What are the Long Term Effects of Adderall & Methamphetamine?

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What are the long-term consequences of Adderall and methamphetamine use? Surprisingly, these two chemical substances have quite a lot in common. Not only are they both stimulant drugs, they are both highly addictive and can lead to a range of serious consequences. If you or someone you love has been using either Adderall or methamphetamine, you might be curious about the long-term consequences. While the consequences you experience depend on several factors — like how long you have been using the substance and the severity of the substance use disorder — it is always a good idea to seek professional help as early on as possible.

At Guardian Recovery we have developed a comprehensive, individualized program of stimulant addiction recovery. Our multi-staged program begins with a short stay in an inpatient detox center, where clients undergo a safe, pain-free stimulant drug withdrawal under the close care of a team of licensed medical professionals. Once the client has been physically stabilized, they transition into the next appropriate level of care. To learn more about recovering from Adderall or methamphetamine, contact Guardian Recovery today.

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What is Adderall & Adderall Neurotoxicity

Adderall is a prescription stimulant, most commonly used to treat the symptoms of attention-related disorders. Adderall works by increasing the levels of norepinephrine and dopamine throughout the central nervous system. Dopamine creates feelings of euphoria and well-being when it is released by the brain, and norepinephrine affects the speed at which the brain responds to external stimuli. When taken as prescribed, Adderall helps those with attention-deficit disorders pay attention and stay on track. It increases alertness and productivity. In most cases, they will be prescribed a small dosage to be taken at the start of the day – this way, the effects will have worn off completely by nighttime, making it easier to fall asleep.

Unfortunately, because Adderall can stimulate large amounts of dopamine to be produced when it is taken in higher dosages, it is often abused for its “feel good” effects. This specific prescription medication is also commonly abused by students. Because it increases alertness and productivity, students might take the drug when studying for a big exam or before writing an important paper.

Common Symptoms of Adderall Addiction Include:

  • Building a tolerance, meaning a higher dose of the drug is required in order for the same effects to be produced.
  • Attempting to quit back or quit, but being unable to do so for any extended period of time.
  • Continuing to take Adderall despite accumulating negative consequences.
  • Being unable to complete tasks without the aid of Adderall; finding personal motivation difficult unless Adderall is involved.
  • Beginning to take the drug to complete menial tasks/an inability to be productive at all without the use of Adderall.
  • Doctor shopping.
  • Spending a great deal of money on the drug/financial issues.
  • Struggling with symptoms of Adderall withdrawal when the drug is not available.

Adderall Neurotoxicity Symptoms

Is Adderall bad for you long-term? What are the symptoms and side effects of Adderall when it is taken other than as prescribed? One of the most significant symptoms of Adderall misuse is Adderall neurotoxicity. Although this prescription stimulant is less potent than methamphetamine, it affects the brain in very similar ways. Stimulant drugs like Adderall increase the amount of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, and it affects vital functions like mood, energy levels and stress. Over time, the brain becomes used to the presence of Adderall, and the dopamine nerve cells are damaged, unable to naturally produce dopamine and leading to symptoms of withdrawal. The ways in which Adderall damages the natural and healthy functioning of the brain is known as neurotoxicity. Adderall neurotoxicity symptoms include depressed mood, agitation and irritability, feelings of physical discomfort and intense drug cravings.

The street value of Adderall is significant, and those who develop addictions to this specific prescription might eventually turn to a cheaper and more readily available alternative. Recovering from Adderall is difficult when you attempt to do so on your own. However, with the right treatment program in place, recovering from Adderall is possible no matter how severe a substance use disorder has become.

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What is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine is a potent and extremely addictive stimulant, one that affects the central nervous system much like Adderall. The symptoms of the two drugs are very similar; both cause increased alertness, talkativeness, and feelings of euphoria and general well-being. Both drugs also significantly suppress appetite. However, methamphetamine is significantly more potent than any prescription amphetamine, and because of this it alters brain chemistry more quickly and significantly. Methamphetamine is highly addictive and has a very high potential for abuse – in fact, the illicit substance is so potent that many individuals will get hooked the very first time that they use it.

According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, roughly 1.6 million American adults admitted to using the Schedule I substance during the year prior, and 774,000 admitted to using the drug within the past month. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that in 2017, around 964,000 citizens over the age of 12 struggled with a diagnosable methamphetamine abuse disorder. Unfortunately, only 49 per every 100,000 methamphetamine addicts will seek the professional treatment they both need and deserve.

At Guardian Recovery, we help those struggling with stimulant addictions of all varieties and severities. We understand how powerful methamphetamine is, and how all-consuming and devastating an addiction to this specific drug can be. We have also witnessed those who are struggling with the most severe addictions go on to lead healthy, happy, and drug-free lives.

