Should Adderall Be Prescribed to an Addict?

In America, Adderall is abused mostly by college students and young adults. An estimated 20-30% of all college students regularly abuse the drug, making it the most abused prescription medication in the country.

Adderall: The Most Commonly Abused Prescription Drug


The greatest rationalization for anyone to use prescription drugs is that they are, in fact, legal. Pending one is prescribed them. But the potential for abuse with drugs such as Adderall that contain amphetamine is astronomical. Adderall itself is one of the most recent prescription drugs to become available on the black market, and calling it merely an “upper” is an understatement. The drug is made of pure amphetamine.

The So-Called Benefits of Adderall


Obviously Adderall still has benefits despite its potential for abuse. It would not be pushed by Big Pharma if it did not. If someone is diagnosed correctly and the drug is used properly and in moderation, it can increase concentration and stamina, helping those who are affected by disorders such as ADHD remain stable and attentive. But the drug also contains a laundry list of side effects


The Issue of Self Diagnosis


Because of the sociological advertising produced by Big Pharma, many people believe now that they can diagnose themselves with almost anything. Assessing their symptoms, drawing conclusions and ultimately telling a doctor what they believe they need has become pervasive behavior in our own culture. Despite this, even a correct diagnosis is irrelevant for a drug such as Adderall. Many people skip the idea of diet and exercise, meditation practices and other holistic remedies for the ‘quick fix’.

“Side Effects of Adderall”


  • Restlessness, insomnia
  • Anxiety, irritation
  • Bladder pain
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Lower back or side pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Lack or loss of strength
  • Stomach pain
  • Weight loss


How Adderall Affects Drug Addicts


For someone with a history of drug addiction, the danger is even worse. If one is known to have issues concerning drug addiction and dependency, taking Adderall for any reason, legitimately or not, should be strictly avoided. It is strongly urged that other drugs and remedies for disorders such as ADHD are looked into for an individual such as this. Non-stimulants such as Strattera are now used to treat ADHD and its symptoms, helping increase attention span and reducing impulsive behavior and hyperactivity.

This does not mean that everyone who tries or is prescribed Adderall will become dependent or addicted to the drug. But for those of us with a potential for addictive behavior, taking Adderall is like opening up Pandora’s Box. It is easy for someone to say that they will never try narcotics; that drugs such as methamphetamine would never be something they would even consider. But Adderall is so closely related to meth and speed that other than the way the drug looks before you ingest it, you would never know the difference from the effects. But the fact is, it is easier to take Adderall from a psychological standpoint because of the public perception of it being a legal and prescribed medication.


  • Drug Abuse vs. Misuse: What’s the Difference?
    Posted at 00:01h, 12 November Reply

    […] Should Adderall Be Prescribed to an Addict? – November 5, 2014 […]

  • Sharlene Plescia
    Posted at 01:13h, 15 February Reply

    My son, a meth addict since his father gave it to him at 13 years old, had been clean for two years. He was having a bipolar/anxiety episode and asked behavioral health for an appointment to get a mental health assessment. They pushed him out a month. When he finally saw a regular doctor, she prescribed him Adderall. He was starting to abuse it at work and ended up having an episode, getting a gun and putting a hole in a couple of buildings. He did not remember what happened. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and the violation was considered by the D.A. a non-violent, no repetititive crime. He will serve 7-1/2 years. I was told that the D.A. sentenced him to 10 years because of his past record and because he admitted to getting the adderall to abuse it. In his head, he was being honest because he wanted to get a couple of years in a mental hospital to try and kick his addiction and whatever mental illness that kept leading him to using.

  • Anonnymous Expert
    Posted at 22:06h, 05 August Reply

    As someone who has a “history” of substance abuse as a teenager, and studied mental health, policy, and addiction for several years in my undergrad (graduated cum loude) – there is not one type of person that abuses drugs and there is not one singular path to leading a normal, healthy life.

    In my situation, and like many others, I needed to address underlying issues and develop coping skills. I struggled at school throughout my life, was unable to graduate high school. Stigma prevented me from addressing my ADHD but I was finally able to speak with a psychiatrist when I was in my third year of college. Being prescribed adderall changed my whole life for the better. I honestly feel that had I been prescribed this MEDICATION much earlier, I would have been able to develop proper skills, graduate high school, and probably avoided substance use entirely.

    The argument that Adderall is similar to meth is ridiculous. Let’s put that argument to bed. Yes – they are one MOLECULE in structural difference, but let’s put this in perspective. Other chemicals that have one molecule in structural difference are Oxygen, Water, and Hydrogen Peroxide. Those minuscule structures clearly make an enormous difference and I doubt you’d be gasping for water while drowning in the ocean. They’re different.

    And by the way, I’ve never seen a meth user excel in school, their careers, or relationships, reduce their rates in vehicular accidents and arrests, etc. I’ve never seen a meth user at my doctor’s office either. ADHD medications are a controlled substance that have been through rigorous medical testing to ensure quality and dosage. This is obviously not the same with meth.

