What is Adderall?

Pronounced as /ad-uh-rawl/

This prescription drug is one of the well-known prescription stimulant drugs which is made from the combination of neutral sulfate salts of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. It’s also infused with the dextro isomer of amphetamine saccharide and D-, L-amphetamine aspartate monohydrate.

To understand more about what adderall is made of, it is best to look at its components.


Amphetamine is a stimulant drug that can be legal or illicit. It is mainly used to treat problems like ADHD, narcolepsy, and obesity. This drug can be taken in many ways such as oral ingestion, dabbing inside gums, sniffed, injected, and inhaled as smoke.

This substance improves the message pathways between the brain and the body. They trigger the brain to secrete dopamine which affects one's movement, emotion and focus.


Dextroamphetamine is the dextro-form of amphetamine. It functions both as a sympathomimetic and stimulant agent to the brain.

This drug is used for narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medication. Its main action is to inhibit dopamine and adrenergic uptake. It also promotes secretion of monoamines while blocking monoamine oxidase production.

What does Adderall look like?

This drug is usually sold in capsules or tablet form. The table form can be in 5, 7.5, 10. 12.5, 15, 20, or 30 milligrams.

Below is a summary of the physical specifications for each tablet form of the drug.

Weight (mg)ColorPill ImprintShape
5-mgWhite to Off-whiteNoneRound
10-mgBlueAD10, DP10Round

Below is a summary of the physical specifications for each extended-release capsule form

Weight (mg)ColorPill ImprintShape
15-mgBlue & WhiteCapsule
20-mgOrangeSHIRE 381 20mgCapsule
30-mgOrange/OrangeSHIRE 381 30mgCapsule

What are the other names of Adderall?

This prescription drug is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The “XR” on some pill imprints stands for Extended-Release form the substance.

The generic name for the drug is amphetamine and dextroamphetamine.


prescription drug names

containing amphetamines:

  • Concerta
  • Dexedrine
  • Focalin
  • Metadate
  • Methylin
  • Ritalin

What are the street names?

The drug is known in the streets by different names, depending on the area or what it is mixed with.

Here are some street names:

  • Beans
  • Black beauties
  • Dexies
  • Pep pills
  • Speed
  • Uppers
  • Christmas Trees
  • Trouble
  • Bennies
  • Double

What is Adderall used for?

It is a prescription drug with a medical application for narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It may take the form of either a tablet or capsule for any over-the-counter establishment.

If you’re diagnosed with narcolepsy or ADHD, make sure to consult your doctor to get the right dosage and prevent any overdose or abuse of the drug.

How does Adderall work?

This psycho-stimulant substance targets the brain wherein it acts like neurotransmitters (dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine) enhancing the message pathways between the brain and the body.

How strong is Adderall?

The strength of this drug is almost comparable to methamphetamine and poses a high probability of being abused. It is a powerful addicting substance considering it’s composed of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine.

On a molecular level, there’s very little difference between the two chemical substances. Amphetamines are chemically known as methylated phenylethylamine while methamphetamine is a double methylated phenylethylamine. In terms of chemical structure, the main difference between this drug and methamphetamine is the extra methyl group found in the latter. The extra methyl gives meth more potency and addicting impact because it passes through the blood-brain barrier quickly. Further, meth contains more neurotoxins which makes it more dangerous than the other one.

Overall, this drug has a slightly lower strength than meth but both have very similar effects when abused. This drug tends to be more abused and labelled as Schedule II substance because it’s more accessible in the market, unlike meth which is strictly monitored.

How long does Adderall stay in your system, blood, urine, saliva, hair?

Just like any other drug, the duration it stays inside your system depends on the individual’s physiological status. Remember, the longer you subject yourself from overdosage with this drug, the more it accumulates inside your body and the harder it is to remove.

Dextroamphetamine is the main psychoactive ingredient in this substance. The half-life of this compound is 10 hours. Consequently, after 10 hours, half of the total amount will be excreted from the body while the rest will be eliminated within three days.

If you are to undergo a drug test, you may be wondering how long this drug stays in your system.

  • Blood test: Detectable within 24 hours
  • Urine test: Detectable within 3 days but 3 hours after ingestion.
  • Saliva test: Detectable within 48 hours but not an hour after ingestion.
  • Hair test: Detectable up to one month but gone after a 1-2 weeks after ingestion.

