As a stimulant, Adderall works by increasing the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain called dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, which control mood and emotion. Because Adderall regulates mood, it’s been proven helpful in improving hyperactivity, impulsivity, and spans in attention. As a drug and alcohol rehab center in Philadelphia, we’re aware that many people abuse or misuse Adderall for its stimulating side effects. The effects of Adderall on the body as a result of long-term abuse can be very dangerous and life-threatening. While Adderall is helpful for some who have ADHD, you should not take it unless directed by your doctor.
The effects of Adderall abuse on the body are extensive. Because this drug is a stimulant, it works by targeting the brain, which in turn affects other functions. People who take Adderall without a prescription, abuse it, or misuse it in any way are at a higher risk of experiencing adverse physical side effects. Below are some long-term effects of Adderall on the body.
As the name suggests, stimulants target the brain and “stimulate” nerve activity; different stimulants will target different neurotransmitters. Adderall affects the brain by enhancing the release of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. Dopamine plays a role in the brain’s reward system by activating pleasure and also plays a role in the way we think, plan, and make decisions. Serotonin plays a key role in stabilizing mood, sleeping, eating, and digestion. Norepinephrine increases arousal and alertness and is also naturally released by the central nervous system in times of stress; this is also known as the fight-or-flight response. There’s also a connection between dopamine production and mental illness; abusing drugs like Adderall can increase the likelihood of a mental disorder.
When a person who does not have ADHD or a similar condition takes this drug, they may experience adverse Adderall effects like:
Adderall can also affect the heart by constricting blood vessels, spiking blood pressure, and increasing heart rate. Numbness is also a common side effect of Adderall abuse due to its interference with the heart and circulatory system. Additional cardiovascular symptoms of Adderall addiction include heart attack and stroke. It’s also common for people who abuse Adderall to experience frequent chest pains and shortness of breath, especially when they take a high dose. If this pattern of behavior is repeated, the person’s heart may weaken, leaving them more susceptible to cardiovascular disease and other health problems.
Since Adderall also enhances the release of serotonin, it can cause stomach and digestive problems. It causes the muscle in the digestive tract to slow, which can lead to constipation and stomach pain. Adderall can also decrease a person’s appetite, which often leads to extreme weight loss and even unintentional anorexia. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are also common side effects of Adderall on the body.
The side effects of Adderall abuse do not discriminate. Anyone who continuously misuses this drug and fails to receive professional help is at risk of deadlier consequences. At Banyan Treatment Centers Philadelphia, we offer a partial hospitalization program that allows patients to recover from their addictions while learning how to transition back into everyday life.
Even though Adderall is a prescription drug, it doesn’t mean it’s entirely safe. People who have been prescribed Adderall and begin to misuse it are at risk of addiction.