uses of Adderall are in the treatment of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, a sleep disorder. Adderall can help individuals with these conditions by improving a person’s ability to:

  • Pay attention
  • Focus on a task
  • Stay organized
  • Regulate behavior
  • Improve someone’s ability to listen

When Adderall is abused, it’s commonly sought to push off sleep, induce a state of hypervigilance or improve performance in athletics or academics. 

Who uses Adderall?

Many people who have ADHD have been prescribed Adderall, although there are other medications that produce similar effects including Concentra, Dexedrine, Evekeo, Focalin XR and so on. Individuals who struggle with narcolepsy may also use Adderall or other substances such as Provigil and Nuvigil. 

These medications may work for different individuals at different times, and if your prescription does not produce the desired effect or causes negative symptoms, talk with your psychiatrist. 

While there are legitimate uses of Adderall in the treatment of mental and physical health conditions, Adderall is also one of the most common drugs of abuse according to the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. College and high school students make up the largest population of those who struggle with Adderall abuse.

Why is Adderall abused?

The reasons for the development of an addiction to any substance require a complex answer. Addiction develops for a variety of reasons, from biological predispositions to addiction and environmental stressors. 

However, there are a few reasons that Adderall itself is sought out and abused so commonly.

  • Adderall is easy to obtain: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that over six million children meet the diagnostic criteria for ADHD. Adderall is commonly prescribed to these children as young as six years old, up through adulthood. The prevalence of Adderall in young populations makes it easier to obtain 
  • Adderall can help you stay awake: Since Adderall is a stimulant, it keeps a person awake and alert, potentially helping students complete more school work, study longer or spend more time engaging in social activities.
  • Adderall can improve your focus: we all struggle to maintain our focus from time to time, and many individuals feel that Adderall can curb their distractibility.
  • Adderall may change your appetite: the pressure to be thin often drives people to use substances because stimulants can suppress a person’s appetite. 
  • Adderall is seen as a less addictive drug: due to the fact that many young people have been prescribed Adderall, it’s viewed as a “safe” drug. While Adderall can provide benefits when it’s taken according to a doctor’s orders, abusing any substance can have disastrous effects. 

There are many other possible reasons for the development of an Adderall addiction— these are simply the most frequent causes.

Is Adderall addictive?

Yes. Adderall, when taken repeatedly, actually changes your brain’s structure. This causes your body to develop a dependency on the drug, making it so that you experience cravings and withdrawal when your body is deprived of the drug. 

You might be wondering then, how does Adderall work and why does it produce these effects? Adderall, while less addictive than opioids, for instance, is still a dangerous substance because it increases the release of a neurotransmitter called dopamine, which is a feel-good chemical. This alters the reward system in your brain, making it incredibly difficult to resist urges to use again.

Where do I get help for Adderall abuse?

If you’ve started to abuse Adderall and don’t know where to turn, Real Recovery can help. With partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs, you’ll find an intervention that meets your needs and gets you on the path to freedom in no time. Call today.