Adderall High, Abuse, and Addiction

What is Adderall? Adderall (the brand name for dextroamphetamine-amphetamine) is a central nervous stimulant that belongs to a classification of drugs known as amphetamines (not to be confused with crystal meth). It is legal in the United States with a prescription from a doctor and was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996.

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The drug is very effective when used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder –commonly known as ADHD. This is the number one reason why the drug is prescribed by a doctor. It is also prescribed for weight loss.

Adderall has been named a Schedule II drug by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). This means the medication has a "high potential for abuse" and can lead to "severe psychological or physical dependence."

In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about this prescription medication. Whether you believe you may be addicted to the stuff – or you are reading this to get information for someone you love – consider this your complete guide to the Adderall high.

A Common Drug of Abuse in the United States

There is no doubt that this medication has a therapeutic value for those who take it as prescribed for a legitimate medical reason. However; this legal prescription stimulant has become a popular drug of abuse among people from all backgrounds across the U.S.

It is a favorite among college students, executives in corporate America, mothers raising small children, and people looking to catch a buzz.

This potent legal stimulant is highly addictive. And, it can be detrimental to one’s health and wellbeing when abused. Nevertheless, warnings about the dangers of Adderall abuse have largely been ignored and has not stopped millions of Americans from using the stuff.

Before we continue, take a moment to acquaint yourself with these street names. If you think your teen or college student is abusing this drug, you should become familiar with the common slang names for Adderall.

Young people use these terms to keep their drug use hidden from their parents or other adults. They know that using this drug is dangerous and they don’t want to get caught using it. Knowing code names for this prescription medication can help you identify drug activity.

Pay attention to the following street names:

  • Addies
  • Uppers
  • Speed
  • Pep pills
  • Study buddies
  • Dexies
  • Beans
  • Black beauties
  • Zings
  • Smart Pills
  • Brain food
  • Hearts
  • Crosses
  • Truck drivers

Of course, these are just the most commonly known slangs for this highly addictive drug. Many teens and college students will make up their own code words. If you overhear someone using words that don’t seem to make sense in the context of the conversation, they may be engaged in drug activity.

We will be using these street names throughout this article to help imprint them on your memory. This is done with parents in mind. That way, if your teenager or college student uses slangs for Adderall in everyday language, your memory recall will kick in. When this happens, you are much more likely to tune in and listen more closely to a conversation that may be centered on drug activity.   

Parents should definitely be concerned about this popular drug of abuse. Many parents are aware of the dangers of street drugs like cocaine, heroin, or marijuana; but they don’t know much about this substance.

Let’s talk about Adderall and ADHD. After all, treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is the primary purpose of this amphetamine.   

This medication, when used properly, works to treat ADHD by balancing the neurotransmitters in the brain to decrease hyperactivity. The result is an incredible amount of focus and concentration.

The interesting thing about this prescription stimulant is that is doesn’t give people with ADHD a buzz. It actually works quite the opposite. It slows down people with this disorder, rather than speed them up.

Many people who take this medication for ADHD report that they do not like the way it makes them feel. They say it makes them feel sluggish, as if they are going in slow motion. For this reason, many people who are legally prescribed this medication will sell it or give it away to people who enjoy taking it to get high.

Like other prescription drugs, this medication has a specific medical purpose in helping people overcome or manage the symptoms of ADHD. However, problems occur when it is used outside of its prescribed guidelines.

It is important to note that most people who take dexies for ADHD are not likely to abuse their medication. It doesn’t get them high, so they see no benefit in taking more.

The Remarkable Rise in Profits – Legal Amphetamine Sales Are Through the Roof

You might be surprised to learn that profits for the ADHD drug industry have skyrocketed in the past 15 years. According to an article in the New York Times, sales of prescription stimulants like Adderall in 2012 neared the $9 billion mark. This is more than five times the $1.7 billion in sales in 2002.

