Snorting Adderall: Side Effects, Abuse and Dangers

You might’ve heard Adderall — the prescription drug used to treat hyperactivity disorder or ADHD. However, this drug is also misused by many people and has been infamously coined with a variety of names, depending on its use. 

For some people, Adderall has earned its nickname, “study drug,” since it enhances wakefulness and focus. For others, they use Adderall as a “crash diet” drug, suppressing their appetite, helping them with their weight-loss goals. And finally, for those who use Adderall occasionally and for socializing during parties, it’s called the “party drug.” And to take this drug, most people crush the tablets and snort them. 

According to a study by the University of Kentucky, 30 percent of their students have used and abused similar ADHD medications, like Adderall. The results here show a huge possibility that it can represent a larger picture of college campuses in the US and its connection to Adderall.

But how does one abuse Adderall? When someone takes Adderall without prescription, medical need, or recreational purposes, it isn’t being used as intended and misused. Because of its popularity and a high potential for drug abuse and addiction, the Drug Enforcement Administration or DEA has categorized Adderall as Schedule II.

In this article, we’ll dig deeper on what really goes on when you snort Adderall — the dangers it brings, overdose, withdrawal, side effects, and more. 

Dangers of Snorting Adderall

According to a study by Columbia University, there are a plethora of cardiovascular risks associated when one snorts Adderall. Taking Adderall intranasally boosts its impacts as the medication enters the bloodstream quickly and exerts its effects rapidly.

Additionally, taking Adderall intranasally can affect your body in so many ways. It is associated with various serious mental health issues and can greatly affect your mood and behavior. In some cases, those who snort Adderall can become hostile and aggressive, and sometimes even violent. In other severe cases, people who misuse Adderall often are at higher risk of having suicidal thoughts and harming themselves more. 

Besides affecting a person’s mood and behavior, Adderall also has long-term psychological effects, such as anxiety and delusions, making other people experience hallucinations and agitation when they’re on the drug.

Because Adderall is such a powerful drug, unless you have symptoms of ADHD or have a sleeping disorder, abusing Adderall and getting high off the drug isn’t worth all the health risks that you may get. Here are some instances when snorting Adderall can be dangerous for you:

  • If you have a health condition that affects your heart’s structure;
  • If you’re taking medication that would interact adversely with Adderall;
  • If you have a history of mental illness, like bipolar disorder or anxiety;
  • If you have high blood pressure;

Overdosing on Adderall

One of the most significant potential dangers of snorting and abusing Adderall is overdose. Overdose is incredibly hazardous as it can lead to coma, brain damage, and even death. But how does this happen?

Adderall has a stimulant nature of amphetamine, which raises a person’s heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure, and respiration rates. Plus, it also changes your brain’s chemistry and affects one’s pleasure, appetite, sleep functions, concentration, and even energy levels. Because of these effects, people succumb to abusing the drug and sometimes take too much to reach a certain high, leading to an overdose.

However, when you take it for medical reasons and use it as prescribed, Adderall has many benefits since it can help you focus, reduce hyperactivity, and improve and balance the chemicals in your brain. 


Withdrawal from Adderall will be different for many people since it depends on many factors, such as the nature of abuse. When you have a stimulant disorder or Adderall addiction, then withdrawing from the drug can be difficult, and you may encounter challenges during your withdrawal phase

Since many who have abused the drug have developed psychological dependence with Adderall, their withdrawal symptoms can range from moderate to severe. Here are some stimulant withdrawal symptoms that one might experience:

  • Slower heart rate;
  • Slower movements;
  • Cravings;
  • Fatigue;
  • Increased appetite;
  • Vivid and frequent dreams;
  • Lack of pleasure;
  • Agitation;
  • Sleeping issues;

A person can experience withdrawal and develop symptoms a few hours to days after their last dose of Adderall. And usually, the withdrawal period will last up to two weeks. 

adderall addiction
adderall abuse

Depression Due to Adderall

When you use Adderall for a long time, your brain gets used to the increased activity in its neurotransmitters. And the reason one experiences withdrawal is because your brain thinks that it has low levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, which are directly connected to depression. 

For this reason, one of the hallmark withdrawal symptoms is depression. However, although it is temporary, it can last up to one week. Some people who have built a dependency on the drug may experience depression from weeks to months.

Side Effects

Adderall contains amphetamine and dextroamphetamine and is available in tablet or capsule form. For recreational or non-medical use, people would crush the tablets or open the capsules to create or expose the powder of the medication. After that, they will then snort the product. 

Although Adderall may seem like a miracle drug to students, teens, and even adults, the effects of Adderall are quite jarring and can have life-threatening side effects. 

Here are some side effects of snorting Adderall:

  • Loss of appetite and weight loss;
  • Trouble sleeping;
  • Irritability;
  • Nervousness;
  • Headache;
  • Tremors;
  • Nausea or vomiting;
  • Dizziness;
  • Racing heart rate;
  • Sexual dysfunction;
  • Fatigue;
  • Numbness in extremities;
  • Increased aggression and hostility;
  • Delirium and hallucinations;
  • Paranoia;
  • Potential brain damage;

How Long Does it Last?

When Adderall is in your system, it gets absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract. It is deactivated by the liver or eliminated in urine. Besides that, 20 to 25 percent of its composition is converted into metabolites, including hippuric and benzoic acid.

How long the drug stays in your system will depend on a plethora of factors. For instance, the pH of your urine can affect the overall elimination of the drug in your system. Those with low urine pH will eliminate the drug much faster, but those with a higher ph will experience a slower process. 

Here are some factors that may affect the longevity of Adderall in your body:

  • Frequency of use;
  • Type of stimulant used;
  • Date or time of the last dose;
  • Weight;
  • Liver or kidney impairment;

Because it’s such a common drug to misuse, employers, medical professionals, mental health professionals, law enforcement, and sports organizations often test for amphetamines.

The most common way to test for stimulant abuse is through a urine test, and the less common types of tests that can trace Adderall would be hair tests, saliva tests, and blood tests. 

The Bottom Line: You Cannot Ignore the Harmful Effects of Adderall Abuse

For many students, teens, and adults, Adderall is the miracle drug that can help them finish grueling tasks, elevate their socializing experience, and give them an interesting high. However, there are incredibly dangerous long-term effects that they can experience when dependent on this drug. 

If you know someone dependent on Adderall or occasionally snorts the medication, it’s best to educate them about its effects and suggest that they get medical assistance right away.