What Happens if you Snort Adderall? Effects, Dangers, Overdose, Signs of Abuse, Addiction & Treatment
What is Adderall?
Adderall is a prescription stimulant drug used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD. It may also be regularly abused as a “study drug” to enhance focus and increase wakefulness; as a “crash diet drug” for its appetite-suppressing effects; and recreationally as a “party drug” for the heightened euphoria, energy, and excitability it can promote. A study at the University of Kentucky found that 30 percent of its students had abused an ADHD medication like Adderall at some point in their lives, CNN reports, which may represent a microcosm of a larger picture of college campuses around the country.
Adderall is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine that is available in immediate-release (IR) or extended-release (ER) formulations. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued warnings regarding the possible dangerous side effects of the drug, including the potential for a life-threatening overdose when the medication is not taken as prescribed.
Adderall may be abused by taking it without a medical need, for recreational purposes, taking more of the dosage than prescribed, or by altering the drug to use in a way other than intended.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) categorizes Adderall as Schedule II since it has a high potential for abuse, diversion, and addiction, even though it does have legitimate medical uses as well. Abusing Adderall in any manner can be dangerous. The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) reported that in 2011, more than 17,000 people sought emergency department (ED) treatment for a negative reaction to an amphetamine-dextroamphetamine medication.
What Happens if you Snort Adderall? Can I Snort Adderall?
One of the major potential dangers of snorting Adderall is overdose, which can lead to coma, brain damage, or even death. The stimulant nature of the amphetamine in Adderall serves to raise heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and respiration rates, and it makes changes to brain chemistry related to pleasure, appetite, sleep functions, energy levels, and concentration abilities.
When it is taken necessarily for medical reasons and working as prescribed, Adderall can help people focus, combat hyperactivity, and help balance some of the chemicals in the brain that are negatively affected by ADHD. When abused, the functions of the central nervous system may be increased to hazardous levels.
Adderall tablets or capsules are often crushed and then snorted for a more rapid “high.” Crushing and then snorting Adderall medication that has an extended-release format, like Adderall XR, bypasses the way the drug is supposed to be slowly released in set doses over a set period. Instead, it sends the entire amount of the drug into the bloodstream at once.
The brain may be overwhelmed by the amount of Adderall suddenly in its system and may not be able to safely break down the drug. Seizures, racing heart rate, hypertension, fever, severe confusion, and psychosis may be side effects of Adderall overdose, and these can result in stroke, heart attack, or death without swift medical treatment. Mixing other drugs or alcohol with Adderall only increases the risks.
Effects of Snorting Adderall
What Happens if you Snort Adderall? Adderall can increase the levels of some of the brain’s chemical messengers, like norepinephrine, epinephrine (adrenaline), and dopamine, which are partially responsible for making people feel good by enhancing pleasure. These messengers also ready the body for anything that may come its way by increasing alertness and activating the “fight-or-flight” response.
These effects may be desirable, and someone abusing Adderall may be keen to recreate these good feelings. This is when dependence has formed. When the drug is then removed or its use is stopped, uncomfortable Adderall withdrawal symptoms, like depression, fatigue, insomnia, difficulties concentrating or thinking, memory issues, tremors, and anxiety, may occur. Oftentimes, withdrawal symptoms are the opposite experience of an Adderall “high.”
Drug cravings and the desire to avoid withdrawal symptoms may translate into drug-seeking behaviors and compulsive Adderall abuse. Snorting Adderall may lead to an increased risk of developing an addiction to the drug, NIDA reports, as it sends the drug more quickly into the brain, thus creating the chemical changes more rapidly than swallowing the drug may.
Can Snorting Adderall Make People High?
When Adderall is snorted it releases a large concentrated dose of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine into the bloodstream. Because the drug is not absorbed into the bloodstream through the GI tract, but rather through the mucus membrane of the sinus passes, it’s absorbed much quicker than if it were taken orally.
