Skip links

Understanding Adderall Abuse in Teens and Adults: How to Overcome it.

Adderall and the Risk of Abuse

Adderall abuse is a growing problem among teens and young adults. It is a commonly abused prescription medication that is prescribed to teens and adults to treat Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It is also used to treat the sleep disorder, narcolepsy.

A true diagnosis of ADHD requires a medical diagnosis, and a child must have six or more symptoms of inattention of impulsivity to meet the diagnostic criteria. ADHD usually begins in childhood, but some patients aren’t diagnosed until they reach adulthood.

Patients, especially teens, that are prescribed Adderall but may not be aware of its potential for abuse. According to the Partnership to End Addiction, a staggering one in eight teens have abused Adderall. Every parent needs to be aware of the potential dangers that Adderall poses.

Adderall addiction can have dangerous consequences, especially for teens and young adults. In this article, we will discuss the signs of Adderall abuse, its effects on mental and physical health, and how to overcome it.

What is Adderall Abuse?

Adderall can be abused by people who have ADHD but take higher doses than prescribed or take it more frequently than prescribed. It can also be abused by people who don’t have ADHD but want to use it to enhance performance at work or school or because they like the way the drug makes them feel. While Adderall is a prescription drug that can have benefits when taken properly, when abused, it can create a high similar to that of cocaine or methamphetamine.

Signs of Adderall Abuse

  • There are several signs of Adderall abuse, including:
  • Using Adderall without a prescription or taking more than the prescribed dose
  • Taking Adderall in ways other than prescribed, such as crushing the pills and snorting them
  • Taking Adderall to stay awake, improve academic or work performance, or lose weight
  • Feeling irritable or agitated when Adderall is not available
  • Neglecting responsibilities or activities due to Adderall use
  • Continuing to use Adderall despite negative consequences

Effects of Adderall Abuse

Like any addiction, Adderall can impact one’s physical and mental wellbeing. Some of the negative effects Adderall can have on mental health include:

  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Depression and suicidal thoughts
  • Agitation and irritability
  • Psychosis, including hallucinations and delusions
  • Paranoia
  • Personality changes

Adderall is an amphetamine. Abusing it can cause devasting physical symptoms, including, some of which can be life threatening. These include:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Rapid breathing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Headaches
  • Digestive problems, such as nausea and vomiting
  • Seizures

Adderall Withdrawal

Adderall is an addictive substance. When someone stops taking it abruptly, they will likely experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. The good news is that withdrawal usually resolves after one to two weeks and is not life threatening.

Symptoms of withdrawal may include:

  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Hunger
  • Mood disturbances (anxiety and depression)
  • Cravings for the drug
  • And more

How to Overcome Adderall Abuse

Overcoming any addiction can be challenging, but it is possible with the right treatment and support. Here are some steps to take if you or someone  you love is trying to overcome Adderall abuse:

Seek Help

The first step in overcoming Adderall abuse is to seek professional help. A recovery residence, like Breakthrough Recovery Outreach offers programs for teens and adults to get clean, receive counseling, and attend twelve step meetings.


Detoxification is the process of eliminating Adderall from the system. The best place to detox is in a residential treatment facility.


Therapy can help teens and adults understand what led to their Adderall abuse. Family therapy is also a great healing tool. At Breakthrough Recovery Outreach, we offer individual therapy for patients as well as family therapy.

Twelve-Step Meetings

Support groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA), can provide addicts with a sense of community and support.

Conclusion: Recovery from Adderall Addiction is Possible

Adderall abuse is a serious problem, especially for teens and young adults. It can have negative effects on mental and physical health, and it can be difficult to overcome without professional help. If you or someone you know is struggling with Adderall abuse, please contact us.

Our team is here to help!