More than 40 million people used Adderall in 2021, up from 32 million in 2017. This may not take into account the people who use this medication without a prescription, which means the number could be higher. With many people using this substance, it’s important to understand as much as possible about it. Some people may wonder if this drug is a methamphetamine due to the similarities between the two. We’ll explore this issue and many others relating to Adderall.
What Is Adderall?
Adderall is a stimulant medication for which you must have a prescription to obtain. It’s classified as a Schedule II-N controlled substance by the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration. In addition, Adderall is the brand name for amphetamine/dextroamphetamine salts.
What Is Adderall Made Of?
Adderall consists of d-amphetamine and l-amphetamine salts in a ratio of three to one. There are some inactive ingredients as well, but these are the core ingredients. Because the word “amphetamine” is part of the word methamphetamine, some people have wondered if there is a connection between the two.
Is Adderall the Same as Methamphetamine?
No. Adderall and methamphetamine aren’t the same substances, although they’re in the same drug family. Methamphetamine and Adderall are similar in that they’re both stimulant drugs, but they have different chemical content. Although both Adderall and methamphetamine are prescribed by doctors, methamphetamine is also created illegally by cooking it in labs. When methamphetamine is made in a lab, impurities and chemicals are mixed in with the substance. When made in this manner, its structure changes even more, and it’s referred to as “crystal meth.”
How Are Adderall and Methamphetamine Different?
Adderall and the prescription version of methamphetamine are both stimulant drugs and have similar structures. The main difference is that methamphetamine has an extra methylation chemical. Also, they’re used for different conditions, and methamphetamine is rarely prescribed. In most cases, people taking methamphetamine illegally obtain the “street” version of crystal meth. Adderall, on the other hand, is frequently prescribed by doctors.
What Is Adderall Used For?
As mentioned in the opening of this post, Adderall use has increased significantly over the last few years. In fact, it’s one of the most prescribed medications in the United States. Doctors prescribe Adderall for two conditions:
- Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): This is marked by a pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that hinders a person’s development or day-to-day functioning.
- Narcolepsy: This is continued uncontrollable episodes of deep sleep.
Adderall works to increase attention, energy, and alertness. So, it minimizes the symptoms of both ADHD and narcolepsy. However, as with any medication, there are side effects. This is even more so with a controlled substance.
Side Effects of Adderall
- Trouble sleeping/insomnia.
- Decreased appetite and weight loss.
- Abdominal pain.
- Increased blood pressure.
- Dry mouth.
People who take Adderall are also at risk of misusing it, which leads to dependency and addiction.
Adderall Misuse and Addiction
As with any Schedule II controlled substance, some people will have difficulties with misuse and addiction. Due to the increased energy and focus people feel from Adderall, it’s commonly misused by college-age students. And because students need heightened attention and alertness while in school, this drug is sometimes obtained without a prescription through illegal means.
Adderall is a stimulant that works on the brain, causing an increase in its activity. When taking this medication, the user experiences higher levels of dopamine and norepinephrine. Dopamine serves to reward the brain with positive emotions. So, when there is an increase in dopamine, the person feels rewarded and wants to continue doing it.
How Is Adderall Misused?
Adderall is misused or abused in four ways:
- A person obtains the medication without a prescription (gets it from a loved one or buys it off the street).
- A person has a prescription but takes it just to “get high.”
- A person mixes Adderall with alcohol or other drugs for the effects.
- A person doesn’t follow the doctor’s directions for the medication but rather increases the dose.
If someone engages in any of these behaviors, they’re misusing Adderall and could become addicted to it. In addition, even someone using Adderall properly can develop a tolerance for the medication and require more of the substance to feel its effects. This leads them to take it in ways not prescribed by the doctor.
Misuse occurs when a person can’t stop taking the drug or it interferes with their responsibilities and relationships.
Effects of Misusing Adderall
The obvious result of misusing Adderall is that the person becomes dependent and then addicted to it. However, there are other effects of misusing it. The side effects of Adderall listed above may become more pronounced when a person misuses this substance. In addition, they may experience other effects, such as:
- Accelerated heart rate.
- Tremors in the body.
- Personality changes.
- Increased blood sugar.
Some of these signs may also be signs of an overdose, so it’s always best to seek immediate help if you or someone you love is experiencing a medical emergency.
Seeking Help for an Adderall Addiction
If you’ve been using Adderall for a long time or have been misusing it, you’ll probably need help to stop taking it. It’s not recommended to cease taking this substance on your own due to the serious side effects that could occur.
You can start the journey to recovery by entering an inpatient detox and rehab program. California Detox in Laguna Beach, California, offers a rigorous seven-day detox program followed by a step-down treatment program that includes intensive therapy. Whether inpatient or outpatient, follow-up treatment is crucial to minimize the risk of relapse. During treatment, you’ll participate in evidence-based therapies and treatments that can help get to the root of the addiction. Some of these treatments are:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy.
- Dialectical behavioral therapy.
- Dual diagnosis treatment.
Contact one of our admissions representatives at California Detox to discuss a treatment plan today and begin your journey to a new you.