Adderall addiction

Adderall is a combination prescription drug that contains both amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It’s a central nervous system stimulant that’s used to treat narcolepsy and, more commonly, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). However, Adderall has become increasingly popular as a study drug and party drug due to its effects. While Adderall can be an effective medication when used as prescribed, it is also highly addictive and can have severe consequences when abused. Here we explain how Adderall addiction develops and what to do if you find you or a loved one under its grip.


Why do people abuse Adderall?

Adderall is effectively used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy because it increases the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. These are two neurotransmitters that are associated with focus, concentration and motivation. By increasing the levels of these neurotransmitters, Adderall can help people who struggle with ADHD to focus and concentrate better and those with narcolepsy to stay awake.

However, Adderall also has the potential to be abused because it can produce feelings of euphoria, increased energy and confidence. When taken in high doses or when crushed and snorted, Adderall can produce a high that is similar to methamphetamine. This high is the reason why Adderall is sometimes referred to as “kiddie cocaine.”
Other people take Adderall so that they can increase their productivity or study for long periods without feeling exhausted. Whatever the reason for abuse, Adderall addiction is a serious problem with potentially dangerous consequences.

How does an Adderall addiction develop?

Adderall addiction can develop in two main ways: either through a legitimate prescription or through recreational/study use. People who are prescribed Adderall may start abusing the drug by taking higher doses or more frequent doses than prescribed. They may do this because they develop a tolerance to the drug and need larger doses to achieve the desired effect or because they begin to like the way it makes them feel. Likewise, people who abuse Adderall for recreational reasons may begin to take an increasing amount of the drug for enhanced effects. Eventually, this can lead to a physical dependence on Adderall where you need to take it just to feel “normal”

Whatever the original reason for taking Adderall, all routes have the potential to result in Adderall addiction. This is when you compulsively take Adderall despite the negative consequences it has on your life. Once you are addicted to Adderall, you will most likely require professional Adderall addiction treatment to help you overcome it.

The difference between Adderall abuse and Adderall addiction

Not everyone who abuses Adderall will develop an addiction. However, anyone who uses Adderall compulsively and excessively is at a greater risk of becoming addicted to it. There are also a number of risk factors which can increase your chances of developing an Adderall addiction including:

  • An underlying mental health issue
  • Significant stress or difficulties in your life
  • A history of substance abuse or addiction
  • Parents or other close relatives with substance abuse or addiction issues
  • Exposure to drug use during childhood
  • Peer pressure from friends, particularly if you are a young person

Negative health effects of Adderall addiction

Adderall abuse can have a range of short and long-term effects on your physical, mental and emotional health.

Short-term side effects of Adderall addiction include:

  • Unhealthy weight loss due to appetite suppression
  • Irritability/hostility
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Heart palpitations


Long-term side effects of Adderall addiction are even more serious and include:

  • Chronic lethargy
  • Fatigue and sleep difficulties
  • Lack of motivation
  • Depression
  • Aggression
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Mood swings
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Headaches
  • Heart disease
  • Tremors

Non-health impacts of Adderall addiction

As well as these health implications, Adderall addiction can also harm your personal relationships, job, education and finances:

Adderall addiction often leads to lying, secrecy and deception to obtain and abuse the drug. This can damage close personal relationships as well as your professional reputation if you are caught.
Financial problems
Adderall abuse can also lead to financial problems as you may spend large amounts of money on the drug or neglect your work responsibilities in order to Adderall. Buying Adderall on the Dark Web or from other illegal sources can be particularly expensive and soon put your financial status at risk.
Work and education
Both education and work can suffer as a result of Adderall addiction. You may find it difficult to concentrate or focus on tasks, leading to poor performance, sliding grades, job loss and issues at school or university.
Legal troubles
There are potential legal issues associated with Adderall addiction too. In the UK, Adderall is classified as a Class B drug which means that it is illegal to possess or supply it. This means that if you are caught with Adderall without a prescription, you could face up to five years in prison and/or an unlimited fine.

Am I addicted to Adderall?

