Prescription Drug Addiction & Rehab

Top Signs of Adderall Addiction

adderall addiction

Top signs of Adderall addiction include being overly talkative, loss of appetite, social withdrawal, aggression, and sleeping for long periods of time.

These are just a few behaviors of someone addicted to Adderall.

It starts off with the need to stay focused to finish a task or project at hand when a deadline is approaching fast. It helps so much, someone may believe it could help them beyond focusing on projects. Maybe it could get their life on track and make them more ambitious.

Adderall addiction affects teenagers, students, and other young people. However, anyone can become addicted to Adderall. These adolescents are not stereotypical drug users and typically don’t realize they have an addiction until it’s too late.

Below are the top signs to tell if a loved one is suffering from Adderall addiction. Read on to learn about symptoms, top signs of addiction, and ways you can help.

What is Adderall?

Typically used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Adderall is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Prescribed by doctors and classified as a central nervous system stimulant, it speeds up and heightens certain bodily processes.

Adderall Side Effects

People prescribed for Adderall are issued low doses to avoid unwanted side effects. People who are abusing the prescription will experience side effects more often and with more intensity.

Overdose is one of the worst side effects of Adderall abuse, which can lead to heart attacks, strokes and liver failure. Taking Adderall with other substances, such as alcohol, heighten the risk of a fatal overdose.


Like most drugs, when a person takes them long enough they will build up a tolerance to the effects, and begin taking more to achieve the same high.

According to the DSM-5 criteria, there are 11 criteria to tell if someone is abusing a substance. Some of these criteria include:

  • Taking the substance in larger amounts or for longer than prescribed
  • Cravings and urges to use
  • Wanting to cut down or stop using the substance but not being able to
  • Giving up important activities or work to use the substance

The DSM-5 is broken down into a rubric of 9 drug categories; each category has their own disorder. Depending on the number of symptoms a person experiences, they have a substance abuse from mild to severe.

Physical Symptoms

Those who are in close proximity to the user will notice the physical symptoms, which will emerge shortly after use. A few signs to look out for are social interactions, excitement, chattiness, a desire to work, and nervousness or anxiety.

If you don’t see your loved one every day, there are ways to tell if they are addicted to Adderall from other symptoms from the short-term effects it will cause.

Some of these symptoms will include having jitters (uncontrollable shaking), change of sleeping habits (trouble falling asleep or staying asleep), and weight loss.

Another strong indicator of Adderall addiction will be a physical change in their appearance. Depending on how addicted they become, a person will make a gradual and noticeable change in their appearance. The drug will take more of their attention, deferring it from general hygiene and physical wellness.

Behavioral Symptoms

Whether a person has been abusing their Adderall prescription or has been obtaining it other ways, each person is affected differently by the drug. Depending on how the person is using the drug (injecting or snorting) will determine the behavioral changes you’ll see.

People who inject Adderall will need certain items, similar to heroin. needs, a spoon with burn marks, lighters, items to make a tourniquet, and something easy to crush pills, such as a mortar and pestle.

This can also be used to crush the pills for snorting. Rolled up money or paper, straws, or empty pens are easy objects to point to the use of snorting crushed Adderall. You’ll also find an item used to make lines to snort, like a razor blade or credit card, sometimes with leftover residue on them. A person who snorts Adderall experiences a more intense high but does come with its own side effects.

As a person falls deeper into their addiction they will isolate themselves from friends and family and may even become secretive. Users will try to interact with others who have Adderall in common. If you see your loved one socializing with someone with the above symptoms, they are likely abusing too.

The longer a person is using Adderall the more obvious the symptoms will become. Loved ones have the opportunity to intervene and try to help. Adderall is treatable with the right rehab centers and care.

Adderall Addiction and Overdose

The long-term effects of taking Adderall can cause cardiovascular issues, dependency, and low tolerance.

If you suspect a loved one is overdosing call 911 immediately. Signs of an overdose will include, but are not limited to:

  • Panic attack
  • Hyperventilation
  • Hallucinations
  • Profound confusion or delirium
  • Vertigo
  • Loss of consciousness

Using other drugs or alcohol with Adderall increase the risk of overdosing. Certain symptoms associated with intoxication are likely to be hidden by Adderall and will go unnoticed by the user. Overdrinking while taking Adderall can lead to alcohol poisoning, coma, or death.

Keeping the medication in a safe place and monitoring its use will help ensure abuse is not taking place in your home. Not everyone who abuses Adderall is an addict. Knowing the symptoms and how to avoid them will be key in keeping loved ones on the right track.


Helping your loved one take a step in the right direction could start with an intervention. Making them aware of how they are hurting themselves and their loved ones could help them realize they have a problem.

There are treatment centers all over the country that specialize in Adderall addiction and can get your loved one back on track. Contact us if you have questions about rehabilitation centers, or check out our state-funded page to see where the closest one is to you.

About the author

Dr. Michael Carlton, MD.

Leading addictionologist, Michael Carlton, M.D. has over 25 years of experience as a medical practitioner. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and returned for his MD from the College of Medicine at the University of Arizona in 1990. He completed his dual residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics and his Fellowship in Toxicology at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center and Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

He has published articles in the fields of toxicology and biomedicine, crafted articles for WebMD, and lectured to his peers on medication-assisted treatment. Dr. Carlton was a medical director of Community Bridges and medically supervised the medical detoxification of over 30,000 chemically dependent patients annually.

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