Adderall (amphetamine) is a stimulant drug often prescribed for children and adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It can also be used for some seizure disorders and narcolepsy. While Adderall is not typically addictive when taken as prescribed, it is often misused (See: Adderall Addiction) when it’s taken at higher amounts than prescribed or by students who think it helps them concentrate better.
What Happens in an Adderall Overdose?
The misuse of Adderall can lead to an overdose when too much is taken. Adderall overdoses can increase blood pressure to dangerously high levels and even lead to a heart attack or seizure that could permanently damage the heart or brain. Other symptoms of an Adderall overdose can include:
- Muscle pains and weakness
- Dry mouth
- Dilated pupils
- Nausea and vomiting
- High body temperature
- Rapid breathing
Drug overdose can be fatal. If you suspect someone is experiencing an overdose, call 911 immediately. Do NOT be afraid to seek help. If you do not have access to a phone contact Colorado Poison Center for online assistance.
Aggression, confusion and panic are psychological symptoms that could result from an Adderall overdose. Adderall overdose can also cause kidney and liver damage that is sometimes permanent. Symptoms of kidney failure include swelling of the extremities, abdominal pain, urination changes, nausea, vomiting and fever.
Symptoms of liver failure include dark urine, lack of appetite, nausea, fatigue, yellowing of eyes, and swelling in the abdomen, legs and ankles.
Treating an Adderall Overdose
If an Adderall overdose is suspected, you should seek medical treatment immediately. At the hospital, medical personnel will likely perform tests to determine the severity of symptoms and determine whether you are seriously ill with a condition such as a heart attack, stroke, seizure, kidney failure, liver failure or psychological illness. Immediately treating these serious conditions could save your life in the event of an overdose.
For less severe symptoms, treatment may include being placed in a calm and quiet environment, using ice packs and fans to cool you down, and providing medications to treat your symptoms. Activated charcoal and gastric lavage (stomach pumping) may also be used to remove the drug from your stomach and prevent it from getting into the rest of your body.
Addiction treatment resources after an overdose can help springboard a lifetime of recovery and could include inpatient or outpatient rehab to treat Adderall misuse and prevent another overdose. Twelve-step programs and other support groups can also help with treatment and ongoing support.
If you or a loved one might be addicted to Adderall or any other drug, contact The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake today to discuss treatment options.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Prescription Stimulants DrugFacts.” June 6, 2018. Accessed August 11, 2021.
Vasan, Sarayu and Olango, Garth. “Amphetamine Toxicity.” StatPearls, July 10, 2021. Accessed August 11, 2021.
American Kidney Fund. “Kidney Failure (ESRD) Causes, Symptoms, & Treatments.” June 8, 2021. Accessed August 11, 2021.
O’Malley, Gerald F. & O’Malley, Rika. “Amphetamines.” Merck Manuals. May 2020. Accessed August 11, 2021.
The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.