Adderall is one of the fastest growing drugs in the U.S., especially on college campuses. Over two-thirds of college students have been offered the drug, and over 30 percent admit to taking it on occasion. The problem is that most students don’t think it’s a big deal and never ask the simple question: Is Adderall really bad for you? Really?
Adderall is a stimulant and amphetamine, and shares similar chemical structure with illicit drugs like Crystal Meth. Originally manufactured to treat ADHD and narcolepsy, Adderall keeps you awake and helps people focus. It’s easy to get a prescription and it’s becoming the study helper to students across the country.
But it’s not as harmless as people would like to think. Classified as a Schedule II drug, Adderall has a high potential for abuse and can lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.
Is Adderall Really That Bad for You?
The simple answer is yes, Adderall is bad for you. With multiple physical and psychological side effects, it can be dangerous, especially for those who take it regularly or have pre-existing health problems.
- Adderall overstimulates the central nervous system. Because it is a stimulant, Adderall stimulates the central nervous system. This is what causes you to be awake and energetic, but it also causes unwanted stimulations, such as insomnia and restlessness. In some cases, it has been known to induce psychosis.
- Adderall releases epinephrine, the fight or flight chemical. When you find yourself in a dangerous or high-stress situation, your body naturally releases epinephrine. When you take Adderall, it triggers the same response. This causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, and can lead to serious problems for people with cardiovascular issues.
- Adderall slows down the digestive system. One of the well-known side effects of amphetamines is they decrease your appetite. Many women use them to help lose weight and it does work, but at a cost. Adderall is an appetite suppressant because it slows down the digestive system. This also causes stomach and bowel issues such as constipation and diarrhea. Long-term use can lead to major issues such as malnutrition.
- Adderall makes you dehydrated. If you’ve ever taken Adderall, you’ve experienced the dry mouth, sometimes called cotton mouth, that accompanies it. This occurs because Adderall inhibits the production of saliva. This causes your body to lose its natural way to give the body water and leads to dehydration. On top of this, Adderall also contains ammonium, chloride, and sodium acid phosphate, which causes you to urinate more, increasing the risk of dehydration.
- Adderall impacts your mental health. One of the less talked about side effects of Adderall is the impact it has on your mental health. Not only does it cause users to experience mild psychological issues, such as paranoia, anxiety, and depression, but it can also induce psychotic and manic episodes. When this happens, people start to experience hallucinations, delusional thinking, and extreme paranoia.
- Adderall makes you crash. Sure you feel like a million bucks when you’re busy around the house cleaning or cramming for a test. But once the drug wears off, Adderall users experience a hard core crash. They feel drained, depressed, and are often very easily annoyed and anger quickly. And remember all those calories that were skipped earlier in the day? Once the Adderall is out of your system, your body needs to refuel and you become very hungry, often consuming more calories than you would have otherwise.
- Adderall makes tics and Tourette’s worse. If you suffer from tics or Tourette’s syndrome, Adderall exacerbates these and makes the symptoms much more pronounced. Extended, heavy use can even mimic these issues and cause them to develop.
- When mixed with alcohol, Adderall can have serious side effects. Many recreational Adderall users like to take the drug when drinking. They feel they can drink more and not get intoxicated. But the problem is they’re still getting intoxicated and people often drink much more than they normally would. This has been known to lead to alcohol poisoning, extreme dehydration, and even toxic shock.
- Long-term use does damage to your body. Chronic, long-term Adderall use causes many problems. It leads to palpitations, tachycardia, seizures, and even strokes. It has also been known to cause convulsions, tremors, and muscle twitches.
So is Adderall actually bad for you? Yes.
It impacts both your physical and mental health, and can cause serious problems to both your central nervous system and your cardiovascular system. It’s dangerous and highly addictive, with nearly one in 20 recreational users becoming dependent on it.
Don’t treat Adderall like it’s a cup of coffee; it’s not.
Head Image Source: Flickr/Alex Dodd | Image 1 Source: Flickr/Hannah Levin | Image 2 Source: Flickr/hipsxxheart