Adderall is a popular recreational drug, sought after due to its reputation as a cognitive booster. Distracted by the prospect of improved professional or academic performance, users often fail to realize that this stimulant also has a major effect beyond brain function. Adderall can have a number of harmful effects that can quickly compound to form additional complications. While this drug may seem relatively harmless, the health consequences of Adderall are far-reaching and can lead to long-standing health issues in the future.
Is Adderall bad for your heart? Yes, and for quite a few reasons. Increased blood pressure and heart rate are two of the most commonly reported heart-related Adderall side effects. This isn’t surprising given that Adderall is an amphetamine (a.k.a. a stimulant). Drugs in the classification speed up the messaging between your brain and central nervous system (CNS) which puts all the bodily systems that your CNS is in charge of into overdrive – one of these being your heart. Other side effects include irregular heartbeat or an enlarged heart.
Long-term Adderall use can lead to chronic cardiovascular issues that cause heart disease which includes heart attack, stroke, and flat-out heart failure.
If constipation vomiting and diarrhea don’t sound like your idea of a good time, Adderall users are in for a rude awakening. The digestive system is surprisingly intertwined with the central nervous system, a relationship that is primarily manifested in the fight-or-flight response. When this kicks in, the body diverts blood and energy that would normally go towards breaking down and moving food through your digestive tract. This frees up valuable resources for keeping you alert and ready to spring into action.
So what does Adderall have to do with all this? Adderall contains two of the neurotransmitters responsible for managing this reaction. Its presence in the body can put you in a perpetual state of alertness (and is the source of Adderall’s rumored benefits for non-ADHD users). The result: your digestive tract is constantly understaffed and takes longer to process food. However, this lack of blood flow can work the opposite way, causing stomach pain and feelings of nausea that can result in vomiting or diarrhea.
One of the reasons that many people start abusing Adderall in the first place is to fight off sleep and the ability to stay awake longer. This can backfire to a harmful degree and Adderall can cause sleeping issues such as insomnia or difficulty staying asleep. The culprit is dopamine and norepinephrine, two neurotransmitters that are directly affected by Adderall, and are partially responsible for maintaining circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythm is a set of cues that tell our body when to rise and rest. When disrupted, it can throw our sleeping schedule out of whack. Additionally, Adderall keeps the body in a heightened state of alertness and has the body firing on all cylinders. This can make it difficult to properly wind down and prepare the body for sleep as one normally would.
Poor Oral Hygiene
You’ve heard of “meth mouth” before, what about “Adderall tongue”? Adderall’s reputation is nowhere near as nefarious as methamphetamines but its negative impact on teeth and gum health is just as dire. The root of these oral health issues is reduced saliva production. This is a direct contributor to dry mouth which is a commonly listed side effect of Adderall use.
The consequences of which far extend beyond some temporary discomfort. Saliva production is responsible for everything from preventing the yellowing of our teeth to aiding digestion, and a decrease in production can wreak havoc on oral health. Arguably, one of the most important of saliva’s many purposes is to clear out food after chewing. This clear, viscous liquid is responsible for removing leftover food debris in teeth which prevents foods from rotting. Without this important functionality, this rot can cause painful cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease.
But wait, there’s more…
As if those health consequences of Adderall use weren’t scary enough, addiction, withdrawal, and overdose are very real consequences that pose serious health risks. Adderall is particularly dangerous for those who use it without a prescription as the likelihood of addiction is greatly increased. This not only puts those individuals at a greater risk of incurring these harmful side effects but the chance that they can develop into something even worse. Don’t wait for Adderall addiction to seek help, if you are using it without a prescription or abusing your prescription, get help immediately.