Understanding Adderall: Uses and Common Misconceptions

Adderall is a prescription medication that is often used to treat Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It is a stimulant that helps individuals who have naturally low dopamine levels in their brains to regulate their hyperactive behaviors and low attention spans, creating a calming sensation that can help them stay focused and organized.

These same calming Adderall effects do not happen in the same way in people who do not have ADHD, but because it is marketed as a “focus” drug, many college students and young professionals will abuse the drug as a study aid, believing it will help them take in more information. Adderall is also sometimes used as a weight loss drug because its effects can cause people to lose their appetite.

In reality, it is an amphetamine that will certainly keep a person awake longer but will likely not help with their next essay or work project. It can cause serious personality shifts, as well as tolerance and physical dependence that can lead to addiction.

The Impact of Adderall on an Individual’s Behavior and Mood

Adderall effects are not always fun. Along with making a person feel energetic and focused, the drug can also make a person experience personality changes like aggression, mania, or hyperactivity, and with long-term use, the brain begins to become dependent on the drug to function normally, producing less dopamine than it normally would have.

This leads to low moods, irritability, and lethargy. People with an Adderall dependence will also begin to have difficulty enjoying the things they used to like doing, including hobbies, spending time with loved ones, and going out with friends. You may find you have no motivation, and experience low overall productivity. Adderall use also affects the libido, which can lead to issues in romantic relationships, frustration, and emotional distress.

Adderall and Personality Changes: What the Research Says

adderall effects on personality

When an individual abuses Adderall, they may experience temporary changes in the way they feel, with an increase in talkativeness, energy levels, and alertness. This is because it has a very close chemical makeup to methamphetamine (crystal meth), affecting the brain’s dopamine and norepinephrine levels, and making the user feel happy and energetic.

The downsides to using Adderall include experiencing paranoia, anxiety, panic attacks, and heightened symptoms of other mental health disorders as well. If you are using your regular prescribed dose of Adderall and are experiencing unpleasant side effects such as these, you can speak to your doctor and they will assess your dosage, and your medication needs to find a better solution for your ADHD treatment plan.

Fortunately, many of these types of side effects can be reversed by quitting their Adderall use in a safe rehabilitation program that uses a combination of health care, medication management services, behavioral therapy methods, and more in a holistic approach. With treatment and time, you may be able to regain your old sense of self and feel better.

The Risks of Adderall Misuse and Personality Alterations

Some of the risks of misusing Adderall, or taking Adderall that was not prescribed to you may include:

  • Memory issues
  • Disorientation
  • Paranoid delusions
  • Incomplete or racing thoughts

Adderall is a Schedule II drug for a reason. It is addictive and can cause a person to quickly feel the need to compulsively use more, with drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms if they try to stop. The drug can also result in serious health problems like:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Involuntary twitching and shaking
  • Excessive weight loss
  • Impotence
  • Psychiatric issues
  • Convulsions
  • Hallucinations
  • Headaches

There is also a serious risk of overdose with Adderall, especially if a person is snorting or injecting the drug. Using Adderall and then playing sports, going dancing, or using other substances can cause your heart rate to rise to dangerous levels, and long-term use of the drug can also cause:

  • Psychosis
  • Malnutrition
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Addiction

Identifying Signs of Adderall Abuse in Loved Ones

Some signs that a person is abusing Adderall include:

  • Being unable to function normally throughout the day without Adderall
  • A loss of interest in taking care of themselves with basic personal hygiene
  • Talking too fast, or being unable to sit still
  • Running out of their prescription early, or buying Adderall on the street
  • Being exhausted, or showing signs of withdrawal like fatigue, body aches, sleep issues, difficulty concentrating, or irritability when they don’t take Adderall
  • Being unwilling to stop using Adderall, even when it is causing clear problems in their life

The Link Between Adderall Use and Mental Health Disorders

Adderall use often causes sleep problems (insomnia), with heightened stress, irritability, and symptoms of depression including persistent sadness or emptiness, changes in appetite, feelings of guilt, and decreased overall energy levels. Mood swings are another common effect seen when a person misuses Adderall, and they can alternate between feeling giddy and euphoric to agitated and angry.

All of these fluctuations can affect people who have pre-existing personality disorders, because it intensifies emotional dysregulation, and disrupts healthy habits. Adderall does not cause a person to develop a mood or personality disorder, but the physical and emotional turmoil it can cause can make their symptoms more prevalent. This is why a dual diagnosis care program that incorporates substance abuse treatment with mental health care is often the best choice for many people who want to quit Adderall use.

Managing the Side Effects of Adderall on Personality

Your medication should not complicate your daily ability to function normally. If you have been prescribed Adderall and are taking it for medical reasons, such as treatment for ADHD symptoms, but are also experiencing disturbing or uncomfortable side effects, you can speak with your healthcare provider about your concerns. Your doctor may be able to adjust your dosage accordingly or switch you over to a different medication to help. Do not stop taking Adderall suddenly, as you may experience unwanted withdrawal symptoms. 

If you have been using Adderall recreationally, and are finding that the drug’s effects are causing problems in your life, making you feel strange, or if you notice you are becoming dependent on the drug to feel normal, then it may be in your best interest to speak with your doctor or a drug treatment center about your options. Addiction to Adderal should be taken seriously, and the sooner you get help, the more likely you will be to recover without serious health problems. 

How WhiteSands Treatment Approaches Adderall Abuse Recovery

WhiteSands is an accredited, safe place where you can come for detox and recovery from Adderall use. We are a network of Florida-based treatment centers that put the focus on your health and comfort over everything. There are inpatient and outpatient plans to choose from, with dual diagnosis care, behavioral health treatments, medical care, group and individual therapy, and so much more. Our team uses evidence-based care combined with holistic practices for an all-encompassing wellness program that will help you safely quit Adderall while addressing the underlying psychological reasons for substance abuse and teaching you the skills and tools needed to help you live your life the way you want to, substance-free.

WhiteSands is a comfortable, luxurious place to heal your mind, body, and spirit as you work toward being the version of yourself you want to become, one day at a time. To learn more about our treatment programs and how we can help, please call us at any time. We are available 24 hours a day to help you get started. 877-855-3470

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

Jackie has been involved in the substance abuse and addiction treatment sector for over five years and this is something that she is truly eager about. She has a passion for writing and continuously works to create informative pieces that not only educate and inform the public about the disease of addiction but also provide solutions for those who struggle with drug and alcohol abuse.