What Are the Effects of Taking Adderall Too Long Term?
Edited and published by Wellness Monster Mark
What is Adderall and its Uses?
Adderall is the brand name for the prescription drug amphetamine-dextroaphetamine. The drug is used to treat individuals that have been diagnosed with Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Generally speaking, when one is diagnosed with the disorder, the dosages start low based on their weight, age, and intensity of the diagnosis. In a healthy environment, the individual will continue to have appointments with their doctor on a regular basis to determine if the dosage is working for them or if another drug may be necessary. However, as the side effects start to rear their ugly head, some individuals may question if the benefits outweigh the risks.
Damage to Major Organs
It all begins when a person is either told or notices themselves losing focus consistently, having high energy levels, experiencing aggression, being absent-minded, forgetting things, etc. If they are young, a teacher may bring it to the attention of a parent. If they’re an adult, their child may have recently been diagnosed with ADHD and found out that typically a parent has it as well, whether they’ve been diagnosed or not. Next comes how to treat it. Many would prefer to avoid medication and attempt to treat it with therapy. Then there are those that find themselves in a situation where there appears to be no other alternative or therapy isn’t working, so they treat it instead with medication.
Long term side effects of Adderall include sleep difficulties, inability to concentrate, lack of motivation, depression, mood swings, anxiety, weight loss, heart disease, paranoia, and many more (americanaddictioncenters.org). Unfortunately, Adderall has been nicknamed the “smart drug” on college campuses across the country. As mentioned, one of the side effects is sleep loss. On college campuses, students use it to their advantage. They find themselves needing to stay up later to study for exams, get school work done, and to put it plainly, succeed. These factors increase the abuse of the drug.
Another side effect mentioned is weight loss. In this modern age, so many young people feel the pressure of being picture perfect. They see pictures of what is perceived as beautiful all over the internet and in social media and believe that is what is expected of everyone. With Adderall, there is a loss of appetite resulting in weight loss. This can be extremely dangerous as the body is not obtaining the nutrients it needs to function properly.
The two above mentioned issues may be self-induced, though still very concerning. What Adderall does on its own with no help from the person taking it aside from simply swallowing the pill (or snorting it) can be just as dangerous and possibly deadly. Major organs may be damaged by long-term use of Adderall, including the brain, heart, liver, kidneys, and lungs (beachhouserehabcenter.com). It is critically important to keep in contact with the doctor that prescribed the medicine and to always keep your general practitioner in the loop.
The brain obviously is affected by the use of this drug as ADHD is the primary need for Adderall. Some users of the drug become addicted and begin to experiment with ways to get the drug into their system quicker to obtain the side effects they desire, such as the ability to stay up later and to lose weight. Some will crush the pill and snort or inject it. By doing this, they are bypassing the digestive system and getting a rush to the brain. The result is the body begins to build a tolerance to the drug, resulting in a need for more. What happens next is they may have seizures, schizophrenia-like symptoms, and their body may have difficulty regulating its temperature causing them to overheat.
The heart and cardiovascular system are more of those critical organs that may become victims of Adderall. By abusing Adderall, or even using it for very long, the user may find that they develop high blood pressure (hypertension), or an irregular heartbeat. The heart muscle may become weak and result in cardiac arrest, or even death. It is important to monitor blood pressure while taking Adderall, especially for a long period. High blood pressure may go unnoticed for a period of time, but may also become life-threatening very suddenly.
The liver and kidneys may also be dangerously affected by the use of Adderall. Signs of liver disease are yellowing of the eyes, loss of appetite, itching, fatigue and confusion. The kidneys, along with the liver, are known as the body’s filtering system. They remove the waste and extra water in the body. Signs of kidney failure are abdominal pain, bruising that does not heal normally, swollen feet and legs, and foul breath. If these two organs fail to function properly, infections, internal bleeding, and a coma may be in the user’s future.
If an Adderall user is snorting their pill rather than using it properly to achieve the heightened side effects they crave, they risk damaging their lungs. The abuse may result in pulmonary hypertension, which is high blood pressure in the lungs. It is important to keep in mind, by snorting the medicine, a user is risking potential addiction or life-threatening overdose. Attempting to suddenly stop using Adderall may be difficult if not impossible without help. Professional medical assistance is strongly recommended.
Some of the early signs or symptoms can be noticed at low doses as well. These include restlessness, tremors, confusion, hallucinations, and panic states. (livescience.com) A healthy diet that includes protein and carbohydrates is very important to someone taking Adderall. Most people follow the idea that eating before bed is unhealthy, however in the case of an individual treating ADHD with Adderall, eating before bed may be a better option to provide their bodies with the necessary vitamins and nutrients to keep them healthy.
The Bottom Line
Adderall is not a drug to be taken lightly. Anyone that is using the drug should always maintain open communication with their doctor. Misusing and long-term use of Adderall may result in damaging health issues and/or death. Achieving good grades in school or maintaining what is perceived as the ideal weight are not worth the potential cost of losing function of major organs, death, or the other debilitating side effects mentioned.
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