Short-Term Symptoms of Methamphetamine Use Include:

  • Hyperactivity and decreased fatigue.
  • Disrupted sleep patterns – insomnia.
  • Decreased appetite.
  • Anxiety and agitation/significant changes in mood.
  • Euphoria and feelings of an intense “rush.”
  • A rapid or irregular heartbeat.
  • Profuse sweating.
  • Hyperthermia.

Symptoms of Methamphetamine Addiction Include:

  • Rotting teeth and severe dental issues, otherwise known as “meth mouth.”
  • Rapid weight loss.
  • Scabs and sores on the face and skin (often a result of intense itching or of paranoia).
  • Hallucinations and extreme paranoia/anxiety.
  • Violent outbursts and erratic behavior.
  • Irritability.
  • Persistent confusion.
  • An inability to form complete sentences/incoherence.

Adderall and methamphetamine are similar in many ways — both drugs can be completely devastating when abused for any period of time. The long-term effects of Adderall and methamphetamine abuse are also very similar.

Long-Term Effects of Stimulant Abuse

Because methamphetamine is more potent, it typically causes more severe damage to the body and the mind at a more rapid rate. Those who abuse meth daily can completely deteriorate — both physically and mentally — in a matter of months.

However, the long-term effects of stimulant abuse are somewhat similar across the board.

Methamphetamine & Adderall Side Effects Long-Term

Physical Effects of Methamphetamine and Adderall Misuse:

  • Weight loss. Both drugs act as appetite suppressants, and can cause significant weight loss when abused long-term.
    Severe gastrointestinal issues.
  • Reduced sex drive and an inability to function sexually. This is a common symptom when it comes to drug abuse in general, though those who abuse stimulants can do permanent damage as far as sexual function goes.
  • Chronic headaches.
  • Respiratory problems. This is especially common amongst those that smoke methamphetamine (a common method of ingestion).
  • Cardiovascular damage.
  • Cerebral hemorrhaging (bleeding within the brain).
  • Stroke.
  • Seizures.

Psychological Effects of Methamphetamine and Adderall Misuse:

When it comes to stimulant abuse, there are also many serious long-term psychological effects, including Adderall neurotoxicity. These include:

  • Delusions. Those who abuse Adderall or methamphetamine long-term will experience delusional thinking and erratic patterns of behavior as a direct result. Delusional thinking can lead to serious legal consequences, especially when it comes to long-term methamphetamine abuse.
  • Ongoing hallucinations. Auditory and visual hallucinations are common amongst those who abuse stimulants for any extended length of time.
  • Anxiety. Those who abuse amphetamines are prone to developing anxiety-related disorders, and are also prone to having regular panic attacks.
  • Paranoia. The delusional thinking brought on by long-term stimulant abuse very frequently results in severe paranoia, which is extremely disruptive to day-to-day life.
  • Depression. Those who abuse stimulant drugs like Adderall and methamphetamine long-term are also prone to developing lasting depressive disorders. Depression will need to be treated separately and simultaneously in a dual diagnosis treatment program.

There are also many negative long-term effects of stimulant abuse by way of personal consequences. These might include legal and financial issues, problems at work or the loss of a long-term career, interpersonal problems and a persistent lack of motivation resulting in missed opportunities.

Recovering from Adderall & Methamphetamine

At Guardian Recovery, we understand how devastating the effects of long-term stimulant abuse can be, and we are available to help in any way that we can. Our comprehensive program of addiction recovery is geared towards those who have been struggling with a short-term addiction to Adderall to those who have been struggling with the crushing consequences of methamphetamine addiction for years. No matter how far down the scale you have gone, recovery is always possible.

The first step of every successful recovery journey is medical detox, where an individual will safely undergo the symptoms of stimulant withdrawal and be professionally treated should any health-related complications arise. Next, the individual will transfer directly to an inpatient drug rehab, and undergo between one and three month of intensive treatment, depending on the severity of the disease. Finally, Guardian Recovery Center offers effective and personalized aftercare options to those who have completed detox and residential treatment. For more information on Adderall abuse, methamphetamine abuse, or to learn more about our specialized program of recovery, reach out to us today.

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When you or your loved one is ready to ask for help, Guardian Recovery will be available. Our admissions process is simple and straightforward and can be completed in as little as 15 minutes. We provide a complimentary pre-assessment during our initial phone call, which helps our clinical team determine which level of care is the most appropriate for each unique case. We then offer a free, no obligation insurance benefit check. At Guardian Recovery we work with most major national health insurance providers as well as regional providers in numerous states. Once we have determined which level of care is best-suited for your loved one and worked through potential coverage options, the next step is to coordinate local travel to our facility. All you or your loved one has to do is ask for help, we will take care of the rest. Contact us today to learn more about our effective, multi-staged program of stimulant addiction recovery.


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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave


Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

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Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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