Adderall, a drug commonly used to treat attention disorders and narcolepsy, is seeing an increase in recreational use. This abuse, particularly common among teenagers and young adults, has resulted in an increase of people being sent to the emergency room due to their misuse of the drug. Why is addiction on the rise with this particular drug? A number of factors contribute to its increasingly popularity and availability.

Addiction Potential

In the United States, the drug is classified as Schedule II drug. Drugs in this category may have some medicinal properties, but also exhibit a definite potential for drug abuse. Additionally, drugs in this category frequently lead to severe dependencies, both psychological and physical. Examples of other drugs in this category are morphine and methadone. This addiction potential is a major reason that abuse of the substance continues to rise. While very few people start taking the drug with the intent to become addicted, this is a frequent side effect of using it on a regular basis. The drug’s pure addictive potential contributes to the increase in people who continue to abuse it.


The drug is also known as dextroamphetamine-amphetamine and many doctors agree that it does have a potent ability to help patients with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and those with narcolepsy. These prescriptions are not given out lightly. The Food and Drug Administration warns of potential side effects which range from high blood pressure and stroke. Other potential risks include sleep disruption and an increase in probability for depression, aggressive behavior and other mental disorders. Despite these warnings, many people are exposed to the drug for the first time through friends and families who have prescriptions for the drug to treat legitimate health conditions. Misuse and abuse of the drug continues to rise because many people gain access to the medication without a doctor’s prescription. There is a plentiful supply of the drug for them to choose from. The amount of the drug being manufactured rose from 417kg in 1990 to 25,300 kg in 2012.


One of the reasons that people misuse the drug is because of the effects that it has on the body. The reasons that the medication is prescribed for people with ADHD is because it helps them to obtain a way of focusing on tasks that people without the condition have. But those who do not have ADHD take the drug and report an excessive ability to stay focused and motivated. The effects that people with ADHD have when taking the medicine are much more pronounced. The ability to focus is especially valued by students, which is why the drug is so popular among people under the age of 25. A 2016 article in the Journal of Psychiatry found that the use of the drug rose by 67% in people under the age of 25 from 2005 to 2011. But older adults also abuse the drug, particularly those in high stress occupations.

Perceptions of the Drug

One of the reasons that this drug continues to be abused is thanks to the public perception of both the drug and the conditions that it is used to treat. In the United States, ADHD is not very well understood and many people believe that the condition is over diagnosed by doctors. This perception leads to the belief that the drug is a harmless study aid or a way to increase focus.

Difficulty in Quitting

Like many other addictive substances, can be difficult to quit. After being addicted for a long period of time, addition actually causes changes to the chemical makeup of the brain. Withdrawal symptoms become apparent shortly after quitting the drug and the effects of the detox on an addict can be quite painful. Drug abuse can result in withdrawal symptoms such as cravings, paranoia, aches and pains, depression, and anxiety. The discomfort of these symptoms are why many people are hesitant to stop their addiction, and this results in a continual cycle of abuse of the drug. For anyone who is attempting to quit, seeking professional rehab services to handle the detox symptoms is recommended. Ending an addiction with the help of certified counselors and medical professionals in a rehab setting is often much more obtainable than trying to quit alone.

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