Adderall and meth (methamphetamine) are both stimulants that work in similar ways. Both Adderall and meth can be prescribed for the treatment of ADD/ADHD, but meth is most often found in an illicit form on the streets as the product of “cooking” it in clandestine labs. When used as directed, these drugs are much safer than when abused.
What Is Adderall?
Adderall (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine) is a brand name medication that works to stimulate the central nervous system (CNS). Adderall can be prescribed in doses that vary from 5 mg-30 mg doses. It is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of ADD/ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) and narcolepsy. When used as directed, Adderall can help a person focus and treat problems such as inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity, among others.
Like most prescription drugs, Adderall can result in adverse effects. It’s also commonly abused and used illegally without a prescription, particularly among students who are cramming for exams or people who work long shifts to stay awake and alert.
When a person without a qualifying medical condition uses Adderall, it can induce feelings of energy and a euphoric high, and it can help them stay awake longer and possibly even lose weight because it suppresses the appetite.
As a stimulant, when excessive doses are used, Adderall can become addictive. This occurs as the drug starts to alter regions of the brain responsible for pleasure and reward, and cravings for the drug onset when it is not being used.
Most medical professionals believe that those who use Adderall as prescribed may become dependent, but do not develop full-blown addiction. While addiction generally includes dependence, it is also hallmarked by compulsive drug-seeking behavior despite adverse consequences that result from its use. People who abuse Adderall are at a much higher risk of addiction.
What Is Meth?
As noted, methamphetamine, or meth for short, is most often found in illicit form, although a prescription drug called Desoxyn is sometimes used to treat particularly stubborn ADHD and obesity. When used for recreational purposes, its use can lead to feelings of euphoria and increased energy and confidence. However, there can also be very severe side effects, including paranoia, psychosis, changes in the brain’s structure and function, and well as aggressive or violent behavior.
Meth is often found in a clear or slightly bluish crystal-like form and sometimes powder. It can be manufactured from the ingredients in over-the-counter cough and cold preparations. It is usually smoked, but it can also be snorted, injected, or consumed orally. Unlike Adderall, which is regulated, meth is often produced using highly-toxic chemicals and flammable ingredients. Moreover, meth that is made illicitly can be far more dangerous than that which is obtained with a legitimate prescription.
Comparing Adderall and Meth
Increasingly, researchers and medical professionals have come forward to note how similar the two substances are. Of course, there are some key differences, but it’s come to light that Adderall abuse can also be very dangerous. However, it’s abuse tends to fly under the radar because it’s a prescription drug and doesn’t seem to lead to some of the severest consequences that meth use does.
The structures of both substances are very similar, with minimal differences in their chemical makeup. Meth contains methyl, an ingredient that allows the drug to breach the blood-brain barrier, leading to much more powerful effects. Also, the toxic ingredients in meth can cause brain, lung, liver, and kidney damage, among other mental and physical side effects and issues.
That said, many of the adverse side effects of Adderall and meth are comparable to each other, and may include irritability, cardiovascular problems, and profound weight loss. With long-term Adderall a use, effects can also include hostility, depression, and paranoia, in combination with addiction.
In summary, both substances are very similar in structure and function. Still, meth is generally more potent and dangerous to use due to the unregulated and volatile process in which its made. And as meth is commonly administered by smoking or injecting, these methods come with their own set of problems, in addition to increasing the likelihood that a person will become addicted.
Getting Help for Addiction
Adderall and meth are both powerful stimulant drugs, and abuse of either can rapidly result in addiction. If you are dependent on these or other substances, we urge you to contact us today to discuss treatment options.
Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery are state-of-the-art addiction treatment centers that offer integrated programs and evidence-based therapies and services. Our programs aim to treat all aspects of an individual’s health and wellness, including co-occurring mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety.
If you are ready to free yourself from the chains of addiction once and for all, call us today and find out how we can help!