Adderall is the brand name for a preparation of mixed amphetamines. It’s also widely available as a generic drug. It comes in various dosages and in both immediate-release and extended-release forms. It’s a powerful stimulant used medically to treat brain diseases like attention-deficit disorders and narcolepsy. Adderall does have legitimate medical uses and is probably safe when used under medical supervision. However, some people abuse this substance. They buy it illicitly or somehow convince a doctor to prescribe it. It shouldn’t be that easy to do because Adderall is only indicated for a limited number of medical conditions, but some people manage it.
Because it’s a stimulant, college students have another use for it. They take it so they can stay up for either all-night study cram sessions or all-night parties or both. In the college setting, it’s often referred to by the moniker of study buddy. It’s readily available and just about any college student knows how to obtain it, whether they actually use it themselves or not. Are you more likely to develop cardiovascular issues in middle age if you abuse Adderall in college? The evidence suggests that yes, you are, and it might not even take that long.
The Risks of Adderall
The risks of amphetamine abuse in general are related to the constant over-stimulation of the body, especially of the heart. However, Adderall use under medical supervision is not the same as abuse. Abuse would be defined as the use of a drug for either non-medical reasons or reasons for which it is not indicated and approved. For those who abuse Adderall and similar stimulants like methylphenidate there are serious risks, both long-term and short-term:
- Cardiac arrhythmias
- Heart damage
Stimulant abuse also causes chemical changes in the brain that can lead to addiction. These changes include a depletion of the brain’s feel-good chemical called dopamine. Low levels of this critical neurotransmitter are associated with depression. This is one of the symptoms of stimulant addiction withdrawal. Other symptoms include:
- Lethargy and weakness
- Lack of motivation
- Severe depression
- Body aches
- Thoughts of suicide
It’s a hallmark of stimulant withdrawal that the person will at first sleep nonstop for up to several days and then not be able to sleep at all. Withdrawal can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks or longer. People taking extended-release forms of the drug are more likely to need more time to get through the withdrawal process.
Adderall Abuse and Heart Disease
Your risk of heart disease following Adderall abuse in college in not something that can be predicted with certainty. Everyone is different. However, a family history of heart disease and hypertension would be likely to raise your risk as an individual. So would heavy abuse over a period of time, perhaps even the whole four years or more of the typical college attendance period.
Abuse of Adderall during the college years definitely raises the risk of heart problems later in life. It can overstimulate the heart, wearing it out before its time and setting the stage for life-threatening heart problems. Stimulants should also be used with caution in anyone with a history of fainting, heart murmurs, palpitations, shortness of breath or rheumatic fever, which is a heart inflammation caused by the strep bacteria.
Stimulants are associated with a hardening of the arteries, a disease called atherosclerosis. This also contributes to cardiac damage and cardiac premature aging. It could be accurately said that if your heart is old, so is the rest of you, no matter what your chronological age.
What About Caffeine?
Caffeine is a legal substance classified as a mild brain stimulant. However, it’s not near as powerful as amphetamine and is probably safe in moderation. College students may also drink a lot of coffee drinks and soda, but as long as they keep their consumption at or below about 400 milligrams, it should be safe and not contribute to heart disease later in life. 400 milligrams of caffeine represents about four cups of coffee. Consult coffee drink labels for their specific caffeine content.
Let us Help
Stimulant addiction and abuse can be tough to kick, but we can help. Just call us at 844-639-8371, and we will guide you to the best treatment facility for your needs. We look forward to helping you.