Adderall Abuse Side Effects
Adderall is used for the treatment of Attention Deficit Disorders, such as ADD and ADHD, in children and adults. It is a psycho stimulant drug made from Dextroamphetamine and Amphetamine salts. It is also used to treat Narcolepsy.
Adderall is widely abused by students, especially college and university students, ages 18-22 years old. As reported in a study carried out by NIDA, as many as 25% of students in high performing colleges were reported to have abused the drug at some point during their lives. Many of these students also reported having abused other hard drugs and this exacerbates the problem.
This is because the drug has a very desirable effect of increasing concentration levels and alertness. This is seen by students as a plus, especially during exam time when they desire to study for long periods. It is quite common for students to study for up to 14 hours when they have taken this drug.
Adderall has its main effects on the brain where it causes the release of the brain’s neurotransmitters Dopamine and Norepinephrine. It also inhibits their reuptake and this leads to the levels of these two chemicals in the synaptic spaces of the brain’s neurons building up considerably. These substances are responsible for sensations of pleasure and alertness.
Many side effects are encountered by taking this drug. The most notable and serious side effect that occurs as a result of taking the drug is an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. This effect can be very pronounced and in some cases, it has been known to cause death. The risk is especially high for young patients with congenital heart disorders and more so if these have not yet been discovered. Death from using Adderall has been recorded in patients who took normal doses, but had a history of heart problems.
Other side effects come with this drug as well, including headaches, insomnia, extreme fatigue (usually occurring as an after effect several hours after the peak effects of the drug due to hyperactivity), depression, irritability, and much more. For chronic users, there is a risk of developing an Amphetamine Psychosis, which is in many ways similar to Schizophrenia.
In young people who often take the drug for the management of ADHD, psychosis has been known to occur even with medically prescribed doses. There is a high risk of sexual dysfunction for long-term users, with male users normally experiencing erectile dysfunction. Adderall is also contraindicated against some substances such as:
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors– It is advisable to avoid taking Adderall before at least two weeks have passed since the last administration of these substances. If taken sooner than that or in conjunction with MAOI’s, there is an increased risk of hypertension in the user. Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors– Substances that fall under this category include Paroxetine, Citalopram, and Fluvoxamine, among others. Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors– When taken together with Adderall, these substances have a multiplier effect on the potency of the drug and can thus lead to the same effects as those experienced during an overdose. Tricyclics– These are normally used as antidepressants. They increase sympathetic action in the body and have effects on heart rate and breathing rate, among other effects.