Adderall is a commonly prescribed stimulant medication that treats attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). While the drug is relatively safe when the directions are followed as set by your doctor, abusing the drug will increase your risk of neurotoxicity and brain damage. This can lead to physical and psychological complications that are not reversible. Fortunately, several of the neurotoxic effects can be reversed by abstaining from Adderall.
Neurotoxicity of Adderall
Although the medication is much less potent than methamphetamine, these two drugs have similar mechanisms of action and effects. Adderall is far less toxic than meth and has a much lower potential for neurotoxic effects. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t occur through severe abuse.
Stimulant drugs interact with the levels of dopamine in our brain, raise them, and then block reabsorption. Once it’s repeated through abuse of the drug, interaction with the chemical balances of the neurotransmitters will lead to damage at the dopamine nerve terminals, which is known as neurotoxicity.
Neurotoxicity that results from meth use is caused by oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, and excitotoxicity. All of these are related to the way stimulants interact with our natural brain chemistry.
The U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH) describes that the exact mechanism of neurotoxicity caused by amphetamines is not entirely clear. Amphetamines cause damage to monoaminergic neurons and create disruptions to standard dopaminergic functioning in the brain.
Neurotoxicity caused by amphetamines can have far-reaching consequences. Behavioral Neurology describes that it may cause emotional and cognitive deficits, which include increased risk-taking behaviors. That may lead to legal, social, and medical problems.
Adderall neurotoxicity has been linked to the onset of Parkinson’s disease, which is a nerve and movement disorder that impairs memory functions similar to Alzheimer’s disease. Damaging dopamine cells and the way neurotransmitters are produced and transmitted can be a side effect of Adderall neurotoxicity. Brain damage and function are additional effects.
Adderall neurotoxicity symptoms include the following:
- Sleeping troubles
- Tremors or twitching
- Problems with coordination or fine motor skills
- Lessened working memory functions
- Inability to concentrate or think clearly
- Impulse control problems
- Mental confusion
- Suicidal thoughts
- Homicidal thoughts
- Problems making logical decisions
- Impaired decision making
- Panic attacks
How to Avoid Adderall Neurotoxicity
Fortunately, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) published a study that indicates more than a year of abstinence from Adderall can reverse some of the neurotoxic effects.
Unfortunately, not all brain damage was reversed, which shows that neurotoxicity can have long-lasting effects.
The best way to avoid neurotoxicity is to follow the instructions your prescribing doctor implements. Limit your usage to a short period, and take the lowest effective dose.
To ensure that you avoid neurotoxicity altogether, it may be time to consider alternative non-drug treatments.
Speak with your doctor today to see what options are available to you.
Neurotoxicity is dangerous and a possibility when using such drugs, so find out your options today.