Long Term Effects of Adderall on the Body (INFOGRAPHIC)

What are the long term effects of Adderall on the body? Here, we present the damage that Adderall do to your body in a SHAREABLE graphic.

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SUMMARY: The body experiences serious long term effects after chronic Adderall use. All body organs can be affected, and the risk for cardiovascular strokes is extremely high. More long term effects of Adderall on the body here.


Correct and Incorrect Use

Adderall is a strong stimulant medication that is a combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. It is prescribed for the treatment Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, but is frequently used by students or professionals for performance enhancement. Effectively, Adderall paradoxically calms the nervous system of those who need it…and helps others who misuse it maintain focus and concentration.

Long Term Effects of Adderall on the Body (INFOGRAPHIC)

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Misuse of a prescription stimulant means:

  1. Taking Adderall in a way or dose other than prescribed.
  2. Taking someone else’s medicine.
  3. Taking medicine only for the effect it cause, or to get high.

According to the Monitoring the Future Study pubished by NIDA, more college students misuse Adderall than their peers.

The Definition of “Long-Term”

Unfortunately, manufacturers and government authorities are shady about the exact amount of time that is considered “long-term” for Adderall use. “Long-term” use might mean more than one month of daily dosing, during which you are expected to develop Adderall drug dependence. Or, “long-term” use may be 3 months, 6 months, or years of use.

In truth, people are prescribed this medication over the course of years. But this kind of use carries with it certain risks. Further, Adderall may actually begin to be less effective over tim. The drug label reads that the:

“Effectiveness of Adderal for long-term use has not been systematically evaluated in controlled
trials. Therefore, the physician who elects to use Adderall for extended periods should periodically reevaluate
the long-term usefulness of the drug for the individual patient.”

Unfortunately, this 2012 article publisehd in the medical journal, Brain and Behavior, summarized that long-term effects of Adderall – either adverse or positive – remain unknown. There few long-term studies (longer than 24 months) on the use of stimulants for the management of ADHD; therefore, the precise long-term effects are still undocumented.

Addiction Liability

Adderall has a high potential for addiction. In fact, the drug is scheduled as a Schedule II medication by the Controlled Substances Act put into law in 1971.  Even more, the FDA approved label for Adderall has numberous precautions written at the beginning. The updated warnings read:

“Amphetamines have a high potential for abuse. Administration for prolonged periods of time may lead to drug dependence and must be avoided. Particular attention should be paid to the possibility of subjects obtaining amphetamines for non-therapeutic use or distribution to others, and the drugs should be prescribed or dispensed sparingly. Misuse of amphetamine may cause sudden death and serious cardiovascular adverse events.”

Additionally, if you’re taking Adderall to get high…it can lead to addiction, known to doctors as a substance use disorder (SUD). Addiction can also develop when Adderall has been prescribed. The hallmark sign of a problem sis continued use of the drug despite health problems or failure to meet responsibilities at work, school, or home.

Main Effects of Adderall

As noted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, prescription stimulants like Adderall work by increasing the activity of the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine. Bascially, the stimulant boosts the effects of these chemicals in the brain and body. Dopamine affects feelings of pleasure. Norepinephrine affects blood vessels, blood pressure and heart rate, blood sugar, and breathing.

The end result of taking Adderall is changes the normal communication between brain cells, producing a ‘high’ while also increasing the risk for dangerous side effects.

Long-term use of stimulants, even as prescribed by a doctor, can cause a person to develop a tolerance, which means that he or she needs higher and/or more frequent doses of the drug to get the desired effects. Repeated misuse of prescription stimulants, even within a short period, can cause psychosis, anger, or paranoia

Primary effects of Adderall on the body

  • addiction
  • coma
  • mania
  • psychosis
  • violent, aggressive, or hostile behavior

Secondary effects of Adderall on the body

  • depression
  • emotional instability
  • impaired speech
  • impaired thinking
  • insomnia
  • lack of coordination
  • motor and verbal ticks

Tertiary effects of Adderall on the body

  • dissatisfaction with life
  • emotional and mental discomfort
  • irritability
  • mood swings
  • nightmares

Body Effects of Adderall

Adderall impacts almost every organ in the body. Below is a list of side effects that we have graphically represented in the infographic above. Reference sources for these effects are listed at the end.

Damage to the cardiovascular system: Cardiovascular collapse, uncontrolled high blood pressure, hypertension, collapsed blood vessels, septicemia (blood poisoning), coronary artery disease

Damage to the ear, nose, throat: Swelling of the eyes, face, tongue, or throat; difficulty swallowing; hoarseness; auditory hallucinations.

Damage to the gastrointestinal system: Stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea.

Damage to the heart: Stroke, heart attack, increased heart rate, pounding heartbeat, cardiomyopathy.

Damage to the kidney: Painful urination, acute renal failure.

Damage to the liver: Increased ALT enzyme levels in the blood, liver damage, viral hepatitis.

Damage to the lungs: Shortness of breath, respiratory depression, irregular respiration.

Damage to the mouth: Dry mouth, sores, ulcers, white spots in the mouth, white spots on the lips, unpleasant taste.

Damage to the muscular system: Convulsions or shaking of the body, weakness.

Damage to the nervous system: Numbness in finger and toes, damaged nerve cells.

Damage to the skin: Itching, blistering skin, peeling skin, rashes, hives.

Got Questions?

Do you have any questions about Adderall? Comments? Please leave your feedback in the comments section at the end. We try our best to respond to all real-life questions with a personal and prompt reply. Plus, if you find the infographics useful, please LIKE, COMMENT, OR SHARE it with your friends!

Reference Sources: MedLine Plus Detxtroamphetamine and Amphetamine
NIDA Lesson Plans: Prescription Stimulants
NIDA for Teens: Prescription Medications Amphetamine Information
FDA: Adderall and Adderall XR Drug Information
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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