Adderall Tolerance: What You Should Know

Adderall Pils

Adderall is one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs, yet it’s often perceived to be harmless because a doctor prescribes it. However, it still has the potential for abuse and addiction.

What often starts out as a college student cramming for a test and looking for a “study pill,” develops into a dangerous habit. Estimates show somewhere between 20-30 percent of college students regularly abuse Adderall according to an article published on Huffington Post. The reason for this is their tolerance to the drug grows over time as they keep chasing the same high.

The same is true for people who are diagnosed with ADHD, whether they are children or adults. They are not chasing the high, but their usage can increase as their body becomes dependent on Adderall.

Reuters reported that in 2010, more than 18 million prescriptions were written for Adderall, up 13.4 percent from 2009. The amount of prescriptions has only gone up since then.

Why Is Adderall Prescribed?

It started out being prescribed to children who demonstrated hyperactivity and loss of concentration in school, which has become known to be Attention Deficit Hyper Disorder or ADHD. It’s also been prescribed to patients with narcolepsy.

Adderall is a time-release medication intended to be taken in a pill or capsule form. However, those who abuse the drug or are not on a prescription for it have been known to snort and inject it to achieve a faster or more powerful “high.” These methods put a person at a much higher risk of dependency and addiction.

How Does Your Body Build A Tolerance To Adderall?

Adderall is a neurologically enhancing drug containing amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. These ingredients increase levels of dopamine to the brain. Adderall is a stimulant that essentially functions very similarly to cocaine in those who have not been prescribed the substance.

Because these compounds in Adderall are addictive substances, especially to those who are not taking for a prescribed reason, the body builds a tolerance to it just as it does with opioids or alcohol. Over time it takes more of the drug to achieve the same relief or high as the first time.

How Fast Does Adderall Tolerance Build?

There are many factors that determine how tolerance builds. Some include:

  • Dosage amount.
  • Length of time someone has been taking the drug.
  • How frequently it’s being taken.
  • The other drugs or substances being taken with Adderall.
  • Other individual variables such as quality of sleep, diet, genetics, and stress levels.

Tolerance does build in almost anyone that takes it, and Adderall is considered a dangerous drug because of that.

The DEA has measures in place to regulate the compounds needed for Adderall manufacturing, and due to the high amount of people prescribed or abusing the drug, this has created a shortage of the medication for years. They have it scheduled as a Schedule II drug, which refers to drugs, substances, or chemicals with a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence.

What Are The Causes Of Adderall Tolerance?

Usually, Adderall doesn’t just stop working overnight, and it can take a span of time to notice it’s a gradual decline in initial efficiency. Users who have been on the drug for a length of time often begin to notice that an initial dosage of 20mg stops providing the same focus or enhancement to thinking as it once did.

The problem for those who are prescribed to it is that they will eventually reach the highest, safe dosage amount but will not obtain the relief they need. Taking higher doses after this dosage level is reached can have very adverse side effects such as heart and cholesterol issues. However, lowering the dosage when it gets to this point can cause extreme lethargy and brain fog as dopamine levels are interfered with.

Can You Prevent Tolerance?

While it may be a bit farfetched to think tolerance can be avoided in any case, Mental Health Daily offers insight to other regimens that may help prolong or alleviate some tolerance issues with Adderall. They suggest many options such as a routine of NMDA receptor antagonists, dopaminergic upregulators, neuroprotectives, supplements, and antioxidants.

There is no known way to prevent tolerance, but Livestrong reported a study done at the University of Maryland Medical Center where some experts believe that children with ADHD may be experiencing mild magnesium deficiencies. Previous research has concluded that children with ADHD are more likely to be deficient in magnesium than their peers. After that, a 2006 study published in “Magnesium Research” found that magnesium supplementation might help to improve ADHD type symptoms in children with the disorder.

Getting Help

If you think you’ve developed a tolerance to Adderall, it’s important to understand that increasing your dosage is not always the best plan of action. Contact us today to learn more about the effects of long-term Adderall usage and to get help for Adderall abuse or addiction. We have professionals ready to help you understand treatment options and help you get to a healthier place in life.

Adderall: The Most Abused Prescription Drug In America, The Huffington Post, Dr. Ricker and Dr. Nicolino, <>, November 2011 Insight: Shortage of ADHD drug Adderall seen persisting, Reuters, Toni Clarke, <>, July 2012 Adderall Tolerance: Causes and How To Prevent It, Mental Health Daily, <>, March 2016 Does Magnesium Help Reestablish Adderall Tolerance, Livestrong, Ireland Wolfe, <>, August 2013