Recognising Adderall addiction can be difficult, particularly if you were legitimately prescribed Adderall. However, there are some key signs and symptoms of Adderall addiction to look for in yourself and others which may indicate an addiction to Adderall:

  • Taking larger doses of Adderall than prescribed or taking it more often than prescribed
  • Obtaining Adderall from nefarious sources such as by “doctor shopping”, using a fake prescription or purchasing it on the Dark Web
  • Neglecting work, school or home responsibilities to use Adderall
  • Taking risks while under the influence of Adderall, such as driving while high
  • Continuing to use Adderall despite it harming your health, relationships or finances
  • Developing a tolerance to Adderall so that you need to take larger doses to get the same effect
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop taking Adderall, such as fatigue, sleepiness, depression and anxiety


If you recognise any of these signs and symptoms of Adderall addiction then it may be time to seek professional help. Primrose Lodge has comprehensive Adderall addiction treatment programmes that have helped many people overcome their addiction and can help you too.

Likewise, if you spot these signs of Adderall addiction in a loved one, the best thing you can do is to talk to them about your concerns and encourage them to seek professional treatment. It is very important that you don’t enable their addiction by making excuses for them, giving them money or covering up for them when they miss important things. This will only facilitate their continued Adderall use and prevent them from getting the help they need.

How to see through the lies of Adderall addiction

Adderall addiction is a cunning and deceptive condition. It will try to convince you of a number of lies to keep you addicted to Adderall and prevent you from seeking the necessary help. Here are some of the most common lies that your Adderall addiction will tell you:

You can control your use…

Addiction is defined as not having control over your use of a substance, despite the negative consequences. If you are addicted to Adderall, this means that you will continue to use it despite the harmful impact it is having on your life. Ask yourself if you have ever tried to stop taking Adderall but been unable to due to cravings or withdrawal symptoms. This will show you the truth of your condition.

You only use Adderall recreationally so there is no problem…

Recreational use is defined as using a substance occasionally and in moderation. It is not possible to recreationally use Adderall safely because it is a powerful drug that is only available on prescription. This means that by definition if you are using Adderall in any way other than prescribed and directed by a doctor, you are doing so compulsively and excessively.

Adderall isn’t really that dangerous because it is a prescription drug…

This is a misconception that many people have about prescription drugs and it is a lie that your Adderall addiction will use to try and convince you that your use is not problematic. In reality, prescription drugs are some of the most abused and addictive substances in the world and Adderall is no different.

Seeing through these lies can be difficult as Adderall addiction often has a deep mental, emotional and psychological hold on you. Likewise, if it is a loved one who is addicted to Adderall, you will most likely have heard them make these points as excuses or justification for their Adderall use. Remember that nobody chooses to be in denial. Adderall addiction can be incredibly convincing and people suffering from addiction need help, not judgement.


Can Adderall addiction be overcome?

With the right treatment, it is very possible to overcome Adderall addiction and go on to live a happy and fulfilling life in recovery.

Adderall addiction treatment programmes at Primrose Lodge are comprehensive and involve three important stages: detox, rehab and aftercare. Detox is the process of removing all traces of Adderall from your body to break the physical dependence while rehab involves recognising and addressing the psychological factors that led to addiction. Aftercare provides ongoing support to help you stay on track in recovery and avoid relapse.

If you or a loved one is addicted to Adderall, please get in touch with Primrose Lodge today for more information about our treatment programmes. We have helped many people overcome their addictions to Adderall and we can do the same for you.

Frequently asked questions

Can Adderall addiction be cured?
When speaking about Adderall addiction treatment, it is best not to think in terms of a “cure”. Adderall addiction is a complex condition that requires a comprehensive approach which holistically addresses all of the underlying causes of your addiction and gives you the tools you need to cope in difficult situations without Adderall. However, with the right support and guidance, it is possible to overcome Adderall addiction and live happy and fulfilling lives in recovery.
Does Adderall abuse always lead to Adderall addiction?
No, not everyone who abuses Adderall will develop an addiction. However, anyone who uses Adderall compulsively and excessively is at a greater risk of developing an Adderall addiction. Other factors which increase the likelihood of you becoming addicted to Adderall include a family history of addiction, mental health problems, underlying trauma and easy availability of Adderall. Even if you are taking Adderall on prescription, it is important to get help immediately if you notice any of the signs of Adderall addiction.
close help
Who am I contacting?

Calls and contact requests are answered by admissions at

UK Addiction Treatment Group.

We look forward to helping you take your first step.

0203 553 9263