Further, it can also cause addiction and hallucinations. The drug has been included in a lot of pop culture societies for its euphoric effects. Unfortunately, this same drug is also used to treat people with actual diseases. As such, it could pose a threat to them that they probably do not know about. Additionally, off-label users of Adderall to stay awake, increase brain activity and enhance muscular performance could also get the same effects, which could go as far as hallucinations.
Below, we discuss Adderall in depth and leave you to weigh its benefits versus its consequences. Remember, an informed choice is always a better one.
How Does Adderall Work?
Mixing Adderall with amphetamine salts produces a psychostimulant drug. Initially, Adderall was approved in 1996 to treat Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). However, it has also been associated with increasing both cognitive and physical abilities by society.
Adderall’s History in Medical Use
Adderall was introduced to the pharmaceutical market in 1996 as an instant-release drug. The generic version for this medication was first sold in markets in 2002.
Where is Adderall Used?
Adderall has a wide variety of applications. Some of these include:
Treatment of ADHD – Used for the long-term, Adderall reduces the core symptoms of ADHD. These include hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity. Concerning mental aptitude, Adderall improves brain development and nerve growth. Results from MRI scans have shown that long-term treatment using Adderall leads to decreased abnormal brain structure and function in people who have ADHD. Scans have also shown improvements of the right caudate nucleus of the basal ganglia in patients who have ADHD and are using the drug.
Brain Development – A 2015 review found that use of low Adderall dosages produced slight yet unambiguous improvements in the cognition, working memory, long-term episodic memory as well as some aspects of attention. The clinical trials done for this review were on normal and healthy adults. Adderall’s use has also improved memory consolidation. As a result, individuals who use this drug can recall information better.
Motivation – Adderall use has been linked to improvements in the motivation of people to perform certain tasks. The drug also increases wakefulness. Combining these effects results in people using Adderall having more goal-oriented behavior. In line with the motivation, Adderall is used in preparation for examinations.
Athletic Performance – In sports, Adderall has been used as a performance enhancer. Individuals using the drug have observed improvements in:
- Muscle strength
- Muscle endurance
- Reaction time
Using Adderall causes an increase in the body’s power output. This is achieved through the increment of the body’s core temperature limit. As a result, an individual using Adderall can access their body’s reserve capacity. This capability can then be incorporated into the body’s working mainframe, resulting in actions such as jumping higher and throwing farther.
As seen above, Adderall has quite a variety of uses. However, the long-term benefits of some of these uses are questionable. All in all, the drug has been tested successfully for use in these scientific fields and, additionally, for recreational use.
Adderall’s recreational uses
Tablets of this drug have been abused and have a high abuse potential. Using Adderall creates a false sense of well-being. Additionally, the drug increases dopamine levels within the body. As such, the body becomes increasingly dependent on the drug. An individual addicted to Adderall will consequently need higher doses of the drug to achieve the same state of euphoria over time.
Does Adderall Have Side Effects?
Yes, the drug has various side effects which range from mild to fatal.
These effects are primarily determined by the quantity of Adderall dosage an individual consumes. Since recreational uses of Adderall involve higher doses, recreational users are more susceptible to severe side effects than persons who use the drug for therapeutic purposes.
Physical side effects consist of the following:
- Hypertension or hypertension.
- Sexual side effects in males may include erectile dysfunction, frequent or prolonged erections.
- Abdominally, side effects could include nausea, weight loss, abdominal pain and a loss of appetite.
- Dry mouth
- Blurred vision
- Excessive grinding of teeth
- Drug-induced nasal congestion
- Reduced seizure threshold
- A movement disorder called tics could also occur.
Other physical effects of Adderall use are:
- a) Contraction of the urinary bladder sphincter. This results in a difficulty in urinating.
- b) Deeper faster breaths
- c) Adderall could also have pain-relieving effects and could affect the gastrointestinal tract in unexpected ways. This would either result in the slowed movement of content in the digestive system or increased motility if the smooth muscles of the tract are relaxed.
