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How Does Adderall Tolerance Work?

Jennifer Cousineau MSCP, LPCI, NCC

Medically reviewed by

Jennifer Cousineau MSCP, LPCI, NCC

March 29, 2019

Tolerance to Adderall can be quickly built up, especially when it is abused. Tolerance can cause people to take more of the drug to feel the same effect. Getting treatment for Adderall addiction can put an end to the vicious cycle of tolerance, dependence, and addiction.

Adderall, a prescription medication used in the treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy, is a widely abused drug. As a central nervous system stimulant, this medication is highly addictive, especially when abused.

Studies have shown that this drug is widely abused among a number of different populations, especially college students. Many students will take Adderall as a “study drug” to help cram for a test or complete an assignment.

Additionally, people looking to lose weight may abuse Adderall, as this drug is a strong appetite suppressant. Individuals with intense work environments may also use Adderall to stay awake during long hours or to get ahead.

There are many consequences that can come from abusing Adderall, regardless of the reason for abuse. One of these consequences is the rapid increase in tolerance to the drug.

Adderall Tolerance

Adderall works by increasing the levels of dopamine and other neurotransmitters in the brain. Dopamine is part of the reward system in the brain, and Adderall’s impact on it is a primary reason why the drug is so addictive.

Due to how this medication affects the brain’s neurotransmitters, abusing Adderall can quickly lead to tolerance. A tolerance to Adderall means that more of the drug is needed to experience the same effect. This is especially true for people who abuse the drug by taking more than what is prescribed or by taking it more often.

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How Quickly Does Adderall Tolerance Develop?

How soon a person experiences a tolerance to Adderall will depend on a number of factors that may include:

  • how much of the drug is being taken
  • how often the drug is taken
  • the length of time the drug has been taken
  • any other substances being taken with Adderall
  • variables such as age, weight, height, sleep habits, stress levels, etc

Tolerance will typically build up in anyone who takes the drug for an extended period of time. However, taking more of the drug more often will result in a faster tolerance level.

What Causes Adderall Tolerance?

Tolerance is a normal occurrence for many drugs. The brain and body become accustomed to the drug and more of it is needed to have the desired effect.

Adderall tolerance is usually not built up quickly, though. This is only the case when it comes to abuse of the drug. Many people will be able to stay at the same dose for several months or years before needing to readjust their medication due to tolerance.

Getting Help For Adderall Abuse And Addiction

If you are struggling with an addiction to Adderall, getting help is the best way to overcome addiction and live a substance-free life. Most people find success through formal treatment options such as inpatient treatment.

An inpatient treatment program can help address all aspects of addiction. Inpatient treatment programs also provide personalized and intensive recovery plans to meet the needs of each patient.

To learn more about how Adderall tolerance works and the treatment options available for Adderall addiction, contact our treatment specialists today.

The Huffington Post - Adderall: The Most Abused Prescription Drug in America

Mental Health Daily - Adderall Tolerance: Causes & How To Prevent It

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