Cardiovascular Complications and Adderall Abuse


Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

The prescription drug Adderall is a medication that is typically indicated for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy.  However, as a stimulant medication, this prescription drug is commonly abused and misused for other purposes.  As an amphetamine based prescription medication, Adderall may be sought for other purposes than its intended use, including increased stamina or focus, finding a competitive edge or advantage (either in sports or academics), or simply for finding more energy to keep up with a rigorous schedule.  Whatever the reason may be, misuse of the prescription drug Adderall can lead to dangerous consequences.

Medication Misuse

There are many known consequences of prescription medication misuse of drugs such as Adderall, including addiction.  Some of the lesser known consequences may not be as obvious as others but are still important to discuss nonetheless.  Understanding the physical, mental, and emotional risks that are associated with Adderall misuse can give a person the knowledge they need to prevent abuse of the drug.  Many individuals mistakenly believe that because doctor prescribes a medication, it is safe if taken or even if misused occasionally.  However, all medications come with risks and side effects, which should be known and understood prior to beginning a medication.

InsomniaBecause Adderall is a stimulant drug, this medication increases the production of neurotransmitters in the body, specifically the nervous system.  The amphetamine portion of Adderall specifically causes changes in cardiovascular function, which can include fluctuations with blood pressure, heart rate and more.  Drastic changes in how heart rate and/or blood pressure can trigger a host of cardiovascular complications, including hypertension, an abnormally rapid heartbeat, and a heart attack, which can prove to be fatal.

If you have misused Adderall at any point and have experienced abnormal physical symptoms, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, cold sweats or more, be sure to contact your doctor immediately or visit your local emergency room.  Cardiovascular effects resulting from the misuse of Adderall can lead to fatal consequences, and it is important to address any such concerns as soon as possible.  Seeking out help and treatment for an Adderall addiction can also help prevent fatality that may occur from Adderall misuse.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

If you are in recovery from Adderall Abuse, what has been your experience with treatment?  Did you suffer with cardiovascular complications?  If so, what resources were important in helping you recover and heal?

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions and co-occurring disorders.  These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.  We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors.  If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.  

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on October 9, 2015, 2015. Published on