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Do Stimulants Damage Your Heart? What to Know About Using Adderall

1 month, 1 week ago

1908  0
Posted on Dec 20, 2021, 8 p.m.

Stimulant is a broad term used to describe anything from caffeine to cocaine- anything that speeds up messaging between the brain and the body to make us feel more alert or energetic. But pharmaceutical stimulants include a variety of amphetamines, especially Adderall. Here’s what to know about Adderall use and heart health.

The Hype of Adderall

The 1960s saw widespread amphetamine use, with almost 10 million people prescribed to the drug and over 3 million addicts in America alone. Once the addiction statistics and fatalities started racking up, swift legislation began to be passed, but the damage was done. Several decades later, Adderall was introduced into the pharmaceutical marketplace. 

Adderall is an amphetamine commonly prescribed to treat symptoms such as sleep disorders, ADHD, or obesity. Of all prescription-based stimulants, Adderall is probably the most popular in its widespread use, both legally and illegally. The drug works by speeding up the central nervous system, resulting in a euphoric high of alertness and energy. This is especially appealing to those who turn to Adderall as a productivity drug- predominately males aged 18-29. 

With 21st technology and busy schedules, our days are comprised of extreme overstimulation. Adderall affects users by increasing levels of hyperactivity while improving focus. And while Adderall shares many qualities with cocaine, the experience is a slower onset and a longer duration. The fact that it is a “legal” drug makes it seem safer and cleaner to use than something like cocaine- and it’s easy to understand why this drug is so appealing. But is it actually safe to use?

Troubled Hearts, Emotional and Physical

The question to ask about the safety of Adderall use is- is it really Adderall? It is possible that some of the statistics around the illegal use of Adderall have to do with people sharing their prescriptions. However, this is not the bulk of illegal use. Most Adderall users, without a prescription, look to street dealers or even online. In either case, this makes Adderall especially dangerous without a prescription because there is no way to verify what is being taken. It is common practice for dealers to cut Adderall with other drugs, like PCP or fentanyl. With no dosage or ingredient regulations, this makes illegal Adderall use dangerous at best and life-threatening at worst. 

But what about heart health and Adderall use? Studies show that therapeutic Adderall use has resulted in a range of heart conditions, including cardiomyopathy. Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart when the muscle is thickened, and the normal ability to pump blood is reduced. Among the studies, some people required heart transplants due to complete heart failure after using Adderall. Keep in mind that this only includes prescription dosage amounts of Adderall! 

The American Heart Association reports that amphetamine and its derivatives (methamphetamines, dextroamphetamines, etc.) are the most widely used illicit drugs in the United States, next to marijuana. The report goes on to say that the long-term users of amphetamines are at an increased risk of heart problems due to the thickening of the muscle and plaque buildup in the arteries. Even the prescribed dosage of amphetamine use increases heart rate, but the added danger of taking more than the prescribed dosage or the laced versions of Adderall on the street and online. 

Some researchers believe that the morbidity rate of Adderall is much higher than current numbers suggest, but adverse event reporting in Canada and the United States is dependent on voluntary reporting by health practitioners. Because of this, the research of heart risk when using Adderall or other stimulants remains incomplete. What is clear is this: the more research that emerges, the more dangerous Adderall seems to be.

Regular, Not Pharmaceutical Stimulation

Whether you use Adderall by the doctor’s prescribed dosage or you use it recreationally, the risk for heart disease or heart failure is too important to ignore. What remains certain is both street Adderall and the ongoing use of Adderall greatly increase the risk of addiction and severe heart failure. 

The cycle of history teaches us that drugs become available long before the immediate and long-term effects are made known. In the case of Adderall and other amphetamines, this information is becoming clearer each year. Because of this, it is helpful to think about natural and over-the-counter alternatives to Adderall. Options like natural supplements, OTC products, and holistic methods are all useful tools to complement your journey away from Adderall. 

It should be noted that these options are typically not FDA regulated, so it is important to do your own research and consult your doctor as necessary. Adderall addiction is a serious condition that should not be stopped cold turkey without professional help. Symptoms of depression, anxiety, and insomnia can be expected to follow when detoxing from Adderall, and these can become dangerous without the proper help.

This article was written by Kevin Morris from the Delphi Behavioral Health Group, a dedicated family of facilities committed to offering individualized treatment for all levels of addiction working to treat it at its core to provide those suffering with the tools to start a journey of long-lasting recovery. 

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before making any changes to your wellness routine.

Content may be edited for style and length.

Materials provided by:

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NIDA. (2018, June 6). Prescription Stimulants DrugFacts. Retrieved  https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-stimulants

 

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Delphi Health Group. (n.d.). Is Adderall Cut With Other Drugs? How to Know. Retrieved https://delphihealthgroup.com/drug-cutting/adderall/

National Center for Biotechnology Information. (2008, June). Cardiomyopathy due to ingestion of Adderall. Retrieved: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18496266/

Center for Disease Control. (2019, December, 09). Cardiomyopathy. Retrieved https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/cardiomyopathy.htm



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