Adderall Abuse and Addiction

Some argue this dramatic increase in the sale of zings and other ADHD meds is the result of overprescribing doctors. Many suspect that doctors are diagnosing hyperactive children with ADHD when they are really just “kids being kids.” However; many addiction experts believe the rise in stimulant sales is the result of a high demand of this substance for the sole purpose of getting high.

More and more people are manipulating doctors to obtain drugs like Adderall and other stimulants for their recreational value. Users do this because they want to sell the drug to make money or because they are addicted to it.  

Adderall is very useful in increasing attentiveness and focus, which is one of the reasons it is very popular among college students. Students will often use it as a way to stay up late studying for exams and writing difficult academic papers. Because of its prominent effects, it’s actually been nicknamed the “study buddy” among college students.

As reported in an article published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, it is mainly 18-to-25-year-olds who are abusing Adderall. This study determined that college-aged students are using the drug illegally more than any other age group – by about 60 percent. They obtain the medication from family, friends, or dealers – without a legal prescription from a physician.

“In college, especially, these drugs are used as study-aid medication to help students stay up all night and cram,” says article co-author Ramin Mojtabai, a professor of mental health at the Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health.

“Our sense is that a sizeable proportion of those who use them believe these medications make them smarter and more capable of studying. We need to educate this group that there could be serious adverse effects from taking these drugs and we don’t know much at all about their long-term health effects.”

In addition to college students, there is another population of people who take these uppers – executives in Corporate America.

Wall Street brokers and techies in Silicon Valley are notorious for popping beans to get an edge. This is how they cope with the demands of a fast-paced 60 to 100-hour workweek, which definitely takes a psychological toll.

The Wall Street wolves and self-proclaimed Silicon Valley geeks represent a booming market for those who deal in pep pills. The average prescription cost for dexies is approximately $150 for a 30-day supply of 5 to 30 mg tablets.

On the street, beans go for as much as $50 for a 30 mg pill. This means dealers can clear a cool $1,350 for a single bottle of Adderall. Dealers love Wall Street brokers and California techies. They make big bucks and they are big buyers.  

Think you might be an addicted professional? Take this quiz.

We hear a lot about college students and their abuse of the study buddy. And, we’ve talked about high-level execs taking zings. But, believe it or not, addies are quite popular among young and middle-aged mothers.

There’s no doubt that being a mom is a challenging job. Moms use the drug to give them a boost of energy so they can manage the daily stresses and responsibilities that come with raising a family and working.

The problem with moms who pop Adderall is that the addiction inevitably gets out of control. They will end up stealing pills from their ADHD child, buying them from teens, or going doctor shopping to get pills from multiple doctors, using their kid as bait.

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What’s the Deal With Adderall and Weight Loss?

Many people take pep pills for weight loss. In cases of morbidly obese people who need to lose a considerable amount of weight, the doctor will prescribe this medication as an appetite suppressant. This is usually only done in extreme cases and under the strict supervision of a physician.

Because weight loss is a side effect of this drug, many obtain this stimulant illegally because they want to lose weight – or they manipulate a doctor to get a prescription.

Adderall and weight loss seem to go hand-in-hand. For this reason, many people start taking it to slim down – but they end up abusing it and ultimately become addicted to it. What starts out as a sincere desire to shed unwanted pounds can lead to a much bigger problem.

Is Adderall Safe for Recreational Use?

It is a common misconception that medications like this one are relatively harmless because they are prescribed by a doctor.  Even though pharmacies across the country make sure that the drugs are clearly marked as addictive, these warnings are often ignored.

If you are considering using this drug to catch a buzz, we strongly discourage you from pursuing the Adderall high. This is a very dangerous substance and it is highly addictive. What starts out as experimentation can quickly develop into abuse and then addiction.

