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What is Adderall?

Adderall® is a medicine prescribed by doctors for the treatment of narcolepsy and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Adderall is actually a brand name for the stimulant containing amphetamine and dextroamphetamine salts. Because Adderall is a medicine, it appears in the form of tablets with different shapes, sizes and colors according to its strength .

Adderall tablets exist in the following forms and strengths:

  • Adderall 5 mg is a white to off-white round tablet
  • Adderall 7.5 mg  is a blue ellipsoid-shaped tablet
  • Adderall 10 mg  is a blue round tablet
  • Adderall 12.5 mg  is a peach round tablet
  • Adderall 15 mg  is an orange or peach oval tablet
  • Adderall 20 mg  is an orange, peach or pink round tablet
  • Adderall 30 mg is a peach round tablet

Adderall is made synthetically and can be available in pharmacies and hospitals. Adderall can only be legally purchased with a properly-filled prescription made by a doctor. Despite its use as medicine, Adderall remains a highly-controlled substance and its legal use is restricted.

Adderall effects

Adderall is composed of amphetamines which are potent stimulants, and has both therapeutic uses and potential for abuse. Doctors prescribe Adderall for the management of symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and for certain types of narcolepsy. For reasons not yet fully understood, amphetamines improve attention and focus, and reduce hyperactivity. Adderall also reduces excessive daytime sleepiness in people with narcolepsy.

Amphetamines stimulate the central nervous system, causing increased heart rate and increased blood pressure. Therefore, a person taking Adderall feels alert, invigorated and energized while under its effects. Adderall can also increase mental performance by improving focus and concentration, and induces a feeling of euphoria. People use Adderall illegally to achieve this euphoria and for improved mental capacity for tasks like studying and work. Athletes also use Adderall to illegally improve sports performance because it improves alertness, masks fatigue, and improves reaction time and concentration .

Adderall can cause side effects, many of which are detrimental to health. Adderall can cause sudden death, development of heart problems, or exacerbation of hidden pre-existing cardiovascular problems. This is the main reason why people must never use Adderall recreationally. Individuals who use Adderall for medicinal purposes should stick to the right dose and have regular check-ups to prevent these serious side effects from occurring.

Adderall overdose

A person can overdose on Adderall and experience side effects of acute intoxication. However, a person’s sensitivity to amphetamines is unique.  A dose that has no effects on someone may cause intense effects on others. Furthermore, some people may overdose on very small doses of Adderall. Because amphetamines act on the central nervous system and the heart, an Adderall overdose can lead to coma and untimely death.

You can overdose on Adderall by taking it without doctor’s prescription and advice. Because Adderall is a stimulant, overdose can cause to high blood pressure, insomnia and an erratically high heartbeat. Here are a few of the signs and symptoms of Adderall overdose :

  • diarrhea and abdominal cramps
  • fast and bounding heartbeats and rapid breathing
  • fever
  • hallucinations
  • nausea and vomiting
  • panic and paranoid behavior with potential for violence
  • rhabdomyolysis (breakdown of muscle tissue)
  • tremors and heightened reflex reactions

You should first contact a Poison Control Center when you suspect or witness (or experience) signs and symptoms of Adderall overdose. Emergency departments treat Adderall overdose by evacuating all contents of the stomach through gavage. Activated charcoal is given to absorb unabsorbed traces of the medicine. Medicines that induce defecation are given to further evacuate traces of Adderall in the gut, and the patient is sedated to counter the stimulating effects of the drug. Increased heart rate and blood pressure are countered with sedatives and antihypertensive medicines to prevent further complications. The patient is closely watched and other symptoms of Adderall overdose are addressed individually.

For more on Adderall, see:

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