Skip to content

Chemistry of Adderall

Adderall is an addictive prescription drug that is part of the category known as ‘stimulants’. Adderall has similar effects to methamphetamine, namely that it provides a strong and often euphoric rush of attention and energy.

What is a stimulant?

Stimulants are a category of drugs that affect the body by accelerating the function of the central nervous system, leading to a spike in neural activity in the brain. Common examples of stimulant drugs include cocaine, speed, ecstasy, nicotine and amphetamines.

Stimulants usually increase the user’s blood pressure and heart rate when consumed and commonly leave the user feeling depressed, hungry and extremely fatigued after use. This is known as a ‘come down’.

What is Adderall made of?

Adderall is the brand name for a combination drug that is comprised of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. Amphetamine is a drug that has been in use for over 130 years where it was originally used as a decongestant inhaler known as Benzedrine.

These combined ingredients create Adderall and are the reason it is so widely used as a cognitive-enhancing substance that is often misused by students and those who are required to concentrate intensely for extended periods.

How does Adderall work in the brain?

The chief way in which amphetamines and Adderall work are through suddenly raising the levels of several neurotransmitters including serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine, which exist naturally in the brain. Spikes in these neurotransmitters (particularly dopamine) impact the reward centre of the brain. Over time and with repeated use, the ability for the person to produce dopamine and other neurotransmitters naturally in the brain is affected negatively, often leading to the development of depression and other mental health issues and disorders.

What’s a simpler explanation?

During the high, the user feels intensely alert and focused and will likely feel euphoric. After use, however, the comedown of Adderall sees the individual feel the opposite; depression, extreme fatigue and mood swings are common. Continued misuse may see the person feeling unable to feel happy or normal when not consuming the drug; this is because repeated use of Adderall can physically change the structure and function of their brain.

If you or a loved one appears to be struggling with Adderall, it’s important to seek help sooner rather than later. Adderall is an addictive stimulant substance that, in extreme cases, can kill. Always remember that the definition of addiction is being unable to stop consumption of a substance, or doing an activity like gambling, despite knowing how damaging it is to you and those around you.

Rehabilitation treatment for addiction to Adderall or other stimulants is affordable and effective under the Dayhab model. If you would like more information on this or have any questions relating to Adderall addiction or addiction to any other substance or activity, please get in touch immediately with the Help Me Stop team who will be happy to discuss your concerns at no obligation whatsoever.