Are Fatal Seizures Possible From Snorting Adderall?
Seizures are a possibility if someone snorts the prescription medication Adderall. This is a psychostimulant that belongs to the amphetamine drug class. As such, it stimulates the release of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain.
These neurotransmitters usually promote attention and wakefulness. However, when there’s too much of them, it’s dangerous.
What Is Adderall?
Adderall is the brand name of a racemic amphetamine salt preparation. Three-quarters of each pill is dextroamphetamine. The remaining quarter is the Levo isomer.
Taking Adderall causes the body to release dopamine and norepinephrine, particularly in the brain. This promotes better executive function, and it can help people remain attentive.
How Is Adderall Used?
Generally, Adderall is a prescription that’s given to people with ADHD. Using Adderall can help individuals with ADHD by normalizing their dopamine levels. Normalizing these dopamine levels helps enhance their executive capacity.
Taking Adderall makes the body reverse the action of trace amine-associated receptors (TAARs), Which is normally what recycles dopamine once it’s in the synaptic cleft. Reversing TAAR makes it pump dopamine out of neurons instead of into them.
Adderall’s clinical effects include enhanced attention and wakefulness. Sometimes, people report feelings of euphoria and heightened confidence. That’s what makes the substance a potential source of addiction.
Most researchers believe ADHD is caused by a lack of dopamine in the prefrontal cortex. This makes it difficult for people with ADHD to control themselves when they’re stimulated.
Giving afflicted individuals Adderall helps normalize their neurotransmitter levels, stabilizing their behavior. The majority of users never abuse Adderall, even if they’ve used it a long time.
Adderall Abuse Statistics
Most individuals who are prescribed Adderall never have any issues abusing it. However, abusing stimulant medication has become prevalent in certain communities.
Up to 11% of college students admit to abusing Adderall without a prescription. Most of them report obtaining the medication from a friend with a legal prescription.
Using Adderall to improve studying isn’t a good idea, especially without medical supervision. It could put you at risk of developing an addiction or other side effects.
How Does Snorting Adderall Affect You?
Snorting Adderall is something people do to feel more of a rush once it’s in their system. Your body has a ton of surface area on its nasal membranes, so they absorb things fast.
When people snort Adderall, they feel its effects faster. They also notice more intense effects since it enters the body so quickly.
There’s a major problem with this, though. Snorting Adderall increases the likelihood of suffering adverse effects by a lot.
One of the biggest issues with snorting the drug is how it increases your odds of addiction. Since it hits you faster, it causes a larger dopamine spike in the brain.
Large dopamine spikes make us feel like we want more of something. So snorting Adderall induces cravings more often than when using it orally.
Nasal damage is one of the worst things that happens when people snort pills. They’re full of binders that don’t absorb well, so they get stuck in your nasal cavity.
Besides damaging your nose, you may deal with other side effects too. Taking Adderall increases your blood pressure, putting strain on your heart.
Another way Adderall abuse can impact you is by disrupting your sleep schedule. Disrupted sleep makes it less effective when you’re using it as well. So it can often lead to overuse.
You may notice your appetite isn’t good if you’ve been snorting Adderall. It acts as an appetite suppressant thanks to its impact on norepinephrine. That’s why weight loss is a potential risk of Adderall abuse.
High doses of Adderall may cause sexual dysfunction in susceptible populations too. It’s not uncommon for people to report difficulty maintaining erections after ingesting large doses.
You can also damage your teeth if you’ve taken too much of it. Amphetamines often cause people to grind their teeth if they’ve consumed a large dose. You may grind them so much that it causes your jaw to get sore.
Most of the effects of amphetamines pertain to the mind, so that’s where you’ll notice them. Anxiety seems to be a frequent issue once people go past a certain dose. Exciting the mind too much can cause your thoughts to race, making things feel frantic.
How Does Snorting Compare to Oral Use?
Oral dosing doesn’t cause your body to react as powerfully as it does when snorting the substance. The stomach takes longer to absorb things. Plus, it puts them through first-pass metabolism. That’s why oral use is not as dangerous as snorting Adderall.
Therefore, your brain doesn’t notice an increase in dopamine for much longer. You’re less likely to have addiction issues if you stick with oral doses. That’s because the rush isn’t as strong.
Adderall doesn’t last as long if you’re snorting it. That’s why it’s more likely to cause addiction compared to oral use.
People feel like they need to take more of it because it stops working after a few hours. So they snort more to regain the effects once they notice them dissipate.
Statistically, very few people suffer from addiction if they follow their doctors’ instructions.
How Can You Tell If Someone Abuses Adderall?
The easiest way you can help someone who is abusing Adderall is by talking to him or her about it. You can keep an eye out for common signs of abuse to see if there’s any cause for concern.
