Adderall is a prescription medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults and children 3 years and older. It is also used to treat narcolepsy in children 6 years and older, and in adults. Narcolepsy is a condition also known as daytime sleepiness; an individual with this condition has episodes of sleeping during the daytime. Since Adderall is highly addictive, extended chronic use must be avoided. Adderall has serious side effects, including heart complications and death.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Adverse Effects on Heart
Excessive doses of Adderall result in a dangerous increase in blood pressure (hypertension). Patient can also experience palpitations and irregularities in heartbeat and heart rhythm. Overdose can also cause tachycardia, a condition where the heart beats faster than normal, or bradycardia, a condition where the heart beats too slow. Adderall in excess can result in a life-threatening heart attack. Symptoms of heart attack include:
- chest pain
- chest pressure
- difficulty breathing
- pain in the upper parts of the body
A heart attack is serious and can be fatal if immediate help is not received. A tear sometimes develops on the heart's main valve, making blood flow into the space between the linings of the valve, resulting in a separation of the layers. When the layers separate, internal bleeding occurs, leading to organ damage, stroke and death.
- Excessive doses of Adderall result in a dangerous increase in blood pressure (hypertension).
Negative Behavioral Changes
Dangerous Side Effects of Ritalin & Adderall
Several behavioral changes occur when Adderall is taken as prescribed and in excessive doses. Patient might become agitated with no provocation. They can also also experience euphoria and paranoia. Long-term use of Adderall, both in prescribed doses and overdoses, can lead to irreversible psychiatric illness. The National Institutes of Health warns that an overdose of Adderall can also result in hallucinations, aggression, depression and restlessness 1.
- Several behavioral changes occur when Adderall is taken as prescribed and in excessive doses.
- The National Institutes of Health warns that an overdose of Adderall can also result in hallucinations, aggression, depression and restlessness 1.
Adverse Effects on Brain
Excessive Adderall can affect the brain and lead to seizures. Seizures are abnormal activities in the body that can manifest with or without muscle involvement. When the muscles are involved, the patient exhibits involuntary contractions and relaxations of the muscles. Overdose can also cause the temperature regulation system of the body to malfunction and lead to the body overheating, a serious condition known as hyperthermia. In overdose, Adderall can also stimulate internal bleeding in the skull, predisposing the patient to one-sided paralysis, confusion and loss of consciousness.
- Excessive Adderall can affect the brain and lead to seizures.
- In overdose, Adderall can also stimulate internal bleeding in the skull, predisposing the patient to one-sided paralysis, confusion and loss of consciousness.
Kidney and Liver Damage
Ritalin and Metabolism
Kidney failure can also facilitate fatigue, changes in urination pattern and volume, seizures and coma. Liver failure can cause:
- loss of appetite
- yellowing of eyes
- fluid retention in the abdomen
- excessive sleepiness
Kidney and liver function should be addressed immediately if an overdose of Adderall is suspected to avoid a fatality.
An overdose of Adderall requires immediate medical attention to prevent permanent damage and death.
Dangerous Side Effects of Ritalin & Adderall
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- National Institutes of Health: Adderall
- MedLine Plus: ADHD
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Based in Washington, D.C., Adaeze Ezebuiro began writing and editing in 1990. Her articles have appeared in magazines such as "Drug Topics," “TransAtlantic Times" and “America's Pharmacist.” She holds a Doctor of Pharmacy from Rutgers University, as well as a Master of Arts in writing from Johns Hopkins University.