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Can Adderall Get You High?

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Can Adderall Get You High?
Picture of Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Mohsin Ali, MD

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Mohsin Ali, MD

Dr. Mohsin Ali MD is board certified in Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Trained in Syracuse NY, he has worked in Tennessee for the last sixteen years.

Table of Contents

Adderall is designed to treat conditions like ADHD, but misuse of the drug for its euphoric effects is dangerous and risky. This guide explores the side effects and significant hazards associated with Adderall misuse.

Adderall functions as a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. It accelerates the activities within the central nervous system and alters the brain’s response to messages. Specifically, Adderall impacts the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine, which play key roles in attention and alertness.

Can Adderall Get You High?

It is possible to experience a high from Adderall, especially if taken in large doses or without a medical prescription. Those who have a legitimate need for Adderall and use it as directed typically do not feel euphoric effects.

The high from Adderall is more pronounced with the immediate-release formulation of the drug, but misuse in any form carries substantial risks. These include the potential for addiction, physical dependence, and severe cardiovascular issues, which can lead to sudden death in extreme cases. Using Adderall to achieve a high is not only illegal but also extremely dangerous.

What Does an Adderall High Feel Like?

Adderall, when prescribed and taken correctly, is effective in treating symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), enhancing hyperactivity control, impulse management, and attention span. However, when abused, Adderall can induce a “high” that might make individuals feel exceptionally capable and energized. This euphoric sensation arises as dopamine levels increase in the brain, leading to heightened alertness, energy, and an inflated sense of wellbeing. Users may also experience a boost in confidence, a surge of excitement, and reduced appetite or need for sleep.

This perception can lead users to believe that Adderall is boosting their productivity, possibly evidenced by short-term improvements in grades, work output, or task completion. However, with prolonged misuse and as tolerance builds, these perceived benefits diminish, requiring increasingly higher doses to achieve the same effects and to mitigate the escalating negative side effects.

Immediate Effects of Adderall

Many people misuse Adderall for its immediate effects, such as enhanced focus and attention, which they believe can improve academic or professional performance. However, prolonged misuse can lead to several adverse effects including:

  • Restlessness and Insomnia
  • Decreased Attention
  • Significant Weight Loss Due to Reduced Appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Irregular or Rapid Heartbeat
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and Abdominal Pain
  • Reduced Motivation
  • Excessive Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Aggression, Hostility, and Suicidal Thoughts
  • Mood Swings
  • Increased Anxiety or Panic Attacks
  • Psychosis (aka amphetamine-induced psychosis)
  • Seizures

Long-Term Effects on the Body

Adderall’s alteration of brain chemistry can extend to physical health risks, some potentially permanent and irreversible.

  • The Heart: As a stimulant, Adderall can increase heart rate and blood pressure, which may lead to cardiomyopathy, sudden cardiac arrest, and stroke.
  • The Eyes: Extended use can result in blurred vision or eye swelling.
  • Hair and Skin: Adderall may trigger hair loss, skin conditions like blisters or rashes, and sores around the fingers or toes.
  • The Brain: Long-term changes in brain structure may contribute to brain damage, seizures, dizziness, hallucinations, and psychosis.

Adderall and Its Intended Use

Adderall is commonly prescribed for individuals diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and is also used to treat narcolepsy. This medication is available in both immediate-release (IR) and extended-release (XR) forms. As a controlled substance in the U.S., Adderall is regulated and its use without a prescription, or not as prescribed, is illegal.

When used by someone without ADHD or narcolepsy, or if misused, Adderall can induce a high by stimulating reward pathways in the brain, potentially leading to psychological addiction.

Chasing the High

Adderall is highly addictive when consumed outside the recommended dosages. It alters the brain’s natural production of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, impairing the brain’s ability to maintain these neurotransmitters at normal levels. Users may increase their dosage to achieve desired effects as natural production declines, leading to tolerance and escalating reliance on the drug.

To avoid withdrawal symptoms, which can be severe and include difficulty focusing, tremors, mood swings, anxiety, panic attacks, intense cravings, and depression, users may continually increase their Adderall intake. Consequently, more of the drug is required over time both to achieve the same high and to stave off withdrawal symptoms.

What to Know About Being High on Adderall

When Adderall is prescribed by a doctor, the dosage is carefully calibrated to meet the patient’s specific needs. Especially with the immediate-release version, which comes in various incremental doses, a physician can start a patient on the lowest effective dose and adjust as necessary.

Adderall poses a high potential for abuse, particularly when taken without a prescription or in excessive amounts. A high from Adderall can include feelings of euphoria, enhanced concentration, increased energy, and heightened self-confidence. This drug is particularly misused among college students who may use it to intensify their focus during study sessions.

Experiencing a high is not expected when Adderall is taken according to prescription guidelines.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with Adderall addiction, Iris Wellness Group is here to assist. We offer comprehensive treatment plans and programs designed to support a journey towards a sober and healthy life, contact us at 423-541-0656 or through our online form.

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