Adderall, also available as Mydayis or Adderall XR, is a drug derived from amphetamine salts that are used for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and narcolepsy. Furthermore, it is a powerful stimulant because of the pharmacological action it has on the brain.

Athletes and students have also used the drug as brain and physical performance enhancer which stirred various controversies in the past. Furthermore, Adderall was created by US-based company Richwood Pharmaceuticals, now a subsidiary of Shire Pharmaceuticals, in 1996 as an instant-release tablet for the treatment of ADHD alone. It became one of the most successful drugs of the company.

Clinical studies have shown that the drug can cause different types of side effects due to its amphetamine origin. On the most famous ones is the euphoria it produces. However, most recreational users of the drug have almost no knowledge of how the drug does this and the consequences that it carries.

Adderall And Addiction

The United States’ Food and Drug Administration has categorized Adderall as a Schedule II drug with regards to abuse and addiction potential. Schedule II is the second highest regulation the FDA can place onto a prescription psychoactive drug. Furthermore, it puts the drug under the supervision of the Drug Enforcement Agency.

The drug has been put in the same category as more famously abused drugs such as fentanyl, morphine, and heroin. According to the FDA, Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse and psychological and physical dependence. However, they currently have medical uses in the US.

Many people using Adderall claim that the drug has euphoric and aphrodisiac properties. Hence, long term use or misuse of the drug carries a significant risk of addiction and dependence. Because of the drug’s ability to increase a person’s cognitive abilities, most individuals who end up abusing the drug are college students.

Studies have shown that an estimated 20% to 30% of college students in the US have abused Adderall in the past. This has worried parents due to the adverse effects caused by this drug when users misuse it. (2)

Side Effects Of Adderall Abuse

Abusing any drug can cause various adverse side effects to a person. Moreover, there are some instances that these side effects can be life threatening. Hence, it is best to talk to a person you know who is taking Adderall and might be showing signs of these side effects.

We listed below various side effects of Adderall abuse that you should be careful about:

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Tachycardia (increased heart rate)
  • Seizures
  • Excessive grinding of teeth
  • Insomnia
  • Delusions and Paranoia
  • Depression

How Does Adderall Affect The Brain?

Amphetamine, the main ingredient of Adderall, has an impact on the user primarily by increasing the production of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine. Studies have also shown that these two transmitters are the primary neurotransmitters that are involved in the occurrence of ADHD among adults and children. Furthermore, these neurotransmitters are why Adderall get you high.

These neurotransmitters are also major contributors in increasing focus, maintaining alertness, and sustaining the effort, thought, and motivation. Furthermore, Dextroamphetamine and levoamphetamine, the salts of amphetamine present in Adderall, can activate brain receptors that increase the movement of the stimulating hormones in our brains. (1)


Bymaster, F. P., Katner, J. S., Nelson, D. L., Hemrick-Luecke, S. K., & Threlkeld, P. G. (2002). Atomoxetine Increases Extracellular Levels of Norepinephrine and Dopamine in Prefrontal Cortex of Rat: A Potential Mechanism for Efficacy in Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. New York.

Sussman, S., Pentz, M. A., & (2006). Misuse of “study drugs:” prevalence, consequences, and implications for police.