There are certain short-term effects of this stimulant. Once someone consumes this substance, they will begin to experience some of these effects in just a few hours:

These can include:

  • Bouts of dizziness or vertigo
  • An increase in your heart rate
  • Poor circulation throughout the body
  • Trouble sleeping at night
  • Having no appetite
  • Having no sex drive

These short-term effects are troublesome, but they’re often overlooked because the perceived positive effects of using addies tend to overshadow the negatives.

We still don’t know a lot about the long-term effects of study buddies. There is little research on subject. However; we do know that in 2006, the FDA put a black box warning on dextroamphetamine-amphetamine due to cardiovascular risks.

The other long-term effects we do know about are quite serious. They include:

  • Constant migraine headaches
  • Having frequent bouts of nausea, constipation, or diarrhea
  • Premature aging
  • Seizures
  • Experiencing vivid hallucinations, delusions, or paranoia
  • Kidney failure
  • Abuse of this medication can lead to detrimental consequences. Taking a higher dosage than what is recommended by a doctor is never a good idea.

Remember, this may be a type of speed, but it is also a prescription medication. That means it is not without its side effects. These range from mild to moderate – even dangerous.

These are the most common side effects:

  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Hoarse voice
  • Dilated pupils
  • Nausea
  • Stomach upset
  • Digestive issues
  • Reduced appetite
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Pounding or fast heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying to sleep
  • Nightmares
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Changes in sex drive

*Continued abuse can lead to more severe effects. With long-term abuse or abuse that involves high doses of this medication, the symptoms can compound and lead to even more dangerous effects.

  • These effects include:
  • Weakness or numbness in the arms or legs
  • Dizziness
  • Slowed or difficult speech
  • Chest pain
  • Hives or rash
  • Blistering or peeling skin
  • Changes in vision
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Paranoia
  • Mania
  • Seizures

The Adderall High – What Does It Feel Like?

People who have never used this drug want to know, “What is the Adderall high like?” We will attempt to briefly answer this question only for informational purposes. We feel that answering this question helps parents and loved ones better understand the addiction of someone they care about.

As you might assume, the same effects of zings are present in those who don’t need it for ADHD, only the results are greatly magnified. It’s quite common for people to become hyper-productive and filled with a lot of energy for long periods of time when they take this drug.

So, how does Adderall make you feel?

Simply put, the Adderall high gives the user a surge of energy. Many report having mental clarity, laser-like focus, and increased physical strength. Those who take this drug say it gives them the ability to perform better and accomplish difficult tasks with ease.

The Adderall high does not last longer than about 5-8 hours. Many people will chase the high by continuing to pop more pills. This can ultimately lead to a binge where the user will stay up for several days without sleep.

After that, users experience the “crash.”

Coming Down – The Adderall Crash

Many people who experience the Adderall high will subsequently experience the crash. The crash is what happens after a user has been up for several days abusing this stimulant drug. During this time, they will not sleep, eat, and drink very little fluids.

As a result of the binge, the body will crash. Without sleep, food, and water, the body will begin to shut down. The user will have no choice but to go to sleep in a kind of blackout. They may sleep for as long as 24 to 48 hours.

Once the user wakes up, he or she will likely go on a food binge and consume mass quantities of calories and fluids. This is caused by the body’s overwhelming need for nutrients and hydration.

The Adderall crash is a miserable experience. The entire body hurts from head-to-toe. This is especially true of the mouth because someone on this drug moves their jaws around uncontrollably and bites on their own tongue while they are high. Also, there is an experience of extreme fatigue and depression. Many cry uncontrollably and experience extreme anxiety and suicidal thoughts during the crash.

Because the crash is so intolerable, someone who is addicted to Adderall will quickly use more of the drug to feel normal again. Or, they may use alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs to help ease the discomfort.

Let’s talk about tolerance. This is what typically drives the addictive cycle. Tolerance happens when someone abuses an addictive substance. The brain and the body become accustomed to processing the drug and it builds a tolerance to it.

This means that more and more of the drug is needed to get the desired effect. This is often referred to as “chasing the high.” At first, the high from pep pills is phenomenal. With time, however, a user no longer feels the buzz of the drug. (Or, if they do, it is very mild). This causes them to take more of the stuff. They may not feel the effect, but their body will definitely experience the crash.

