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Adderall is an amphetamine-based medication typically used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), especially in adults. The substance, which is most commonly prescribed in extended-release tablet form, is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine and acts as a stimulant on the body’s central nervous system.

People suffering from ADD or ADHD experience improvement in attention when taking Adderall. Although the precise nature of how Adderall achieves this result is yet unknown, it is suspected that the drug causes an increase in the brain’s ability to use neurotransmitters, especially serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine.

Because it affects dopamine, Adderall stimulates the brain’s pleasure center, resulting in euphoric feelings and decreased appetite. Although many abuse Adderall to feel the euphoric effect present in other recreational stimulants, other users have found that it can help them in different ways. Students without attention disorders have also caught on to the benefits of Adderall and use the drug to help stay alert at night while doing homework and to enable them to call forth a laser-like focus during tests. Women concerned with their weight have latched on to the drug as an easier alternative to traditional diet and exercise.

Unfortunately, when a patient takes Adderall for anything other than as prescribed for ADHD it is highly addictive and can lead to substance abuse issues. Further, the drug carries with it side effects like headaches, irritability and an elevated heart rate. Because it is a stimulant, many users may need to take depressants, like prescription sleeping pills, in order to get enough sleep. People who develop tolerance to the drug have even turned to methamphetamine use in order to achieve a similar high.