What Is Adderall Used For?

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Adderall is a prescription stimulant that combines dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. What is Adderall used for? Adderall’s primary use is for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD. Less commonly, this central nervous system stimulant may be prescribed to treat narcolepsy. Adderall is available as an extended-release capsule, and as a tablet.

What Is Adderall?

Adderall combines two different stimulants which are dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. Since Adderall is primarily for the treatment of ADHD and hyperactive-impulse symptoms, it can be prescribed to children. Before someone is prescribed Adderall, they should go through a series of tests to eliminate the possibility of other mental health disorders.

For the treatment of ADHD, Adderall is approved for use in kids who are three and older. Adderall XR, which is the extended release version of the drug, is approved for children 6 and older. For the treatment of narcolepsy, Adderall is approved for children 12 and older.

What is Adderall Used to Treat?

What is Adderall used to treat? Adderall’s primary use is to treat ADHD, which is a condition that affects attention, the ability to sit still and impulse control. Some of the symptoms of ADHD that Adderall may help treat include:

  • Inattentiveness: When a child or an adult has problems focusing, they aren’t able to stay on task. In children, this can include not listening to directions and not finishing work or projects. Children with ADHD may appear forgetful or absent-minded.
  • Hyperactivity: When someone has hyperactivity they may appear restless, bored or fidgety. It’s difficult for someone with hyperactivity to sit still or be quiet when necessary, and their behavior may become disruptive to others.
  • Impulsivity: Impulsivity can cause someone to act before thinking. Other symptoms can include frequently interrupting or being impatient. Impulsivity can also lead to emotional overreactions.

So how does Adderall treat these symptoms? Stimulants are thought to stimulate the release of neurotransmitters in the brain; in particular: dopamine and norepinephrine. Along with stimulating the release of these neurotransmitters, Adderall may block how much is reabsorbed. This process makes more of the chemical available in the brain for longer, improving how messages are sent and received in the brain.

Is Adderall Addictive?

Is Adderall addictive and if so, how addictive is Adderall? Adderall is addictive, and just how addictive can depend on the individual and their usage.

Adderall is misused, particularly by college students. It is used as a study drug and a performance enhancer. When you don’t have ADHD, and you use Adderall, it can create feelings of euphoria, confidence and sociability. Adderall can reduce appetite, help someone focus for long periods and help people stay awake.

The reason Adderall creates a euphoric high in people who use it is because of the effects it has on neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine. When someone misuses Adderall, particularly in large doses, it triggers a release of these feel-good neurotransmitters into their brain at high levels.

These effects on neurotransmitters can then lead to a reward response in the brain. The activation of a reward response is part of how addiction develops. Risk factors for someone to become addicted to Adderall include:

  • Taking Adderall without a prescription
  • Taking it other than how it’s prescribed, such as using higher doses
  • Using Adderall only for specific purposes, like feeling euphoria or losing weight
  • A history of substance misuse
  • Combining Adderall with other substances, for example, alcohol

How to Find Treatment for Adderall Addiction

If you’re struggling with Adderall addiction, treatment is available. Contact The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake and a representative can help you explore the treatment programs available and find one that will work well for your needs.


Low, Keath. “How Stimulants Help ADHD.” Verywell Mind, June 8, 2018. Accessed March 27, 2019.

Hasan, Shirin. “ADHD.” Kids Health. Accessed March 27, 2019.

Hom, Elaine. “Adderall: Uses, Side Effects, and Abuse.” Live Science, October 18, 2018. Accessed March 27, 2019.

IBM Micromedex. “Dextroamphetamine and Amphetamine.” Mayo Clinic, March 1, 2019. Accessed March 27, 2019.