A college student on Adderall attempts to take an exam

Adderall XR, along with other amphetamine containing medications, comprises some of the most highly prescribed attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medications. For example, 2014 alone saw nearly one million prescriptions for Adderall’s extended release version and other amphetamine medications. (1) However, this common prescription has a high potential for abuse and addiction.

Here we take a look at the dangers of Adderall XR addiction.

What is Adderall XR?

Adderall XR is a prescription medication used for attention-deficient related disorders, A woman looks over her prescription of Adderall XRincluding bipolar disorder. It is the extended release version of Adderall, which contains a mix of amphetamine salts. It is a Schedule II drug, meaning it has the strictest regulations controlling its prescription and use.

This is due to prescription amphetamines having stimulant effects similar to that of illegal drugs of abuse (like cocaine or methamphetamine). Adderall XR typically works over the course of 12 hours due to its extended release mechanism.

Many users, however, crush the medication to eliminate the extended release mechanism. (2) This also allows the user to snort Adderall.

What are the effects of Adderall XR?

The effects of the drug mimic those of other stimulant drugs, also known as “uppers”. It is also abused commonly by college students and young adults due to the belief it will provide an academic edge. (3)

The following effects are associated with Adderall XR (4):

  • Euphoria
  • Increased concentration
  • Increased Energy
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Heart palpitations

Is Adderall XR addictive?

Central nervous system stimulants have a high potential for both physical and physiological addiction. Adderall XR abuse causes the individual to develop a tolerance to the drug. This means that they will need to take more of the drug to achieve the same effect.

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Abuse of the prescription drug also causes a physical dependence on the drug. This means that a withdrawal syndrome will occur if the user suddenly stops taking the medication.

Adderall XR withdrawal symptoms mirror that of other stimulant drugs, and include the following:

  • Lethargy and extreme fatigue (sometimes referred to as “crashing”)
  • Headaches
  • Muscle cramps
  • Return of appetite
  • Increased heart rate, chills, sweating, and other nervous system issues
  • Mood swings
  • Drug craving (5)
  • Rapid weight loss

Final Note

This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.


  1. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/15/ritalin-prescriptions-double-decade-adhd-mental-health
  2. https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-63164/adderall-xr-oral/details
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18174822/
  4. https://www.rxlist.com/adderall-xr-capsules-drug.htm
  5. http://www.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/drugtreat-pubs-modpsy-toc~drugtreat-pubs-modpsy-3~drugtreat-pubs-modpsy-3-7~drugtreat-pubs-modpsy-3-7-aws