The drug could also affect users psychologically. These effects could include:
- Mood swings
- Sudden changes in libido.
Individuals using Adderall could have their personalities as well as mental states altered when under the influence drug. In such cases, users’ mental states before Adderall use determine the kind of psychological effects these individuals undergo afterward.
Delusions and paranoia have also been observed in heavy users. Psychosis can also occur as a result of Adderall’s use for the long-term. As such, therapeutic users of this drug are usually at the risk of reduced mental capabilities in the future despite such cases being a rarity.
Another psychological effect of this drug is conditioned placed preference. This effect has primarily been observed in therapeutic users. These individuals like spending time in places they had previously used Adderall.
Overdosing and Adderall: Have there been Cases?
Currently, there have been many recorded cases of death due to Adderall’s overuse. This is particularly true in individuals who use the drug for recreational purposes. Apart from its fatal effects, Adderall can also cause a broad range of adverse effects from an excessive dosage. These would include:
- Cardiogenic shock
- Cerebral hemorrhage
- Circulatory system collapse
- Acute amphetamine psychosis
- Serotonin syndrome
- Excessive adrenergic nerve activity.
All of the above effects of Adderall’s overuse could result in death. Further, significant overdoses could cause rapid muscle breakdown. This would prove to be counter-intuitive Adderall’s effect of increasing muscle strength in healthy doses.
Very high doses of Adderall could also cause fluid accumulation in the lungs, pulmonary hypertension and reduced levels of Carbon (IV) oxide in the blood.
In the urinary system, failure to produce urine and kidney failure have been recorded to occur in cases of Adderall overdose. Hyperpyrexia, a condition where one has an extremely elevated core body temperature, could also occur. This would be counter-intuitive to Adderall’s effects on an increased power output during muscle contraction.
What About Addiction?
Adderall is a Schedule II controlled drug, holding a much higher potential for abuse. This is because the major part of its composition is amphetamine salt which significantly stimulates the Central Nervous System. Amphetamines cause psychological dependency and habit forming in individuals, thereby causing addiction. The John Hopkins Medical school has well documented severe withdrawals symptoms caused directly from Adderall. This is due to its increased dopamine levels that cause a false sense of well-being.
You may be worried about the effects that come along with Adderall usage. Also, the fact that an overdose could cause death may be unnerving to you. Steps to take this medication could as well lead to addiction, which would not only cost you excessive money but could also cause you mental and physical instability through withdrawal symptoms.
In the wake of these effects, it is of your best benefit to know what your other options for use are. One of these options is Provigil, a drug similar in some aspects to Adderall. However, this medication’s uses are more varied, and its benefits outweigh those of Adderall’s. What’s more, Provigil has lesser adverse effects to your body. Below is what you need to know about this drug.
Provigil is a brand name of the drug modafinil, which was originally developed in France from its predecessor adrafinil. Adrafinil has been in the market for a longer time. However, Provigil is more widely used than its parent drug. The drug was first used in 1994 in France under the name Modiodal.
Uses and Applications
Provigil’s label uses include the treatment of:
- Shift work sleep disorder
- Excessive daytime sleepiness associated with obstructive apnea.
Off the label, one of Provigil’s uses to treat multiple sclerosis patients. These patients have consistently reported decreased neurological fatigue with the drug’s use.
In a clinical test done by Cephalon, producers of Provigil, 72 people diagnosed with various degrees of multiple sclerosis took Provigil doses over a period of nine weeks. The participants then self-reported their fatigue levels every day. The results of the trial showed that Sclerosis patients who were taking small doses of Provigil during the clinical study reported feelings of less fatigue. Further, there was a significant statistical difference in the fatigue scores for those who were taking the actual Provigil dose versus participants taking the placebo. Higher Provigil doses did not have significantly increased effects on the users during the study.
Additionally, Provigil’s use has included treating after-effects of sedation. Provigil has also proved useful in the treatment of:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Myotonic dystrophy
- Opioid-induced sleepiness
- Spastic cerebral palsy
- Parkinson’s disease.
