For many Americans, Adderall and meth are two very different drugs. One is an FDA-approved and tested medication for those with ADHD that has allowed millions to focus, excel in work, school, or other pursuits, and ultimately thrive. Meth is a growing public health crisis in the United States as the illicit drug destroys communities and takes lives in both urban and rural settings. Can Adderall and meth addiction share similarities?
Yes, once you acknowledge that both are stimulants and that legal medications, like Adderall, are just as prone to abuse as illicit drugs like meth. Most people don’t realize how similar meth and Adderall are to one another. Adderall was FDA-approved for ADHD because it affects patients differently and is safer for them to use. When people that don’t have ADHD abuse it, it causes effects that are equivalent to more potent drugs. As stated, meth and Adderall are both stimulants and can cause addiction. Evidence suggests that when people without ADHD abuse Adderall, the risks are similar to meth use.
Women’s Recovery in Colorado understands addiction. If you or a loved are in need of a prescription drug addiction treatment program, please call 833.754.0554. Our compassionate and professional staff is ready to answer any questions or help you get started on the road toward recovery.
What Is Adderall?
Adderall is a brand of prescription drug designed for those with ADHD as well as patients with narcolepsy. Ritalin is the other brand-name prescription drug that is similar and used for the same purpose. Adderall contains the stimulants amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Due to its high potential for abuse and addiction, this powerful stimulant drug is a Schedule II controlled substance. If Adderall is taken as prescribed by someone who legitimately has ADHD, it’s been proven to be extremely helpful. They experience a greater focus when managing tasks, and risky behavior reduces.
The Benefits of Adderall for ADHD Patients
When Adderall is taken by individuals not diagnosed with ADHD, they tend to get hyperactive. In those with ADHD, Adderall has the opposite effect and calms them. One of the greatest benefits students with ADHD speak about is the ability to focus on their schoolwork. They will tend to get better grades because they can retain the information they learn and focus on it in the first place. Patients with ADHD have neurological issues that cause the brain to flip constantly, making it impossible to focus on one thing. Adderall is a stimulant, so the fact that it causes hyperactivity in non-ADHD patients makes sense, but for ADHD patients, it allows them to focus on the tasks at hand. When studies were conducted regarding academics comparing Adderall vs. Ritalin, it was found that Adderall was more effective for studying. ADHD patients aren’t looking to be hyperactive. They often have less dopamine production, and a medication like Adderall will elevate their dopamine levels which helps them to feel calm and allows them to focus.
What Happens When Adderall Is Abused?
Recreational abuse of Adderall has grown in popularity over the past decade. There are many ways people without ADHD can get the drug. Patients with ADHD are willing to sell their Adderall pills because they can sell them for between $20-$30 a pill. There is also a risk of being misdiagnosed with ADD or ADHD. In this case, the patient is given a steady prescription for a drug they don’t need. Adderall abuse can cause adverse effects and lead to overdose. Symptoms of an overdose include the following:
- Abnormalities in the heart rhythm
- Confusion or delirium
- Panic attacks
Long-term usage in those who don’t have ADHD can lead to tolerance and then dependence. They will need more Adderall to get the same effects, and their body will come to rely on having Adderall in their system to function properly. This leads to addiction which includes seeking Adderall out, chronic drug use, and continued use despite the problems it causes in one’s life.
Similarities of Adderall and Meth
Adderall and methamphetamine are not precisely the same, but they share similarities. Methamphetamines are within the double methyl group. This is what separates them from amphetamines. The extra methyl group in methamphetamine causes the drug to affect the user differently. It lets the effects of the drug cross the blood-brain barrier more quickly. This makes it more potent. Meth also has a variety of chemicals and toxins that are more damaging to the brain than Adderall. Meth addiction will occur more quickly because it crosses the blood-brain barrier so much faster. What makes them similar is that they produce similar effects. Adderall and meth addiction are equally as prevalent for those who abuse these stimulants.
Effects of Meth
Adderall can be addictive like meth, but it does have its advantages in the proper dose for ADHD patients. However, meth is an illicit drug; it is used only recreationally to get high. It affects the brain much faster and is far more potent. The effects include euphoria, a feeling of invincibility and users report experiencing greater energy and alertness. Side effects are similar to Adderall but are more severe and potent. These side effects are both short and long-term and include the following:
- Brain structure and function alterations
- Inability to control thinking or motor skills
- Easily distracted
- Inability to sleep
- Loss of memory
- Violence or aggression
- May become depressed
- Deterioration of teeth
- Extreme weight loss
Effects of Adderall
Adderall can cause a variety of negative side effects even when taken as prescribed. There is a significant risk when people abuse Adderall. Abuse can include taking more than prescribed or intentionally misusing the pill. Chewing, snorting, or injecting produces health risks and further potential for addiction. With Adderall, the user may feel euphoric with more alertness and energy. This is much like the results of other stimulants such as cocaine or meth.
The adverse short-term effects of Adderall include the following:
- Suppression in appetite
- Rapid weight loss
- Potential cardiac problems
Adverse long-term Adderall effects include the following:
- Violence or hostility
While physical and psychological addiction may not be as potent, they are similar. Adderall can create tolerance over time, and withdrawal symptoms will occur.
Reach Out to Women’s Recovery for Adderall and Meth Addiction Treatment
Adderall isn’t getting the negative press that meth does, although they are quite similar. It is rarely discussed that abusing Adderall is dangerous, with addiction potential. Young people are more vulnerable to developing Adderall addiction because they don’t expect it. Meth and Adderall can be life-threatening when abused. They are both powerful stimulants that wreak havoc on physical and mental health.
Stimulant addiction will often require addiction treatment. Women’s Recovery helps women with substance use disorders overcome their addictions and move toward a life of recovery. For information about our outpatient treatment programs, call 833.754.0554 or contact us online.