Individuals snorting Adderall can expect to feel a euphoric high within just a few minutes. They may also feel extremely focused, have high energy, and be over-excited. Snorting the drug can increase the risk of the individual developing a physical dependence on Adderall too.
Side Effects of Snorting Adderall
What Happens if you Snort Adderall? There is no question that snorting Adderall is bad for anyone using it. The adverse side effects of snorting Adderall can include:
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Motor or verbal tics
- Muscle pain
- Rapid heart rate
- Suicidal thoughts
Apart from having to deal with these negative side effects, the individual also risks contracting infectious diseases if they share snorting implements with other people. Furthermore, there is a very real chance of damaging nasal cavities thus hindering the ability to make mucus and killing the sense of smell.
Dangers of Snorting Adderall
What Happens if you Snort Adderall? In addition to the high risk for an unintentional overdose, there are many other hazards specific to snorting Adderall, such as damage to the nasal and sinus cavity, respiratory infections, and lung damage.
Other side effects of Adderall abuse may include:
- Fast breathing
- Blurred vision
- Itching or rash
- Numbness in extremities
- Increased aggression and hostility
- Hallucinations or delirium
- Panic attacks or paranoia
- Chest pain
- Stomach pain
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Changes in sex drive or sexual dysfunction
- Racing heart rate
- Trouble sleeping
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Dry mouth
- Potential damage to brain functions involving learning and memory
Can Snorting Adderall Cause an Overdose?
What Happens if you Snort Adderall? It is clear to see that snorting Adderall is dangerous. There are several negative side effects as seen above, but there is a risk of hospitalization and even death. Adderall is a stimulant, and therefore it has a quicker onset and negative effects also occur at a faster rate. There is an increased risk of dependency and withdrawal can be difficult. The individual can also become addicted to Adderall and there is the possibility of overdose. Some signs of Adderall overdose are:
- Cardiac arrest
- Excessive sweating
- Rapid heart rate
- Unusual changes in behavior
Signs of Adderall Abuse
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) published that in 2013, close to 1.5 million Americans aged 12 and older abused a prescription stimulant drug like Adderall at the time of, or in the month leading up to, the survey. Adderall abuse or addiction is associated with the following:
- Prescription bottles in belongings or trash even if there is no medical need for the drugs
- Going through prescriptions for Adderall faster than necessary
- Seeking out a prescription when it isn’t needed by manufacturing symptoms or “doctor shopping” (asking multiple doctors for the same prescription)
- Evidence of powder on clothes, the face, or around the nose and mouth
- Cutting, or drug-crushing, tools
- Snorting paraphernalia, such as razor blades, mirrors, straws, rolled-up dollar bills, and pen cases
- Unpredictable mood swings, from euphoric, focused, and energetic to depressed, violent, and anxious
- Significant weight loss and change in appetite levels
- A decline in physical appearance
- Drop-in grades or trouble at work
- Potential financial strain due to spending money on Adderall
- Increased risky behaviors and drug use despite negative consequences
- Lack of interest or involvement in things not involving Adderall
- Social isolation or withdrawal and trouble with interpersonal relationships
- Increased secrecy
- Possible run-ins with law enforcement or legal troubles
- Unreliability and an inability to consistently keep up with obligations
- Drastic changes in sleeping habits, swinging from being awake for long periods to then “crashing” for hours or more
Adderall, when used as prescribed, may be beneficial for individuals battling ADHD; however, when someone is snorting Adderall and uses it outside of a medicinal purpose, it can be dangerous. Abuse of Adderall can potentially cause a life-threatening overdose or other medical complications, and lead to addiction.