Patients suffering from primary biliary cirrhosis have also been treated with Provigil. This has resulted in improvements in the body’s reactions to fatigue and daytime somnolence.
Applications for Provigil include:
The Armed Forces – Modafinil has been used in combat situations. During war, members of the army have used Provigil to prevent sleepiness. This is because the troops require high degrees of mental alertness. In lengthy missions, getting enough sleep is both highly improbable and risky. As such, the French government has endorsed Provigil use in its flanks. In relation to the government’s move, the Foreign Legion used the drug during covert operations. Further, The Indian Air Force confirmed that Provigil’s use is part of their contingency plans.
In the United States, the US military approved Provigil’s use for some Air Force missions. Modafinil was the only drug approved by the United States Airforce as a “go pill” to reduce fatigue during various operations.
Space Travel and Exploration – Provigil has continually been used by astronauts on long-term missions situated at the International Space Station. In The Canadian Medical Association Journal, Provigil’s use is elaborated as enabling the crew to perform at their optimum levels even when they are fatigued. The drug has also been shown to improve the quality of sleep astronauts get. The drug also helps improve circadian rhythms.
Provigil use has very few side effects. In a report by Teva Pharmaceuticals, one-third of participants in clinical trials reported experiencing headaches. An additional 11 percent of the participants reported nausea and less than 10 percent of participants reporting other harmful side effects. These effects included nervousness, diarrhea, insomnia, anxiety and dizziness to gastrointestinal problems.
In cases of rarity that are however more severe, Provigil’s use has been related to severe skin rashes and other allergy-related side effects. In line with the rarity of these effects, only six cases of severe reactions from Provigil have been reported since the beginning of its marketing in the United States up to 2007.
Even in more recent years, severe cases have also been at a minimum. The long-term safety and effectiveness of Provigil have not yet been quantified, although experts across the board and patients alike claim the drug has very minimal side effects.
Cases of Overdose
Records dating back to 2004 from the FDA show that the agency is not aware of any fatal cases involving an overdose in Provigil alone. Clinical trials have for Provigil’s overuse included taking up to 1200mg per day for 21 days one-time 4500mg doses as well. However, the tests showed Provigil did not appear to cause life-threatening effects. Results of these clinical trials only resulted in adverse effects. These included palpitations, insomnia, anxiety, irritability, confusion, nervousness, and nausea.
Provigil is a Schedule IV controlled drug. As such, it has a low potential for abuse. This is because it produces low dopaminergic effects. Low physical euphoria levels cause Provigil to be a weak reinforcement if used for abuse.
Despite the similarities between Adderall and Provigil, it is clear that Provigil is a better option for drug use. The following table highlights just why Provigil is better than Adderall.
|Area of Difference||Provigil||Adderall|
|Range of Application||Provigil has a wider range of application which includes governmental agencies and individuals as potential users||Adderall is mainly therapeutic. Further, its uses tend to be more recreational in society, which has negative side effects|
|Abuse Potential||Provigil has a low abuse potential. This drug does not have a high dependency rate and is not prone to addiction||This drug has a high abuse potential with individual’s experiencing more dependency. There are higher risks of addiction with this drug|
|Legal classification||Schedule IV, showing less stringency due to low possibility of addiction||Schedule II, showing a higher level of stringency due to its proven high levels of possible addiction|
|Side Effects||Minimal side effects||Side effects are numerous and varied. They have also been seen to be very severe in numerous cases|
|Withdrawal||Withdrawal symptoms are shown to be very few or non-existent. The symptoms end in a period of one month.||Excessive withdrawal symptoms leading to both psychological and physical tribulations on discontinuing the drug|
|Cases of overdose||No documented case of a fatal overdose due to purely Provigil’s overuse||A number of documented deaths due to the overuse of Adderall. Overdose of Adderall could also lead to excessive complications that would lead to it as an indirect cause of death|