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Snorting Adderall: Side Effects & Treatment Options For Addiction

Adderall is an incredibly popular drug and has been the cornerstone of treatment for many people, but it can also become an addictive substance that changes lives. Adderall stimulates the central nervous system, affecting the levels and activity of neurotransmitters in your brain. The two neurotransmitters that Adderall acts on are dopamine and norepinephrine. This makes it such an effective medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

For those who live with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Adderall can be a greatly effective aid in helping them reduce or eliminate the symptoms associated with the condition. It helps them control their attention, focus, and concentration and improves self-control. However, when people who have not been prescribed the medication legitimately take it, they abuse it and present conditions to their bodies that could be very harmful in the long run.

The reason that Adderall has become a popular drug to abuse has a lot to do with its effects. Adderall is part of the amphetamine family of drugs and is a powerful stimulant used by people who do not need it to manage symptoms. Amphetamines are a very tightly controlled class of drugs due to the potency of their effects and the potential dangers of abuse and withdrawal.

Dangers of Snorting Adderall

While many people who abuse Adderall take the pills or capsules like they were designed, some want a different timeframe for the effects, so they snort them. Snorting, also known as insufflation, is when the Adderall pill or capsule is crushed into a relatively fine powder and inhaled through the nose.

This is done primarily for potency and speed of onset of the effects. When taking the pills, there is often a reasonable amount of time before the dose becomes active. However, when snorting Adderall, the effects will set in within moments and will be far more potent than the feelings of the effects by oral route. When snorting Adderall, the individual abusing the substance can circumvent most of the measures that allow for delayed, timed, or extended-release doses.

Some of the dangers associated with snorting Adderall are simply due to the method of administration that the users choose. Snorting Adderall, no matter how finely it is crushed or ground up, usually involves larger, more jagged pieces of the pill or capsule contents. These pieces of medication can not only cause physical damage to the nasal and sinus tissue by causing tiny cuts but can also introduce potentially serious sinus infections and even tissue necrosis.

Even when used by those with prescriptions, Adderall can cause side effects that include restlessness, nervousness, anxiety, irritability, emotional instability, muscle tremors, headache, stomach ache, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, fever, low saliva production, elevated blood pressure, blurry or distorted vision, hair loss, low sex drive, impotence, and even trouble reaching orgasm.

It is a powerful stimulant, and like any other medications that are formulated with stimulants like amphetamines, it is only ever intended to be used for short durations. Any long-term use or abuse leads to severe and potentially deadly effects on the brain and the body. This is because it can drastically alter the dopamine release system and receptors, as well as the reward centers of the brain.

This is the prime mechanism by which snorting Adderall develops a chemical dependency with those who abuse it. Once the last dose of the drug wears off, the acute withdrawal symptoms will begin to surface. Sometimes users will feel the effectiveness of Adderall decreasing, so they will raise their dosage without consulting their doctor. Unfortunately, this often leads to more serious and uncomfortable withdrawals, with potential long-term issues.

Withdrawal Symptoms from Snorting Adderall

If the individual snorting Adderall was legitimately prescribed their Adderall, once they stop taking it, they should see an immediate return of any symptoms that it was effectively managing as well as additional symptoms related to the withdrawal process and the dependency.

Some of the first symptoms that will be experienced will often include a generally bad mood, mood swings, depression, lethargy, and severely decreased libido. This can result in many people finding that they no longer enjoy things they once enjoyed while prescribed or snorting Adderall. The symptoms experienced may not be consistent from one abuser to the next and can vary greatly based on factors like age, sex, medical history, and addiction profile.

Some more serious withdrawal symptoms will include more challenges than usual, difficulty focusing on tasks and concentrating, trouble assembling clear thoughts, muscle tremors, shaking, anxiety, and memory issues that will grow more serious.

Treatment for an Addiction to Snorting Adderall

If you believe you or someone you know may be addicted to snorting Adderall, it’s important to know that help is available. They may feel isolated and nearly hopeless when caught in the cycle of addiction. By reaching out to a recovery center and getting help from professionals, however, the individual can begin to feel safe and secure in the potential for their recovery and are more likely to pursue it with determination.

Not only will working with experienced addiction professionals allow the individual to complete their detox and withdrawal stage in a medically supervised environment, but it will also allow them to begin working on addressing the root cause of their addictive tendencies. Additionally, once they have completed the withdrawal and detox, they can speak to various counselors and use other resources to learn and practice healthy coping mechanisms and when to use them.

By learning how to recognize their triggers and thought patterns, they can learn how to avoid or deal with them and build an incredibly strong foundation for continued successful recovery.


Ocean Recovery has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations for our references. We avoid using tertiary references as our sources. You can learn more about how we source our references by reading our editorial policy.

1. CDC. What is ADHD? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published September 23, 2021. Accessed July 30, 2022.

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Last medically reviewed July 30, 2022.