Physical and Psychological Adderall Addiction Signs
What Happens if you Snort Adderall? Physical Adderall addiction signs can emerge shortly after use. Adderall triggers the release of dopamine and other neurotransmitters in the brain. Prescribed users get a therapeutic benefit from it while recreational users who abuse this stimulant can get high. The following are some Adderall addiction signs of abuse:
- A sensation of excitement or being hyperactive
- Being talkative
- Thinking about things more than usual
- A feeling of impatience, worry, nervousness, and anxiety
- The illusion of wellness
- A desire to work
- Feeling social
- Getting insights into the meaning of life
These Adderall addiction signs would be perceptible to someone in the immediate environment of the person who is abusing Adderall. However, the people who are most likely to be concerned about the Adderall abuse may not be around when it’s going on. For this reason, it can be helpful to know the short-term effects of Adderall, which can linger long enough to be perceived by family, friends, work colleagues, and classmates. Some of the more commonly reported side effects of Adderall abuse are:
- Sleep difficulties (falling asleep or staying asleep)
- Shaking uncontrollably in an area of the body, such as a leg
- Changes in one’s level of sexual interest
- Dry mouth
- Weight loss or malnutrition
In addition, a person may experience mental health side effects such as Adderall addiction signs. Some of these symptoms are hallucinations and believing things that aren’t true. Serious side effects may be less common, but they can happen and it’s best to know what’s possible. The following are some of the most severe side effects associated with Adderall abuse:
- Exhaustion, fever, rash, or itching
- Shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing or breathing, or hoarseness
- Verbal or muscular tics
- Blistering or peeling skin, swelling of the throat, face, tongue, or eyes
- Pounding heartbeat or fast heart rate
- Chest pain
- Feeling faint, dizziness, or changes in vision
- Numbness in the arms or legs
- Slowed speech
Adderall abuse is also associated with long-term side effects. Adderall is exceptionally addictive, which means abuse runs the risk of developing into a stimulant use disorder. It has also been noted that when an individual stops using Adderall (i.e., goes into withdrawal), they may experience suicidal thoughts, mania, panic, or nightmares.
There does not appear to be extensive information available about the impact of Adderall or other stimulants on the major organs or the brain in the long term. Note, however, that the way Adderall is administered can impact one’s health on a long-term basis. A person who crushes, liquefies, and injects the drug may experience collapsed veins. Those who crush and sniff Adderall may damage their nasal cavity.
Adderall Addiction is more likely to develop in teens and young adults because of its effects of increasing dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the central nervous system (CNS).
Norepinephrine affects how the brain responds to events, particularly how it pays attention and the speed with which it reacts to outside stimuli. Dopamine, the body’s “feel-good” chemical, creates a rewarding effect. Although dopamine occurs naturally, drugs like Adderall produce unnaturally high levels of it. This can cause users to come back for more.
The prolonged use of Adderall can lead to addiction and its associated risks. Contrary to what many teens — and even some parents — believe about abusing Adderall, amphetamine is a highly addictive drug.
Adderall Addiction Treatment
There are no approved medications to help treat an Adderall addiction. Instead, treatment is focused on supervising a person as they go through a detoxification process. Withdrawal from stimulants like Adderall can be extremely uncomfortable and stressful for the body. The doctor will refer the person to an inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation center or detox facility.
During rehab, doctors will help the person through the withdrawal process and make it easier to manage any withdrawal symptoms. It’s not recommended that someone quit Adderall cold turkey. Instead, the doctor will slowly lower the dosage under medical supervision. This is called tapering.
In general, the steps for treating an Adderall addiction include the following steps:
- Undergo psychotherapy or behavioral therapy
- Develop an aftercare plan. This can include attending ongoing individual and group psychotherapy conducted by licensed therapists.
Doctors and therapists at We Level Up treatment center will help you understand how to live your life without the drug. They can help you find new, healthy coping skills to live your best life.
Reclaim your life from Adderall Addiction
Adderall Addiction can become a chronic disease that may cause major health and social problems that should not be taken lightly. We Level Up treatment rehab & detox center can provide you, or someone you love, the tools to recover from Adderall Addiction with professional and safe treatment. Feel free to call us to speak with one of our counselors. We can inform you about this condition by giving you relevant information. Our specialists know what you are going through. Please know that each call is private and confidential.