What Makes Adderall So Addictive?

Adderall is a combination of dextroamphetamine and acetaminophen. Adderall works on nerve receptors in the brain that control hyperactively related to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or the symptoms of narcolepsy. It is a central nervous system stimulant that works with chemicals found in the brain. These chemicals in the central nervous system help with impulse control. When Adderall is used for prolonged periods of time or in larger than prescribed amounts, there is a risk of addiction.

Adderall and ADHD

Adderall controls the symptoms of ADHD and helps the person using the drug to focus more clearly. The primary use of the drug is to control the symptoms of ADHD in children. However increasing numbers of college-aged students and adults use Adderall as their drug of choice to increase their ability to focus and deal with adult symptoms of ADHD. College-age students may use the drug as a way to help them increase test scores and focus for longer periods of time. Addiction develops in these users when the same amount of the drug no longer achieves the same result and more of the substance is needed. Many college students who do not have a prescription for Adderall will use medication from students who do. Prescription medication should never be used by anyone except the person it is prescribed for. Students taking Adderall as a way to improve focus can experience harmful side effects and put themselves at risk for addiction.

Adderall and Other Prescription Drugs

Adderall is more addictive and dangerous when combined with other drugs or alcohol. Persons taking MAO inhibitors for depression are at high risk for dangerous interactions with Adderall and should not take the drug until the MAO inhibitor has been out of the system for at least 14 days. Other drugs can intensify the effect of Adderall and lead to dangerous drug combinations. Some of the drugs that interact adversely with Adderall include the following:

  • Blood pressure medications
  • Diuretics
  • Cold and allergy medications
  • Antacids
  • Antidepressants

Using Adderall in combination with alcohol increases your risk of addiction. Because Adderall works in the central nervous system, it changes the way you think and react in certain situations, impairing your judgment. This puts people who use alcohol or other drugs at a higher risk of addiction to Adderall.

Adderall Addiction

Many people who use Adderall as prescribed by a physician do not become addicted. Persons with other addictive behaviors such as a history of alcohol addiction, experience with street drugs or problems with other prescription drugs are more likely to become addicted to Adderall. Although Adderall doses should change often and depend on a child’s growth rate and weight, those using Adderall without a doctor’s supervision adjust their dose based on performance rather than on a physical need. This produces both a physical and psychological need for the drug, since the person using Adderall feels like using more of the drug will result in better performance. People using Adderall who don’t suffer from ADHD or narcolepsy increase their risk of addiction to the drug.

Help for Adderall Addiction

If you or a loved one is struggling with Adderall addiction, we can help. Call our toll-free helpline at any time of day to learn more about addiction and solutions for recovery.

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