How much do you know about Adderall? While the number of people abusing prescription stimulants is skyrocketing, few understand their effects and risks. Adderall myths are often confused with facts, furthering the epidemic. Below we will distinguish the facts about Adderall from the common misunderstandings.
Common Myths about Adderall
1. Adderall is just another performance enhancer.
Many substances have the reputation of being performance enhancers. From caffeine pills to energy drinks, people use a whole range of substances to try and get that extra edge. They mistakenly believe that Adderall is in the same league as coffee, caffeine pills and energy drinks. This is not the case. Adderall is a schedule II Drug. This means it’s been classed by the DEA as a drug with a high potential for abuse and addiction. Other drugs in this category include fentanyl, opium and codeine. Unlike coffee and energy drinks, Adderall requires a prescription.
2. Adderall enhances your academic performance.
One of the most common myths about Adderall is that it improves your ability to focus on school work. This is true to a certain extent. If you take Adderall, you may be able to stay up all night and study since the drug causes you to be more alert. However, Adderall isn’t the study-enhancer that it’s believed to be. It does not improve your memory, problem-solving skills or your ability to focus on work. The truth is, with long-term use, you risk both memory and cognitive problems.
3. Adderall is good for weight loss.
Amphetamines were heavily prescribed for weight loss in the 1940s and 1950s. It wasn’t until 1970, when new drug laws were enacted, that doctors ceased prescribing the drugs. Taking amphetamines can indeed help you lose weight, but not in a healthy manner. They cause side effects such as loss of appetite, nausea and diarrhea. These all contribute to an unhealthy disinterest in food.
4. Adderall is always legal.
Adderall is only legal if you yourself have a prescription for the drug. If you are prescribed Adderall by a doctor, it’s illegal to sell or give to anyone else. Doctors prescribe medicine based on your weight, symptoms, and body chemistry. Your doctor may adjust how much you take to better treat your symptoms or help you respond to side effects. Adderall is also only legal when used as prescribed. Any other usage is just as illegal as taking an illicit drug such as heroin or cocaine. In many states, possession of Adderall without a prescription is classed as a felony.
5. Adderall isn’t dangerous.
It is false to believe that Adderall is not dangerous because it is a prescription drug for children and adults with ADHD. In fact, many drugs are safe to take as directed by a doctor but have the potential to be dangerous if used incorrectly. People with ADHD take Adderall because they have a disorder that interferes with normal brain chemistry. For someone with ADHD, Adderall normalizes this imbalance and helps them focus. Adderall doesn’t work in the same way on people with normal brain chemistry. For them, taking Adderall triggers euphoric feelings that can quickly become addictive.
Facts about Adderall
1. Adderall is addictive.
Adderall is an amphetamine, a class of drug that is highly addictive. When you take Adderall, it triggers a massive rush of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter and is involved in what’s called the limbic reward system. Certain kinds of behavior trigger the release of dopamine, such as exercise, meditation and listening to music. The rush of dopamine causes feelings of euphoria and elation, but those feelings don’t last long. They’re so pleasurable to the brain that the user wants to experience them again. Repeatedly taking an addictive drug like Adderall causes the brain to rely on the heavy excess of dopamine. Without the drug, the brain can’t make enough dopamine to satisfy itself—and so the drug cravings increase.
2. Adderall is being abused by high school and college students.
One of the most alarming Adderall facts relates to how many young people are using and abusing the drug. Adderall has a reputation as a college study drug, but drug abusers include high school-aged students as well. As many as 1 in 13 high school seniors have tried Adderall at least once. By the time kids reach their senior year of college, one-third have used the drug. Of that one-third, around 17% are using Adderall to get high, rather than for the supposed study benefits.
3. Adderall can cause long-term health problems.
Adderall can cause severe physical and psychological problems when abused for long periods of time. The long-term side effects of Adderall abuse include:
- Weight loss and malnutrition
- Loss of muscle tissue
- Heart damage
- Memory and cognitive problems
4. Adderall is a potentially lethal drug.
Like all amphetamines, Adderall addiction has a strong influence on the central nervous system. This leads to side effects such as rapid heart rate, high blood pressure and increased body temperature. It can cause heart palpitations and arrhythmia as well. In rare cases, it can even cause a heart attack or stroke. These risks are present from the very first dose. While it’s rare to have such a severe reaction to Adderall, it can and does happen. At high risk are people have undiagnosed heart problems such as arteriosclerosis, cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure.
5. Adderall is a legitimate ADHD treatment.
While Adderall is both addictive and dangerous when used incorrectly, it is still an effective and safe treatment for ADHD. People with ADHD can safely take Adderall as prescribed by their doctor.