Is It Possible to Overdose on Adderall?

Adderall is a prescription drug that is commonly prescribed to treat ADD and ADHD. While not as commonly used, it can also be prescribed to treat narcolepsy as well. In its purest form, it is actually a type of speed that acts on the central nervous system. For those suffering from ADD or ADHD, it is used to help improve focus and function. However, given the fact that it is a stimulant, it, unfortunately, gets abused, not just by those who might be medically prescribed it, but also by those who are simply looking to use it recreationally. As a result, it can lead to addiction and in some cases even an overdose. In this blog, we will take a look at what Adderall is and the risks associated with Adderall abuse and addiction, including the signs of Adderall overdose.

What Is Adderall?

As we touched on in the introduction, Adderall is a stimulant that is commonly prescribed to treat ADD and ADHD. It can also be used to treat those suffering from narcolepsy. It is an amphetamine and, as a result, is considered a Schedule II controlled substance due to it having the ability to be highly addictive. Doses of Adderall range from 5 to 30 milligrams and it is often administered in tablet form to be ingested orally. People who abuse Adderall or use it in ways other than directed might crush up the tablets and snort it in order to get a more immediate result. 

How Common Is Adderall Abuse?

While millions of people take Adderall every day to help treat their ADD and ADHD, there are also a lot of people who take it for non-medical purposes, or recreationally. In fact, in 2014 alone there were more than 4 million people in the United States between the ages of 18 and 25 who took Adderall recreationally. Adderall is particularly commonly abused by those in this age range as it is a popular drug for those who are in school to take in order to help them study for tests and get better grades in school, even if they aren’t medically prescribed it. Since Adderall is an amphetamine or stimulant, for those who don’t need Adderall to help treat their ADD or ADHD, Adderall can help someone stay up for hours and hours without the need for a break.

Since it is so popular amongst young adults, even those who aren’t medically prescribed it, there is a much higher risk of addiction and even overdose. Most people who take Adderall recreationally don’t concern themselves with things like dosage or how much they are ingesting in a certain period of time. They just take as much as they want until they reach their desired goal and don’t really think about the consequences too much. This can be very dangerous and lead to significant health issues. 

In What Ways Is Adderall Abused?

Unlike many other drugs of abuse, Adderall often isn’t viewed in the same negative light due to the fact that it is medically prescribed and, when used as directed, can help greatly in people who suffer from ADD or ADHD. For some people who medically need it, without Adderall their ability to go about their daily lives would be a significant struggle. It also doesn’t have the same negative connotation because of how many people are medically prescribed it. If you, yourself, aren’t medically prescribed Adderall there’s a very good chance someone in your family is, or you know someone who is. 

That being said, because of how common Adderall is, it can also be easily abused. For those who take Adderall who isn’t prescribed by a doctor, the medical consequences of taking and abusing Adderall can be severe. Some of the most common reasons that Adderall is used in ways other than directed and abused include:

  • To help focus on studying or cramming for a test
  • Staying awake for long periods of time
  • Weight loss
  • Increased focus to help improve athletic performance

What Demographics Most Commonly Abuse Adderall?

As we touched on in the introduction, Adderall is commonly abused by those between the ages of 18 and 25, usually for the purposes of studying for a test or getting better grades in school. That being said, there are other demographics who commonly abuse the drug and take it for reasons other than medically directed. Let’s take a look at some of the demographics that most commonly abuse Adderall.

People with Eating Disorders or Those Looking to Lose Weight

Adderall is considered to be an appetite suppressant. In fact, one of the most common side effects amongst those who are medically prescribed Adderall is a loss of appetite. As a result, those who suffer from an eating disorder or those looking to lose weight fast might find it be advantageous to take Adderall. 


It’s no secret that during their respective seasons, athletes often have a crazy and hectic schedule. This is particularly true at the professional level where games are often played on consecutive days or nights and travel is often done between cities in the middle of the night. Athletes might then turn to Adderall to help combat the fatigue and help keep them mentally sharp. In fact, it has gotten so prevalent in professional athletics that many pro sports leagues have banned the substance entirely unless the player has a prescription for it from a doctor. 

Students and Professionals

While it’s pretty commonly known that students will often abuse Adderall to help them study and cram for tests, especially at the college level, what many people might not know is that those in the professional world often abuse Adderall as well. Especially in those fields that require a lot of demand and laser-sharp focus, Adderall can help a person focus better and stay awake longer while staying sharp and not feeling the effects of sleep deprivation. 

Can You Overdose on Adderall?

Even for someone taking Adderall as medically directed, there is a risk of the development of an addiction or overdose. For someone who is taking it recreationally, those chances are even greater. Since Adderall is such a popular drug to take, both medically prescribed and recreationally, it is important to know the signs and symptoms of a possible Adderall overdose. And Adderall overdose that goes left untreated can lead to serious medical problems and even death. Some common signs and symptoms of an Adderall overdose include:

  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Tremors
  • A breakdown of the muscles in the body
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hyperactivity
  • Rapid breathing
  • Stomach pain
  • Fever
  • Aggressiveness
  • Panic attacks
  • Heart attack
  • Anxiety
  • Severe depression
  • Discolored urine
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness

If you or someone you know begins experiencing any of these symptoms as a result of taking Adderall, seek immediate medical attention. It could mean that the dosage is too high or it could be an overdose.

Is Adderall Addiction and Overdose Treatable?

While treatment for Adderall addiction might not be able to solve all the medical issues that could arise from it, especially if there is an overdose, there are treatment options to get off Adderall and no longer be dependent on it.

Before any sort of treatment can begin though, the first step is to detox off of Adderall and any other harmful substances that you might also be on. Without ridding the body and brain of these harmful substances, it can not truly begin to recover. Detoxing should be done under the care and supervision of trained medical professionals. This can be done at either a local medical facility, a treatment facility that also offers detox services, or even a dedicated detox center such as Coastal Detox. Attempting to self-detox can be incredibly dangerous and even life threatening.

Once detox has been completed, the next step is to begin treatment. When it comes to treating Adderall addiction and dependency, psychotherapy is one of the most popular options. CBT or cognitive-behavioral therapy specifically, is used to essentially reprogram the brain and teach it not to need Adderall anymore. Additionally, CBT helps the person in treatment understand the relationship between their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and their addiction. A major advantage of CBT is that it can be done in both inpatient and outpatient treatment.

What Are The Signs of Adderall Abuse?

Adderall abuse is common due to the easy access to which people can obtain it. If you don’t have an Adderall prescription, chances are someone in your family or someone that you know does. Luckily, for those who find themselves suffering from Adderall abuse and addiction, there are ways to get help. At Coastal Detox we understand that while detox is the first step on the road to recovery, it is a vital one. In fact, without first detoxing, the treatment process can’t truly begin. For more information about our detox programs and the substances we treat in addition to Adderall, contact us today.

Jodi Silverman Goldberg
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