If someone reports feeling grandiose, that’s a sign he or she is abusing Adderall. Heightened confidence can be one of its effects. Taken to the extreme, it manifests as outlandish claims of power and prestige.
Another sign of abuse would be the fear of not having Adderall. People understand they’d feel bad if they ran out of it. So they may start hyper-focusing on getting more.
You may even see someone hop between multiple doctors. That’s because he or she is trying to acquire multiple prescriptions. Or someone might’ve had an issue with his or her previous doctor. If a doctor prevents an individual from getting more prescriptions, he or she will find another one.
People who abuse Adderall often suffer from social issues. Elevated levels of norepinephrine increase anxiety, especially in social settings. As a result, Adderall users won’t feel comfortable around other people.
Rapid speech is another indication of Adderall abuse. If someone won’t slow down while he or she is talking to you, it may have something to do with Adderall.
Finally, you’ll want to see if someone has a dry mouth. Using Adderall can dry out your membranes, so you’ll need a lot of water.
Signs Someone Has Been Snorting Adderall
You may want to look for signs that someone has snorted Adderall too. These include all the previous signs and a few more.
Frequent nasal congestion is often a problem when people snort Adderall. Not all the binders make it through the nasal membrane if you’re snorting it. So, they’ll stay behind once everything else is gone.
Pay attention to how much someone sniffs throughout the day. If he or she is sniffing a ton, it may be the result of snorting Adderall.
If someone starts having frequent nosebleeds, that’s another sign. A person’s nose may start bleeding after he or she has snorted something.
You can also look for visible signs of irritation around the nose. People who snort Adderall a lot tend to have flaky skin around there.
Overdosing on Adderall
Overdosing on Adderall isn’t fatal most of the time. However, there is a chance of death in extreme cases. Taking too much of it causes many negative effects even if you survive.
Impacts on the CNS
Dopamine has a major link to psychosis and schizophrenia. That’s why psychosis is one of the side effects associated with amphetamine overdose.
Most of the drug’s negative impacts happen to your brain if you take too much. Excessive doses could even cause you to have a seizure in some instances.
Hyperexcitation also damages neurons if you’ve taken too much Adderall. Thus, it can lead to lasting brain damage if you’re not careful.
Changes to Your Vital Signs
Adderall always increases how fast you breathe. Plus, it also raises your blood pressure. That’s a normal effect of Adderall use, but it’s severe when you overdose.
You can start hyperventilating if you’ve had too much Adderall. If that happens, it may cause you to panic. The increase in your blood pressure can be so much that it damages your heart too.
The heart may even have palpitations if you’ve got too much Adderall in your system. These can cause long-term cardiovascular damage if they’re severe.
Possibility of Seizures
At worst, overdosing can lead to a seizure. Seizures have a high likelihood of causing long-term damage, especially when left untreated.
How Long Does Adderall Remain Detectable?
Adderall has a half-life of around 10 hours. However, most people notice the effects disappear after about six hours. It’s still possible to detect Adderall in the body for three days after someone takes it.
Waiting longer usually gives an individual enough time to excrete all the Adderall in his or her. So you’ll need to test someone quickly if you suspect he or she has been taking too much.
Overcoming an Adderall Addiction
Addiction impacts every aspect of our lives, family and work included. Overcoming an addiction to Adderall is possible with the right approach.
The first step is going to be withdrawing from the substance. Most of the time, this is the most difficult part of the process.
Adderall withdrawal happens when someone stops taking the medication abruptly. The body becomes dependent on it after you’ve taken it long enough. So removing it from your life puts your body into a deficit.
People struggle with feelings of lethargy during this phase of their recovery. Another common issue is difficulty concentrating.
You also may feel like you’re sleepier than usual if you’re withdrawing from Adderall. Headaches seem to be more common during the early phases of withdrawal as well.
Tapering the dose can often help people get through withdrawal without serious effects. This involves slowly adjusting how much you’re taking each day until you’re not taking any at all.
Some people get over Adderall withdrawal without medical support since it’s not life-threatening. However, it can be difficult to make it through this step without outside help.
A medical detox would make sense if you’re struggling to make it through withdrawal. This is where medical professionals assist with your withdrawal process.
They can give you medication to minimize discomfort while you’re going through this unpleasant process. Once you’ve finished detox, you won’t need them anymore either.
Adderall Addiction Treatment Centers
First City Recovery Center offers a wide variety of treatment options. Give us a call today if you’re interested in learning more about our program. You can attend in-patient or out-patient options at our facility.
Dr. Vahid Osman, MD is a psychiatry specialist in Indianapolis, IN.
Dr. Osman completed a residency at Austin State Hospital. He has over 32 years of experience in Psychiatry & Behavioral Health. He is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.