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Long Term Effects of Adderall on the Body (INFOGRAPHIC)

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

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11 Responses to “Long Term Effects of Adderall on the Body (INFOGRAPHIC)
8:14 am December 2nd, 2015

You might want to be clear: it is a proven fact that people with Attention Deficit Disorder do not react chemically the same way to Adderall than non-ADD people do (see the SPECT brain scan research done by Dr Daniel Amen and his TEDx talks). The material you provide here on addiction to Adderall and its long term affects DOES NOT APPLY to those who use it under a doctor’s supervision so they can function. I have been taking it every day of my life for over 20 years and have not one of those long term affects you try to scare people with. Don’t take my word for it, take my doctor’s. Please draw a clear line between those who need this drug due to a condition they were born with and idiots who don’t need it and abuse it (and make life miserable for those of us who do!)

1:51 pm December 2nd, 2015

Hi Rebecca. You are absolutely right and I would like to thank you for pointing that out! Yes, the infographic is aimed to show the consequences of long-term Adderal use for those who abuse this medication, meaning they obtain and use it illegally, or are prescribed Adderal but take it in doses higher than suggested by a doctor (or administer it through other routes).

1:12 pm February 8th, 2017

@Rebecca…u have it all wrong. Although YOU specifically dont show any of those symptoms..the fact u have been taking it for so long..says only one thing..U CAN’T survive without it. Take those little orange pills away and you’ll probably end up climbing the clock tower in a Manic endused state. I have been on Adderall for about 4 months and it has really started f*#king up my system and sleep cycle..and i too have ADHD but i realized ..i was actually better off before. Im glad i tried it tho and realized it is an ADDICTIVE DRUG just like percocets and morphine… So preach all u want.. When it all comes down to the wire..its BAD 4 ANYONE..find natural ways to deal with your messed up life…these pharmaceutical companies and the doctors that write there Golden tickets to “happiness” are all just in it for the Money .. The human body was never designed to take pills for such a long period of time. Im dealing with trying to quit all prescribed drugs since the doctors just love writing those prescribed NIGHTMARES….i really am wishing u the best tho. Hope u are able to stop taking them one day.

Gayl, MD
9:59 pm May 3rd, 2017

The infographic is great! Is it available for purchase or printing?

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
12:44 pm May 4th, 2017

Hi Gayl. I’m really glad that you like the infographics. They are completely free. You may download them, print them, or add the embed code on your website.

8:32 pm August 17th, 2017

Hello i suffer from A.D.D. the only side effects i have is dry mouth, im prescribed 30mg a day of D-Amphetamine (pink) a generic version of adderol and i feel fine and can actually function. I only have had headaches from taking the yellow tablets. Do not get them by all means.

9:52 am September 7th, 2017

Wow Stephen, her ” messed up life”….. I dont believe having a illness or disease is a messed up life. I suffered my entire life unable to complete a thought or stay focused and thought it was because I was stupid. At age 36 I was diagnosed with ADD. It was like hearing for the first time taking adderall. My mind slowed down and I could enjoy a movie for the first time in my life. So just because your body didnt feel like someone else dose not mean I have a messed up life.

10:39 pm October 3rd, 2017

People need to respect this drug. My view on it is that it works so for my learning disabilities that I take it in cycles or when I have a lot of work. However, i feel that this is interesting to pt out. When i take Adderall, and it helps me focus/work better, i feel that im building a better work pattern OR disciplining myself into better work habits on days/weeks that I dont take it. (Not sure if im making sense). Anyway, i dont want my body to build a tolerance, therefore leading to uping the mg. Been steady, going on 3-4 years at 10mg. The Xrelease is also great, gives a steady focus flow then the ordinary tablets. Keep in mind, everyone will react different.

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
1:06 pm October 5th, 2017

Hi Kirk. Thank you for your input. Adderall can be a very helpful drug, but if it’s only used as prescribed by a doctor.

12:30 am July 17th, 2018

Hi, please send this whole article to my email address so that I can forward it to my daughter. Your help is greatly appreciated.
R/ Don

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
1:31 pm July 17th, 2018

Hi Don. Thank you for your interest! I’ve send the link address from this article to your e-mail.

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