What is the Difference Between Adderall and Crystal Meth?

Crystal meth and dexies are often confused. Many people say that addies give them a similar high when compared to crystal meth. This is because they are both amphetamines. However; these two substances are NOT the same thing.

The most obvious different between crystal meth and Adderall is that one is legal and the other is not. You cannot obtain crystal meth from a doctor and it is illegal in the United States.

If you are caught with even a small amount of this substance in your possession, you will be arrested, charged with a felony, and taken to jail. The penalties for possession of this controlled substance are stiff.

Another difference between zings and crystal meth is the ingredients. Adderall is made with federally regulated chemicals that are under strict supervision of the FDA. Crystal meth, on the other hand, is made in homemade labs by “meth cooks.” These cooks use everything from gasoline to paint thinner to make up a batch.

The bottom line is that uppers are much safer than crystal meth. When you use meth, you have no idea what you are putting into your body. Although prescription stimulants can be dangerous, at least you know what you are getting yourself into.

Take this quiz if you think you might be addicted to crystal meth.

This legal stimulant isn’t as easy to come by as illegal drugs like cocaine, heroin, or crystal meth. Believe it or not, on today’s market, street drugs are easier to obtain than the so-called study buddy.

People who abuse Adderall or those who want to sell it to make a profit are looking for easy access to the drug. This means they want to get it directly from a doctor rather than buying it on the streets. Or, they buy it illegally online.  

This is a highly regulated substance. Doctors are on the lookout for people who are doctor shopping and trying to manipulate their way into getting a script. It is not easy to get study buddies legally. Because getting this medication is difficult, many people will turn to crystal meth to achieve a similar type of buzz.

We find it laughable that people actually want to know how to make Adderall at home. Don’t even think about it! This prescription stimulant is made with controlled substances that are only made available in federally approve laboratories.

Chemists spend a lot of years (and a lot of money!) getting a PhD from a respected university in order to understand the chemical makeup of this drug and other medications.

In spite of the fact that it cannot be done, many people attempt to make Adderall at home. This is very dangerous.

Usually, an amateur will substitute certain chemicals for other chemicals that are cheap and readily available. This usually results in a toxic and poisonous substance (much like crystal meth) that is not fit for human consumption.

A word to the wise – if you are abusing Adderall, DO NOT take a homemade batch of the stuff. You could have a fatal overdose or experience extreme health complications like a seizure, paralysis, or brain death. If someone offers you some stuff they said they made themselves, it’s not worth the risk.

Also, it is never a good idea to buy Adderall on the Internet. Yes, we know that there are foreign laboratories in China, Mexico, and other countries marketing this stimulant and selling it online. BEWARE! You have no idea what is in this stuff and it could kill you.

If you are going to take this drug in spite all of our warnings that this stuff is dangerous, your best bet it to get it from a doctor or buy it from someone you trust.

Many people enjoy mixing Adderall and alcohol. This is a big mistake. Alcohol is a Central Nervous System Depressant. It slows down the body’s natural systems and processes. On the flip side, study buddies are a stimulant. They cause the body to speed up and work harder.

Mixing alcohol and drugs is risky business. When alcohol and Adderall are coursing through your veins at the same time, you could have a seizure or experience some other kind of serious health complication – including premature death.

You should never mix alcohol with prescription drugs. Not only is this a sign of prescription drug abuse, it is also very dangerous.

Are You Addicted to Adderall?

We have discussed dexies at length. We have covered a lot of useful information and some interesting facts about this stimulant. Now, let’s address the elephant in the room.

Are you researching this information because you think you might have an addiction to this stimulant? If so, we advise you to take this self-assessment quiz.