How does one get addicted to Adderall?

Addiction to these substances will be possible if:

  • A person takes a higher dosage than prescribed
  • Intentionally taking other people’s prescription drugs
  • Solely using the substance to have euphoria

How does Adderall use affect the brain and the body?

This drug is a psycho-stimulant drug which directly influences the brain. It acts like neurotransmitters (dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine) enhancing the message pathways between the brain and the body.

The drug has medical applications for narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

What are the short and long-term effects of Adderall?

Below is an enumeration of the short-term and long-term effects for overdosing with this drug.

Short-term effects:

  • Increased heartbeat
  • Low blood flow level
  • More breathing pathways
  • Appetite loss
  • Sudden and extreme weight loss
  • Being easily irritated
  • Higher-risk for cardiac arrest

Long-term effects:

  • Myocardial infarction
  • Hyperreflexia – heightened reflexes
  • Rapid respiration
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Coma and convulsions

Warnings about Adderall Usage

Preventive caution and warnings are imposed for excessive intake of this psychoactive substance as it might aggravate physiological factors or existing health illnesses.

  • Mental Illness: Several medical studies have shown that psychotic patients administered with amphetamines have aggravated their mental disorder.
  • Growth Suppression: Extensive usage of stimulants among young ones, that includes amphetamines, may have shown tendencies for long-term growth inhibition.
  • Sudden Death for Patients diagnosed with Cardiac disease: Several medical reports have stated that administration of amphetamines to patients with existing heart problems have caused their immediate death.

Why is Adderall dangerous?

This drug is considered dangerous because it is classified as a Schedule II Controlled Substance. Uncontrolled intake will lead to amphetamine tolerance, psychological dependence and inability for social communication.

What are the contraindications for Adderall intake?

Before taking this drug, make sure you don’t have the following conditions listed below:

  • Clogged artery walls
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Medium to High-level blood pressure
  • Thyroid disorder
  • Hypersensitivity to adrenergic drugs such as epinephrine and dopamine
  • Glaucoma
  • Nervousness
  • Past record of drug abuse
  • Ingesting monoamine oxidase inhibitors within 14 days

What’s the required dosage and administration for Adderall?

Children with ADHD:

  • An initial dosage of 10-mg per day for age 6 years and above and either starting treatment for the first time or switching from another medical treatment. Daily dose increment of 5 or 10-mg at weekly intervals.
  • The maximum recommended dosage for children is 30-mg per day

Adults with ADHD:

  • An initial dosage of 20-mg per day for patients who are either first time on starting treatment or switching from anther medical treatment.

What causes Adderall overdose?

Excessive doses of this drug can lead to addiction and death. Moreover, street supplies from unreliable sources may pose a threat for health hazard impurities. A sudden cessation from high-dosage intake will result in intense fatigue, depression and inability to sleep.

What are the signs of an overdose?

There are various responses distinct to each person under the influence of this drug. Below are some of the typical symptoms for its overdose:

  • Tremor
  • Excessive reflexes
  • Fast breathing
  • High aggressiveness level
  • Hallucinations
  • Fatigue and depression
  • Hypertension and hypotension
  • Nausea and vomiting

How do you treat Adderall overdose?

For extreme overdose, you need to contact and consult a certified poison control center for updated medical advice and guidance.

What are the withdrawal symptoms from Adderall?

A sudden cessation from long-term usage of high amounts of this drug will result in the following withdrawal symptoms:

Withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Intense fatigue
  • Depression
  • Inability or irregular sleep patterns
  • Extreme dermatitis or skin disease
  • Insomnia
  • Intense irritability
  • Hyperactivity

How can you treat Adderall addiction?

For any type of drug addiction, the critical first step is self-awareness that you are weak and that you need help from the outside. Next, the patient must undergo detoxification from a reliable medical center.

After the completion of the detoxification process, one has to undergo cognitive-behavioural interventions which may include the following:

  • Reward System: A contingency management plan where sets of rewards will be given to the patients who avoid using this drug.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): A treatment process seeking to determine the variables causing drug abuse, risk reduction methods, and enhancing coping mechanisms.
  • Recovery Group: A community-based plan which allows the patient to meet other victims and have a sharing about their experiences and success.