Productivity Drugs: Adderall Abuse

Productivity Drugs: Adderall Abuse 



Adderall is a combination of amphetamine aspartate, amphetamine sulfate, dextroamphetamine saccharate, and dextroamphetamine sulfate. It is used in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) which is when an individual (often children) are hyperactive-impulsive or have inattentive symptoms resulting in significant impairment to social, academic, or occupational functions. Individuals who either have not been diagnosed or do not suffer from ADHD abuse Adderall for its stimulant properties. With a drug warning like the one above, its use in individuals not suffering from ADHD carries a significant risk.

Why is Adderall abused? For some, Adderall is used to maintain wakefulness and concentration for long periods of time. Adderall and other “productivity” drugs have gained in popularity for teens, college students and professionals attempting to meet deadlines or study for exams. There is an illicit market for drugs such as Adderall, where dealers or “traders” can purchase the drug from individuals with legitimate prescriptions to sell to those who do not. It can bring a profit of “triple to five times the original (purchase) price”.2

 What are the risks of taking Adderall? The use of amphetamines can cause a number of side effects from mild to severe and include: nervousness, restlessness, headache, nausea, dry mouth, loss of appetite, pounding or fast heartbeat, shortness of breath, excessive tiredness, seizures, weakness/numbness in the arms or legs, dizziness, slow or difficult speech, chest pain, paranoia, hallucinations, aggressive behavior, vision changes, mania, itching, swelling, hives, rash, blistering or peeling skin. The desirability of the positive effects (increased concentration and wakefulness) may outweigh the profuse number of negative side effects for some users. The long-term use of Adderall has not been evaluated in clinical trails. In addition, with out close evaluation by a health care provider the addiction potential is extremely high for this drug as is the risk of overdose. What we do know about long-term abuse of amphetamines is that “over time, amphetamine abuse may result in psychotic behavior similar to paranoid schizophrenia, violence, aggression, and seizures”.3

Interested in reading more about other “productivity drug” abuse? Check out “Productivity Drugs: Methylphenidate Abuse”


  1. Adderall. RXList: Drugs A-Z. Accessed December 23, 2013. <>
  1. Adderall: America’s Favorite Amphetamine. Huffington Post. October 29, 2013. Accessed December 23, 2013. <>
  1. Important Facts About Amphetamine and Methamphetamine Abuse. University of Rochester Medical Center: Online Medical Encyclopedia. Accessed December 23, 2013. <>



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