Answer the following questions as honestly as you can:

  • Do you buy dexies illegally?
  • Have you ever tried to manipulate a doctor to obtain a prescription for this drug?
  • Do you rely on your study buddy to perform in college?
  • Do you pop beans and stay up for days at a time on a binge?
  • Have you ever stolen money or items of value so you could support your habit?
  • Do you use uppers to “take the party to the next level?”
  • Do you ever mix Adderall and alcohol or use it in combination with other drugs?
  • Have your friends or loved ones expressed their concern about your amphetamine use?
  • Have you ever been arrested because of a crime related to your use of uppers?
  • Do you obsessively think about taking, getting, or buying addies when you don’t have them?
  • Have you ever stolen a friend’s medication so you could get high?
  • Have you ever taken your child to the doctor in hopes that he or she would get prescribed Adderall for ADHD so you could take it?
  • Have you ever bought these smart pills on the internet from an illegal seller?
  • Do you feel like your drug use is out of control?
  • Have you tried to quit popping uppers, but find that you cannot do it on your own?
  • Have you ever experienced the symptoms of Adderall withdrawal?
  • Do you feel like you need dexies to function at work?
  • Are you spending a lot of money on your habit?

*If you answered “yes” to ANY ONE of these questions, you might have an addiction to Adderall.

You may be reading this article because you suspect you may have a substance abuse problem. Here’s something to consider: if you think you have a drug problem, you probably do.

People who aren’t addicted do not sit around wondering if they are addicted! Keep reading and we will tell you how to get help for an Adderall addiction.

Still not sure if you are addicted? This quiz might help you decide.

If you suspect that your loved one is under the influence of a drug, you are probably right. Trust your instincts. If something seems “off,” it probably is. You know the person in question. If they don’t “seem like themselves,” this may be cause for alarm.

Think about what it is like to be around someone who is intoxicated on alcohol. You know the signs and you recognize drunkenness when you see it. The same holds true for Adderall abuse. If you know what to look for, you will know it when you see it. It will be undeniable.

If your teenager, college student, or loved one shows the following signs or behaviors, they may be abusing study buddies:

  • Large black pupils, glassy eyes
  • Chronic dry mouth
  • Rapid speech and the continued need to talk
  • The decreased need for sleep (followed by the “crash” or prolonged periods of sleep)
  • Little or no appetite (followed by food binges)
  • Hyperactivity – demonstrations of an abundance of energy
  • Fidgeting or the constant need for movement
  • Agitation or hostility for no apparent reason  
  • Mood swings from mania to depression
  • Strange jaw movements
  • Constantly chewing on straws or pens
  • Hallucinations
  • Extreme paranoia
  • Delusions
  • False belief in super human powers
  • Constant financial problems (caused by spending a lot of money on the drug)
  • Legal problems (possession of a controlled substance or assault, etc.)
  • Unmanageability (unable to successfully navigate daily responsibilities)

Keep in mind that this medication affects people differently. These symptoms do not represent a comprehensive list; only the most common signs among users. Also, it is important to note that some people are able to hide their drug use better than others.

Again, we encourage you to trust your intuition. If the person you care about seems to be speedy, jittery, overly talkative, fidgety, and has big black eyes – it may be safe to assume that they are under the influence of some kind of stimulant. However; you should remember that these symptoms may be caused by something else entirely – mental health problems.

Think your family member might be addicted? Take this quiz to assess the situation.

Here is a step-by-step guide for helping an addicted family member.

Want to stage an intervention? Here is a helpful resource.

We have identified some of the common characteristics of Adderall addiction. However; we feel it is important to mention that these signs of drug use are often similar to the mania and depression experienced by people who have bipolar disorder and other mental health issues.

If you suspect that your loved one may be abusing this prescription stimulant – and they SWEAR they are not taking it when you confront them – you may recommend a visit to a mental health professional.

Undergoing an assessment by a licensed mental health professional can help explain bizarre behavior that is not caused by drug use. Medication and therapy may be necessary to regain mental health and wellness.

