The Dangers Of Snorting Adderall
Medically reviewed byDr. Ted Bender, Ph.D., LCDC
March 25, 2019
Adderall is a prescription stimulant drug with a high potential for abuse that is prescribed for the treatment of ADHD. Individuals without ADHD who take Adderall may experience effects similar to that of drugs like meth and cocaine as Adderall can produce euphoric feelings. This drug has the potential to be abused in several ways including snorting it.
The Dangers Of Snorting Adderall
Drug snorting, also called insufflation, can cause severe damage to the inside of the nose, throat, and lungs. When someone snorts Adderall, small blood vessels in their nose absorb the drug into the bloodstream. The surrounding tissue is fragile and easily irritated.
Powdered Adderall can inflame the sensitive nasal tissue, causing pain and nosebleeds. The more someone snorts Adderall, the more damaged the tissue can become. Necrosis, or death of tissue, can occur with prolonged Adderall insufflation. This may become so severe that a hole develops between the nostril walls or in the roof of the mouth.
Though the drug goes into the nose when snorted, it does not necessarily stop there. Some of the insufflated Adderall may travel to the back of the throat, dripping onto the vocal cords and making its way to the lungs. People who regularly snort Adderall can develop a hoarse voice and sore throat. Individuals with asthma may experience aggravated symptoms or a chronic cough.
Shared drug paraphernalia used to snort Adderall — like straws, hollowed pens, and rolled paper or bills — comes in contact with intranasal blood vessels. This has the potential to spread bloodborne diseases like Hepatitis C.
Why Do People Snort Adderall?
Snorting Adderall delivers it directly into the bloodstream and brain, allowing it to have a more immediate effect. When a drug is taken orally, it passes through the digestive system first. This not only delays the effects, but also causes some of the potency to be lost in the process.
Through insufflation, more of the drug gets into someone’s system. If someone snorting Adderall is unaware of this, they may take a dangerous amount. It can also be harder to regulate the dose of Adderall needed to produce the desired effect when it is snorted rather than orally ingested.
Can You Overdose While Snorting Adderall?
It is possible for someone to take too much Adderall and experience overdose symptoms. These may include shaking, weakness, vomiting, dark red urine, or diarrhea. A serious Adderall overdose can also cause rapid breathing, irregular heart rate, seizures, or loss of consciousness.
A build-up of Adderall in the body can be dangerous as well. Standard release Adderall takes effect for four to six hours, and the extended release version lasts 12 hours. Individuals suffering from Adderall addiction may take another dose before the last one is out of their system, increasing the risk of overdose.
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Signs Of Adderall Abuse And Addiction
Adderall is the brand name for a combination drug made of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It works by stimulating the central nervous system (CNS) and causing the brain release chemicals that support concentration.
Adderall abuse is commonly associated with college students who use the drug to boost their focus on a big test or project. Some students may take “study drugs” like Adderall occasionally for this purpose. Unfortunately, some begin to take it more frequently, relying on it to accomplish all tasks and taking on additional responsibilities because they feel they have more energy.
Over time, this can become exhausting. A person suffering from Adderall addiction may look successful from the outside, but constantly working to accomplish more and more can wear on a person, even with the aid of Adderall. Negative physical and mental effects may develop and grow more noticeable.
A person who is addicted to Adderall will continue to use it despite any negative effects it has on their life and health. It can be difficult to recognize signs of an Adderall addiction, but if someone knows what to look for, they may be able to save a loved one’s life.
Signs that someone is suffering from Adderall addiction may include:
- secretive behavior, like disappearing at unusual times
- abnormal energy levels and excessive responsibilities
- possession of pills that are not prescribed to them (possibly stored in baggies)
- multiple Adderall prescriptions (likely from different doctors)
- large amounts of time and money spent obtaining and consuming Adderall
Insomnia (difficulty sleeping) and appetite suppression are common side effects of stimulant drugs that can occur even with recommended use. When a person abuses Adderall, they may lose a dangerous amount of weight. This, paired with lack of sleep, can severely weaken the immune system, making a person more susceptible to other health problems.
Prolonged misuse of stimulants like Adderall also raises the risk of side effects, such as:
- stomach pain
- constipation or diarrhea
- painful menstruation
- rapid heartbeat
- chest pain
- shaking or twitching of muscles
- swelling of eyes, face, tongue, or throat
Stimulant drugs like Adderall raise blood pressure, and the more frequently it is used, the higher a person’s blood pressure may rise. Hypertension (seriously high blood pressure) is the cause of many heart problems like heart attacks and coronary artery disease. Adderall abuse can also lead to a stroke or sudden death.
Misusing Adderall may also cause someone to become aggressive or paranoid, or to experience hallucinations. The drug label warns that new psychotic or manic symptoms may arise in someone taking Adderall, and existing mental issues could be worsened.
When someone takes Adderall, more norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine are released into the brain. These chemicals regulate feelings of pleasure and reward. In a person with ADHD, stimulating these parts of the brain takes away the need for self-stimulation, allowing the individual to focus on the task at hand.
In a person without ADHD, unnaturally increasing these brain chemicals can be dangerous and counterproductive. With prolonged abuse, Adderall changes the structure of the brain, causing it to stop producing “feel-good” chemicals naturally. When the brain starts to rely on the drug to do the work, Adderall abuse can quickly turn into addiction.
Getting Help For Adderall Addiction
Once a person becomes addicted to Adderall, they may feel that there is no way out. However, plenty of addiction treatment programs are available for Adderall addiction, and many of them work with individuals to create the most effective plan for their recovery.
Adderall addiction treatment programs may include a variety of evidence-based therapies like counseling, support groups, recreation, and behavioral therapy. These treatment methods work together to resolve the numerous issues that can stem from and lead to addiction. The right treatment program will provide individuals with the tools to live healthier, happier lives.Article Sources
U.S. National Library of Medicine: DailyMed - Label: Adderall
U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Dextroamphetamine and Amphetamine