    I’ve heard the similar argument made against coffee because it’s a stimulant as well but not nearly to the degree of public hatred against Adderall. My assumption is that many people drink coffee (or other caffeinated beverages) and have no effects or concerns. However, not everyone has ADHD and it becomes “the other” kind of discussion, where it’s a “them, not me” conversation. In this case, it’s easy to make assumptions about a medication or their effect. Adderall in low doses, like coffee or other stimulants, are not known to have longterm consequences.

    People who do not have ADHD or function without medication have little understanding of just how difficult managing ADHD is can be without medication – our brains literally function differently. Stimulants work well because it increases blood flow in the brain, allowing your thoughts to get from A to B, and B back to A. Boom – a super critical brain function! The ADHD person also usually has a comorbid learning, cognitive, or developmental disorder such as OCD, anxiety, dyslexia, autism or turrets.

    As a whole – we need to stop promoting these blanket assumptions on people with a history of addiction and perpetuating mental health stigma. More science needs to be done to include the wider population of people who drop-off the radar of substance use in the mid to late 20’s (which is a large pool of people), in order to get a more accurate reflection of this issue and properly analyze effects and indicators.

    Is everyone appropriate for Adderall? Of course not.

    Is every person who sees a mental health provider totally honest, or is every provider aware of substance use issues? Definitely not.

    Does Adderall have drug interactions? Yes – and everyone should become informed with whatever their taking.

    Will some people have an issue with Adderall? Statistically yes – like ANY other medication.

    I encourage you to do your own research and make your own decisions of the topic.

    But let’s not glorify this type of alarmist argument and perpetuate mental health stigma.

    Let’s also address our language – the term “addict” is outdated. The field has evolved and so should the assumed authors of this poorly written propaganda against mental health.

    • Derek Free
      Posted at 19:51h, 31 August Reply

      Anonymous Expert –

      Thank you for your prolific response based on personal experience. As a voice to a community of addicts who struggle from many types of substance abuse, we promote complete sobriety, meaning absolute abstinence from mind-altering substances. While we do not doubt that you may have found a solution in the ‘medication’ prescribed to you, that is your personal experience. Yet, while you may continue to function and live life on life’s terms while using the drug, others have found a much more profound and negative ‘relief’ effect from Adderall and therefore end up abusing it. If you are simply able to take your medication as prescribed and it helps you genuinely live a normal life, then more power to you. The book Alcoholics Anonymous even states: “If anyone who is showing inability to control his drinking can do the right-about-face and drink like a gentleman, our hats are off to him!”

      We would like to point out though that clearly you have a need to profess your opinion in no uncertain terms, that what we are saying strikes a very strong chord with you. We would urge you to consider where your need to defend yourself and your choices comes from and why you find the need to convince others of the same. We have set a specific tone and use of verbiage for our articles, including the word ‘addict’ that addresses individuals suffering from a disease. This is our belief. While we respect your opinion we also stand by ours and our dedication to helping individuals who are in need of help, and require a place to start.

      Best of luck.

  • ANONNYMOUS Not an Expert of Anything
    Posted at 16:42h, 17 April Reply

    Derek Free – Interesting take on speaking on our behalf.

    • No A.A. member should “play doctor”; all
    medical advice and treatment should come from a
    qualified physician.

    Not sure how much of the community you are speaking for but in the case of this alcoholic, I have heard the above statement at most meetings. Although it is encouraged to stay clean and sober from any and all substances, when problems that negatively affect your life, much like the same problems that were results from alcohol abuse, not treating it could be worse than simply trying to work your program harder. .

    In my program of AA, it has one goal and one goal only to stay sober from alcohol. When you apply the steps of AA to your daily life, it has huge benefits but these benefits are merely gifts, They are not guaranteed in my opinion. The only guarantee is when you are rigorously honest with yourself and work the steps in your everyday life you stay sober from alcohol.

    I drank from about 15 years alcoholically, admitting I had a problem to my girlfriend at 28. I have been sober for some a very short period of time, just over 4 years. In that time I went from not have any education beyond an AA degree from a community that I actively pursued for about 9 years and decent paying job to graduating earlier with a bachelors degree in architecture, getting married, working in a large firm and halfway through a Master Program in architecture.

    These are some of the gifts that AA provided me. Non were guaranteed. The only thing that was for sure was I would stay sober if I worked the program.

    Today, for the first time in 4 years and i experiencing debilitating anxiety which is causing my concentration level to be at a zero. Working in a creative field, this is a huge issue. I am for the first time seeking the help of therapy and a psychiatrist to help cope. My sponsor and other member of AA tell me they think of my story as a success (although I do not agree due to my current situation that lasts about 6 months) and know my commitment to the program is solid. But I am experiencing something that is out of my control and that the program just cant help with alone. It is my experience again, that AA not interfere with a doctors advice.

    Lastly, humility is a huge part of my AA community and maybe some comments in other posts lack that.

Post A Comment