Of course, it is not uncommon for someone with a substance abuse problem to lie to you when you ask them if they are abusing drugs. Use your best discernment in this situation and act accordingly.

College students who have been using this to improve their study habits and academic performance will often stop Adderall it at the end of a semester. Others will decide to quit when they realize they’re addicted and go cold turkey.

Adderall withdrawal symptoms (also called “detox”) can be quite severe. Withdrawal is what happens when you have become accustomed to taking an addictive substance for an extended period of time and you suddenly stop taking it.

Withdrawal symptoms are your body’s way of motivating you to take more of whatever substance you have been addicted to. The detox process is very uncomfortable.

Many people find that they simply cannot stop popping uppers without professional help. They have a sincere desire to stop Adderall, but they simply cannot bear the detoxification process.

Here are a few of the most common Adderall withdrawal symptoms:

  • Intense cravings for more of the drug
  • Irritability and hostility
  • Sudden and overwhelming mood swings
  • Feelings of extreme anxiety or panic attacks
  • Mental confusion
  • Depression
  • Uncontrollable crying
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Feeling completely disconnected from the world around you
  • Experiencing chronic fatigue and the need for sleep
  • Increased appetite and weight gain
  • Insomnia, nightmares, and other sleep disturbances
  • Head-to-toe body aches

To put it simply, withdrawal is a very unpleasant experience. Some require a professional medical detox to undergo the process. The worst symptoms happen from one to five days after the last use. After that, symptoms decrease in intensity with time and continued abstinence from the drug.

However; many people who stop Adderall find that it can take months (or as long as a year) for the body to return to normal functioning. This is called Post-Acute Withdrawal (PAWS). Many people return to the drug or begin using crystal meth to alleviate the discomfort.

Learn more about Adderall withdrawal.

If you have a sincere desire to stop Adderall – and you have tried on your own to do so but have been unsuccessful – you have nothing to be ashamed of. This is a highly potent, very powerful addictive substance.

Quitting Adderall is not just as simple as quitting. We wish it were. Once you have abused this drug for an extended period of time, you have altered your brain chemistry. Managing this kind of significant change usually requires professional addiction treatment to learn the necessary tools to enjoy a life of sobriety.

Without addiction treatment, most people who stop Adderall will eventually return to using the drug and experience a relapse. This is because cravings, environmental factors, triggers, and PAWS are almost impossible to manage without proper education.

Your inability to quit is not a result of a weakness in your character, or bad moral judgment. Addiction is a disease – NOT a choice.

Sure, you may have made the choice to use addies for the first time and several times after that. However; this substance has a way of hijacking the brain. Once this happens, the addictive cycle of obsession and compulsion take over, which renders you powerless to stop Adderall.  

How You Will Benefit From Professional Addiction Treatment

Most people resist addiction treatment. This is very common. The idea of going to 28-day residential rehabilitation program does not seem appealing at first for most people.

Nevertheless, if you are addicted to addies, it may be necessary to save your life. And, it will definitely give you the opportunity to focus on your recovery and get your life back on track.

Here are just a few of the many benefits you will experience if you go to drug rehab:

  • You will be in a safe and secure sober environment away from temptation
  • Individual therapy to address trauma or other issues that may have led to your addiction
  • Find healing from a dual-diagnosis
  • Connect with other recovering people you can relate to
  • Forge positive sober relationships with people in your area
  • Receive an introduction to the spiritual path found in the 12 Steps
  • Participate in addiction education to learn more about your condition
  • Learn how to live and enjoy a sober lifestyle
  • Build a solid relapse prevention plan

There are numerous advantages to attending an inpatient rehabilitation program. Staying stuck in the cycle of addiction and continuing to destroy your life? Not so much.

Not sure if you need rehab? Taking this quiz might help you decide.

Want to learn more about drug rehab? Here is a complete guide to starting your exciting recovery journey.

Need some inspiration for stopping this powerful stimulant drug? Read this personal story about recovering from the Adderall high.

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