What is Adderall?

Adderall is a medication that is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that works by increasing the activity of certain chemicals in the brain.

Adderall is available in two forms: immediate-release and extended-release. The extended-release form is also known as Adderall XR.

Adderall is typically taken orally, either in the form of a tablet or capsule. It can also be taken intravenously (IV) or intramuscularly (IM).

The immediate-release form of Adderall typically lasts for four to six hours, while the extended-release form lasts for up to 12 hours.

Adderall is a Schedule II controlled substance, which means it has a high potential for abuse and may lead to psychological or physical dependence.

Side Effects

The most common side effects of Adderall include:


dry mouth





loss of appetite

weight loss

trouble sleeping





rare side effects include:

fast or pounding heartbeat

chest pain

shortness of breath






swelling of the face, mouth, tongue, or throat


difficulty breathing or swallowing

blurred vision

changes in vision

dilated pupils

unusual behavior or thoughts of suicide

Adderall can also cause a condition called priapism, which is a prolonged erection that can last for four hours or more. If you experience priapism, stop taking Adderall and seek medical attention immediately.


An overdose of Adderall can be fatal. Symptoms of an overdose include:



overactive reflexes

rapid breathing









Adderall is absorbed quickly from the gastrointestinal tract and reaches peak concentrations in the blood within two hours. The half-life of Adderall is about 10 hours.

Adderall is metabolized by the liver and excreted by the kidneys

Mechanism of Action

Adderall increases the activity of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. Norepinephrine and dopamine are neurotransmitters that play a role in attention, motivation, and reward-seeking behavior.

Pregnancy and Lactation

Adderall should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks.

Adderall is also excreted in breast milk and may cause side effects in nursing infants. Therefore, Adderall should not be used by nursing mothers.

Warnings and Precautions

Adderall should not be used in people with:

a history of drug or alcohol abuse

anxiety disorders

bipolar disorder


heart disease

high blood pressure

kidney disease

liver disease


thyroid disease pain difficulty breathing

Adderall should be used with caution in people with a history of mental illness. People taking Adderall should be monitored for signs of worsening mental health

Long-term Effects

The long-term effects of Adderall use are not well known. However, Adderall can be addictive and may lead to dependence.

Research suggests that Adderall use may be associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular problems, such as heart attack and stroke.

Adderall should be used with caution in people with a history of mental illness. People taking Adderall should be monitored for signs of worsening mental health.

How long does it stay in your system?

Adderall can be detected in urine for up to 72 hours, and in hair for up to 90 days.

Adderall Abuse and Addiction

People who abuse Adderall often take higher doses than prescribed, or take it more frequently than prescribed. They may also crush and snort the tablets, or inject them intramuscularly.

Adderall abuse can lead to tolerance, dependence, and addiction. People who are addicted to Adderall may have trouble stopping use of the drug even though it is causing negative consequences in their lives.

Treatment for Adderall addiction typically includes counseling, support groups, and 12-step programs such as Narcotics Anonymous. Medications may also be used to help manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

If you or someone you know is struggling with Adderall abuse, please seek help from a qualified treatment provider.