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What Snorting Adderall Does to You

Authored by Granite Recovery Centers    Reviewed by James Gamache    Last Updated: October 2nd, 2021


James Gamache Medical Reviewer
Jim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) and Licensed Masters Level Addictions Counselor (MLADC). He has been working in the field of mental health/addiction treatment since 1995. Jim earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services from Springfield College in 2000, and a Masters Degree in Social Work from Boston University in 2002. In 2002 Jim was hired by the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester holding the position of Clinical Case Manager. From 2004-2019, Jim was employed at WestBridge Inc. During his time at WestBridge, Jim held the following positions; Clinician, Team Leader, Director, & Chief Operations Officer. In 2019 Jim transitioned employment to GateHouse Treatment Center as the Clinical Director for 10 months. In October of 2020 Jim transitioned to Granite Recovery Centers and is currently serving as the Senior VP of Clinical Services and Quality Assurance.

You may have heard of Adderall being prescribed to patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, Adderall abuse is on the rise, and it’s not just among college students. In a world where deadlines and the pressure to be productive are causing increased stress and anxiety levels, Adderall misuse is becoming a concern.

Adderall is also used recreationally as a party drug. It increases feelings of euphoria, excitability, and energy. A University of Kentucky study found that 30% of students admitted to misusing ADHD medications, like Adderall, at some point in their lives. According to the study, students can intentionally or inadvertently fool clinicians into believing that they have ADHD so that they can get a prescription.

Students feel stressed out because their workload at the university is a lot higher than what they experienced in high school. They hope that getting access to stimulant medication will boost their academic performance. The Adderall abuse seen on college campuses likely represents a microcosm of its more significant use.

What Is Adderall?

Adderall combines dextroamphetamine with amphetamine. It is available in an immediate-release (IR) formula or an extended-release (ER) formula. The FDA has issued warnings about possible side effects of the drug. Overdosing can be potentially fatal when individuals don’t take the medication as prescribed.

When people take Adderall for recreational purposes, they often take it at higher dosages than prescribed, or they may alter the drug to bolster its effects.

Adderall is classified as a Schedule II drug because it has a high potential for abuse, addiction, and diversion. Although Adderall has medical use, abusing it in any form is dangerous. Thousands of people seek emergency treatment each year as a result of adverse reactions to drugs like Adderall.

Can Adderall Be Snorted?

It is common for those who misuse Adderall to smoke, inject, and snort it. Snorting stimulants is one of the most common routes of administration. Snorting Adderall, especially the extended-release formula of the drug, gets people higher quicker.

When Adderall reaches the brain, it affects the neurotransmitters called dopamine and norepinephrine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that makes people feel good that gets released when people engage in joyful activities needed to sustain life, like eating a good meal.

Adderall can cause the brain to release excess amounts of dopamine. The pleasure sensations keep the user returning to the drug, even though it is damaging to life. Excess dopamine release is a reoccurring theme with addictive substances.

Adderall Addiction and Dependence

Adderall addiction, by definition, is the continued use of the substance despite consequences, even negative consequences.

Physical dependence on Adderall generally emerges when the body adapts to the presence of the drug and requires the drug to perform normally. Additionally, Adderall dependence can happen when someone is using the medication as prescribed or if they are abusing it. When a dependent person slows down or stops using the stimulant, they will experience withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms make quitting difficult.

Building up tolerance is part of addiction and dependence. Snorting Adderall causes users to become tolerant of the effects of the drug. They may need to consume more of the drug to get the high they felt when they first started. Continuing to consume more of the drug can lead to an overdose.

Snorting Adderall is dangerous for several reasons. It harms the brain and can lead to potentially fatal side effects.

Health Risks of Snorting Adderall

Snorting Adderall sends concentrated drug doses directly through the blood-brain barrier through the mucous membrane and to the bloodstream. This means that the drug completely bypasses the gastrointestinal tract.

With snorting, Adderall takes effect within minutes instead of the time it usually takes for a tablet to dissolve and then release the drug as intended.

Side Effects of snorting Adderall can include:

  • Dizziness
  • Aggression
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Destruction of sinus and nasal cavities
  • Muscle pain or weakness
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Respiratory issues
  • Seizures
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
  • Trouble breathing

Chronic Adderall abuse can cause irreparable brain damage. It may impair memory functions. Regular abuse of Adderall may alter natural brain chemicals and how these chemicals travel through the nervous system. The chemical change further creates an imbalance that the drug can only rectify.

What Does Snorting Adderall Do to the Nose?

The mucosa in the nose provides rapid absorption of drugs introduced in powder, aerosol, or liquid form. Since it bypasses the liver and stomach, where the digestive process might degrade drugs, snorting drugs quickens the onset of their effects.

Thankfully, the short-term side effects of snorting Adderall are usually minor. A runny nose, inflammation, and blocked nasal passages usually correct themselves within a few days, but lung infections may require extensive medical treatment.

Long-term snorting of drugs can lead to permanent nose damage. The nose was not designed for inhaling powders. Every time a person snorts Adderall, they risk nasal and lung infections and damage the inner lining of their nose.

