Adderall is a central nervous system (CNS) prescription drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1996. It is a combination of stimulants, amphetamine, and dextroamphetamine, which increase dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain. This results in enhanced concentration and focus and decreased impulsiveness. It is generally prescribed to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy (a chronic condition characterized by daytime drowsiness and overwhelming urges to sleep).
The increased mental alertness and energy Adderall delivers has made it popular among students, who use it to concentrate more and study longer. It activates the body’s fight-or-flight response and stimulates the brain, increasing dopamine production and inducing feelings of euphoria. Adderall also suppresses appetite.
When prescribed by a doctor, Adderall is taken in tablet form or as a time-release capsule, generally in the morning, to avoid disrupting sleep patterns.
When used outside of a medical context as a recreational drug, Adderall can be crushed, mixed with water and injected, mixed with tobacco and smoked, or snorted like cocaine. Currently, snorting Adderall seems to be one of the most popular ways of taking it among students, second only to oral administration.
Adderall is classified as a schedule II controlled substance because of the risk it may cause potential addiction and physical dependence. It is only legally available with a legitimate prescription from a licensed medical professional.
Nonmedical use of Adderall to self-medicate may gradually lead to a drug abuse habit and the need for addiction treatment.
Snorting Adderall produces a rapid, intense “high” due to the brain’s surge in the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine. The drug reaches the brain more quickly via the digestive system, hence the enhanced effect. Used in this way, Adderall is comparable to illegal and addictive stimulants in potency, which has made its customary use more and more common, particularly among young adults.
Among students, starting as early as high school, Adderall is frequently used as a “study drug.” By increasing powers of concentration, the drug helps them study undistracted and for more extended periods. Their thinking is that the drug will help them achieve more academically. However, studies show that unless a person has a genuine attention deficit disorder, this is not the case, and, worse, the drug can even hinder mental agility.
Misusing Adderall as a “crash diet drug” for weight loss is also expected since people feel less hunger when on it. Other people take it as an aphrodisiac, others still as a party drug to prolong their reveling. It can banish sleepiness and make a person feel less sensitive to alcohol.
While the immediate effects of snorting Adderall may feel pleasant, there are many adverse effects.
Although Adderall has several potentially harmful side effects even when taken under medical supervision, for this blog post, we will focus more on its misuse because this is when the results of snorting Adderall are the most powerful and potentially problematic.
On a psychological level, snorting Adderall can cause:
Physical side-effects of Adderall abuse include:
As the conduit by which Adderall is consumed, the nose suffers from snorting the drug as much as it does when snorting cocaine. Common symptoms are:
Adderall places a significant strain on the nervous system and heart. By interfering with the natural balance of the body and mind, it can cause health problems over time. Heavy use of Adderall over a prolonged period can produce some of the very problems it is prescribed to cure! Difficulty concentrating and finding the motivation to focus on and stick with tasks are examples.
States of mind are, of course, intimately linked to the state of the body. Some chronic physical symptoms that can arise are:
Mental states and emotions can be affected as follows:
Since if you snort Adderall, the drug’s effects are felt in just a few minutes, there is a genuine danger of overdose. “How much is a dangerous amount?” you may ask – as an indicator, bear in mind that the maximum recommended daily dose of both Adderall and Adderall XR (the extended-release form of the drug, a pill that dissolves more slowly) is 40 mg.
Risk factors for an overdose include ongoing substance addiction, a person’s medical history (for example, any past struggles with substance use disorder, mental health issues etc.), and tolerance to the drug built up by frequent use, meaning increasingly large quantities are needed to achieve intoxicating effects. Mixing Adderall with alcohol or other drugs also increases the risk of overdose.
Among the most noticeable symptoms of an Adderall overdose for the drug user are:
Obvious signs that a third party can observe include:
From the above information, it should be clear that snorting Adderall is genuinely playing with fire. But as with most drugs, going “cold-turkey” (stopping wholly and abruptly), or even stopping relatively suddenly, can cause highly unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, of which drug cravings are only the most obvious.
A person misusing Adderall and then stopping will initially experience a “crash,” suddenly coming down from the default good feelings they have become accustomed to thanks to continued use. When their mind and body have come to rely on the chemical to function more or less comfortably, the subsequent “low” may feel almost intolerable. When people have developed a habit of snorting Adderall, it is not unusual for withdrawal symptoms to persist for several weeks.
Physically a person may experience:
Mentally, they may feel depressed, irritable, or experience changeable moods.
While a clinical professional or professional treatment provider can advise on navigating withdrawal, everyone has to face the discomfort for themselves. It is strongly suggested to discontinue Adderall use under the supervision of a doctor – if the urge to escape the symptoms becomes overwhelming, resuming the use of the drug is a genuine risk. Furthermore, in some people, withdrawal-induced feelings of depression can be so intense that they develop suicidal thoughts.
Adderall is a slippery drug. Many students undoubtedly begin using it genuinely believing it is only a temporary aid to their studies. A bit of a boost to help cope with the workload and succeed better academically. Unaware of the risks, they find a substance abuse habit develops.
At Empowered Recovery Center, we hold a compassionate space for all those needing help and support finding a way out of drugs. If you or a loved one fit this description, don’t hesitate to reach out. Whatever a person’s story or path to drugs, we hold no judgment. However, we offer a different way – the one to freedom from dependency on substances.
Contact our team to find out how we can help you