What Are the Long-term Effects of Adderall?

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), in one of its reports, states that since 2007, the use of prescription stimulant drugs like Adderall has risen by more than 40 percent. Adderall (amphetamine-dextroamphetamine) is one of the most used prescription drugs in treating symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). As a stimulant drug, Adderall effectively enhances focus and attention levels in people suffering from ADHD. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that over 10 percent (which is approximately six million) of American children within the age bracket of four and seven have been diagnosed with ADHD at some point in their lifetimes.

College Students Are Abusing Adderall

The effects of Adderall use may be more pronounced in colleges and universities around the country. College students are calling Adderall a “study drug” or “smart drug” because it promotes wakefulness, and hence (according to students) can help them get better grades in their exams.

Different studies show that university students are abusing Adderall to help them stay ahead of schoolwork and to perform better.

Nonmedical Use of Adderall

The rise in nonmedical use of ADHD stimulant drugs like Adderall is worrying. Overweight individuals, for example, may abuse Adderall use to help fight weight loss. The drug is known to suppress appetite and can, therefore, be effective for people struggling with weight. Additionally, when used with other drugs or alcohol, Adderall can make the user get “high”. Unfortunately, mixing Adderall with other drugs or drinks poses a grave danger to the health of those using it. Adderall use creates dependency on the drug and since it’s highly abused, it is now a federally controlled drug.

Long-Term Effects of Adderall Use Effects on the Brain (Neurotoxicity)

In the short term, Adderall can increase your focus and help you be more attentive. However, the long term consequences on your mental being can be adverse. Increased levels of dopamine, serotonin, and other neurotransmitters can cause overstimulation. Overstimulation can’t affect people with ADHD since their brains already have a deficiency in such neurotransmitters. It happens to normal people because the brain has normal levels of these neurotransmitters. Adderall abuse can result in poor concentration and lack of motivation. As a result, the affected person can experience extreme feelings of:

  • Anxiety.
  • Being suicidal.
  • Hallucinations,.
  • Paranoia.
  • Psychosis.
  • Depression.

Hypertension and Heart Disease

ADHD drugs are stimulants. This means they can raise your heart rate and blood pressure. This can be especially risky if you have a heart condition or a history of high blood pressure. If you’re taking these medications to treat ADHD, it’s advisable to talk to your doctor to prevent further complications.

Withdrawal Symptoms

The presence of Adderall disrupts the natural levels of these neurotransmitters and the brain may become dependent on the way these drugs influence its chemical interaction. Continued use tunes the brain into expecting these drugs to control and regulate the levels of these chemical messengers. It gets to a point where the brain can no longer produce, transmit or reabsorb the neurotransmitters on its own. These create a craving for these drugs, leading to addiction. Adderall addiction can have negative effects on your social and financial life, school, work or relationship.

Liver Damage

Heavy Adderall use can damage the liver. The liver is an extremely important body organ whose main function is to remove impurities from the blood coming from the digestive tract, before releasing it to the rest of the body. Damage to the liver can be fatal and some of the signs include yellowing of the eyes, itching, fatigue, and loss of appetite. Other severe cases include gastrointestinal bleeding, edema (accumulation of fluid in the legs and abdomen), and increases vulnerability to bacterial infection.

Kidney Damage

Like the liver, the kidneys are major body organs that could suffer immensely from Adderall abuse. The kidneys are tasked with removing waste and excess water from the bold to create urine. They also aid in the production of red blood cells which are required to regulate blood pressure. Once damaged, they cease to function normally and could lead to serious health complications. Signs that you have kidney problems include pain coming from the kidneys, blood in your urine, swelling of your foot or ankle, puffiness around your eyes, fatigue, foamy urine, and sleeping problems. Other physical side effects of Adderall include:

  • Constipation.
  • Lethargy.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Nausea.
  • Insomnia.
  • Panic attacks.
  • Seizures.
  • Mood swings.
  • Numbness in extremities.
  • Prolonged erections in men.

Preventing Adderall Abuse

Substance abuse leads to addiction. This can cause physical and emotional problems which can be highly destructive. If you think you have Adderall addiction, it’s not too late to seek professional treatment. Luckily, monitored treatment can bring you back to sobriety and help you get you back on your feet. Don’t wait to deal with the consequences of Adderall addiction. The time to take action is now.

All images by Pixabay

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