Snorting drugs for a long period of time can lead to holes in the septum, the pallet, or the roof of the mouth. Since the nose is the gateway to the lungs, it can cause deeper problems in the body if the nose is damaged. The nose conditions the air that you breathe and cleans it. If the nose is not doing its job properly, the air breathed into the lungs is not good for you.

The impurities added to the Adderall powder to stretch it can also be harmful to your health. These impurities may include:

  • Caffeine
  • Laxatives
  • Talcum powder
  • Boric acid
  • Creatine
  • Powdered detergents

Signs of Adderall Abuse

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, millions of Americans over the age of 12 abuse prescription stimulants like Adderall. Adderall addiction or abuse is usually noticeable through the following symptoms:

  • A lack of interest in events or things not linked to using or attaining Adderall
  • An increase in risky behaviors
  • Attempting to get a prescription when one is not needed
  • Deteriorating physical appearance, including drastic weight loss
  • Excessive need for privacy or increased secrecy
  • Isolating oneself from friends and family
  • Money troubles
  • Negative interactions with law enforcement or legal troubles
  • Noticeable changes in sleeping habits such as oversleeping or not sleeping enough
  • Powder residue around the nose, mouth, or face
  • Prescription bottles in their possession or their trash
  • Reduced performance at work or school
  • Possession of snorting paraphernalia, such as rolled-up dollar bills, razor blades, straws, mirrors, and pen cases
  • The inability to reliably keep up with obligations
  • Unpredictable mood changes, such as increased snapping or arguing

Friends and family need to be aware of the signs that someone is snorting Adderall. If you are concerned that a loved one is addicted to Adderall, it may be an excellent time to learn more about the drug detox and rehab programs offered by Granite Recovery Center. Granite Recovery Centers provides medical detoxification for people who do not need immediate medical intervention, are not a danger to themselves, and are capable of self-evacuation in the event of an emergency.

The Dangers of Adderall Overdose

Overdose is the ever-present danger that comes from snorting Adderall. Overdose can lead to brain damage and death. Hypertension, confusion, psychosis, racing heart rate, heart attack, stroke, and death may result from Adderall overdose. Mixing other drugs or alcohol with Adderall only increases the negative results. Annually, tens of thousands of Americans die because of a prescription drug overdose.

Since Adderall is a stimulant, it raises blood pressure, heart rate, respiration rate, and body temperature. It changes a person’s brain chemistry linked to vital body functions, such as appetite, sleep, concentration, and energy levels.

When Adderall is crushed, the time-released mechanism is bypassed. This means that the entire amount of drug is sent into the bloodstream at once. The brain can become overwhelmed by this surge of Adderall, and the brain may not break down the drug.

Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms are not the same as side effects. Withdrawal happens only after you stop taking the drug. If a person has misused Adderall for a considerable amount of time, they may suffer from the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Changes in mood
  • Stomach aches or cramping
  • Unusual tiredness
  • Vomiting

Symptoms of Adderall withdrawal can make a person seem like they are hungover or drunk. The longer a person has abused Adderall, the more their brain and body have depended on it. This could make breaking free from the substance more difficult.

You Can Break Free From Adderall Abuse

Granite Recovery Center has been helping transform the lives of adults dealing with alcohol and substance use disorder for over 10 years. We have assisted adults from New England and other parts of the world.

Our New Hampshire-based addiction treatment center provides the best of evidence-based clinical psychotherapies supported by a 12-step curriculum. Our addiction treatment program offers the full spectrum of care, ranging from medical detox to intensive outpatient counseling. We offer medical assistant treatment as well as extended care, sober living, and primary residential treatment.

Snorting Adderall

The best way to fully commit to treatment is to enter one of our residential addiction treatment programs. We tailor our approach depending on each person. Many who struggle with addiction also deal with co-occurring mental health disorders, and healing can only truly begin when these needs are addressed. Additionally, our intensive outpatient program provides the level of support and flexibility needed during early recovery. It is especially designed for those who have obligations that preclude them from living at our facility.

Recovery doesn’t stop when you get clean. Many patients benefit from our sober living homes, which offer a less restrictive environment than extended care. They provide a safe space for clients to develop vital skills for post-treatment life.

Alumni Program

Our alumni program allows you to form bonds with other people and develop healthy friendships that support long-term recovery. Our community recovery blog covers many topics about addiction, treatment, and the recovery process. This information can be invaluable when understanding the difficulties faced when you or a loved one is suffering.

It can be tempting to want to overcome addiction to Adderall on your own. However, it’s easier to be successful when a person’s detox and recovery efforts are backed by experienced and caring professionals who can offer the proper therapies.

Community Support

In summary, we at Granite Recovery Center are proud of our success in aiding people in recovery.  We are also pleased with our growing community of people we have helped make addiction to Adderall and other substances a thing of the past. Many are successfully traveling the road to recovery, and so can you.

We look forward to being your partners on your journey to long-term sobriety. We invite you to see for yourself just how good life can be when substance abuse and substance use disorder are things of the past.

At Granite Recovery Centers, we want to provide accurate information about health and addiction so that our readers can make informed decisions.

We have credentialed medical doctors & clinicians who specialize in addiction treatment review the information on our website before it is published. We use credible sources such as government websites and journal articles when citing statistics or other medically related topics.