Why Adults Without ADHD Take Adderall and How It’s Killing the American Dream

adults without ADHD take Adderall

Democracy has its perks – if you do well. Our benchmark in what “doing well” means varies from community to community and culture to culture. But if you believe in capitalism and do what you can to practice it Monday through Friday, there’s a certain kind of pressure that goes with the territory. For a growing number of would-be capitalists and white-collar professionals their big edge up comes in a little blue pill. Sure, there are other colors but the basic substance behind it is of the amphetamine family, known as Adderall, Vyvanse or Ritalin. Learn why adults without ADHD take Adderall.

These medications were created to specifically treat mental/behavioral conditions that affect cognitive function, prevalent in Attention Deficit Disorder “ADD” and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder “ADHD”. However, adults without ADHD take Adderall without attention-deficit disorders diagnosis. While there are health risks in doing so, there is a bigger problem behind the intention to abuse these drugs and it’s killing the American dream.

Fake It ‘Til You Make It

Even with the recent crackdown in the healthcare community in how prescription medications are provided for may be slow to affect the rate of phony ADHD diagnoses of adults. The reason why is in the characteristics of the disorder. There are more than 300 different kinds of ADD, with varying symptoms. Current statistics in the United States reflect that approximately 5 percent of the adult population has some form of ADD with 11 percent of U.S. children aged 4 to 17 diagnosed with ADHD.

For adults who want to use Adderall that do not suffer from ADD, it requires an appointment with a psychiatrist and knowing what symptoms to say they have that would lead to an ADD diagnosis. From there, a prescription is given for Ritalin, Vyvanse or Adderall and the door to chemical dependency is opened.

If You Really Have ADD the Medication Is Calming

Think about it. Adults who genuinely have Attention Deficit Disorder need stimulants to quiet the symptoms. A cup of coffee can have a calming effect on a person with ADD. The reason that children with the condition were given Ritalin is so they could maintain some realm of control in a classroom setting, follow instructions from parents and better refrain from outbursts. Adults who have ADHD show low levels of dopamine receptors in specific areas of the brain. Adderall is prescribed to help restore the balance. But for adults who have no imbalance (no ADD) the damage from taking these substances is very real.

Health Risks from Adderall Addiction:

  • Diminished appetite
  • Anxiousness
  • Digestion issues
  • Sleeplessness
  • Anxiousness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Overtired
  • Aggressiveness
  • Manic episodes
  • Pain in chest
  • Trouble with speech
  • Numbness or weakness in arms or legs
  • Seizures

Adderall or You’re Nothing

Adderall in corporate America


In a new Netflix documentary film entitled Take Your Pills, the subject of amphetamine addiction and the recent increase in adult-onset ADHD or ADD diagnoses is the focus. Pun intended. With more 100 interviews conducted for the project, participants were classified in two different groups: adults began using the medication before the age of 18 and those who started use as adults. The commonalities between the two aren’t surprising.

Limitless Is Fleeting

Our world is full of distractions. Some self-imposed by technological advances and other by our choice in succumbing to their promise of convenience. As a result, people are slaves to the technology. While we refer to them as smart devices, over time, they are proving to dumb down our ability to turn off to distractions and just be in the moment. Moreover, the quest to multitask without mistakes has paved the way for our current need to focus and produce faster and flawlessly, more than ever before.

Otherwise healthy adults and students competing against their peers are drawn to Vyvanse, Ritalin and Adderall because they are known as high performance drugs. So they take them, hoping they deliver on the promise of helping them become more-better-faster than they ever thought possible.

It works, so they believe. For a little while.

When the Pressure Is Worth the Pain

Performance pill poppers praise the effects of Adderall in corporate America. They swear that their work is solid and they seem to get through more of it in a shorter amount of time. Enhanced concentration, attention-to-detail and increased energy are some of the descriptions given from adults who use these drugs with no medical reason to back their dependency for them. And it doesn’t take long to get there – addicted. When you’re feeling limitless, it’s hard to walk away from that… and go back to just being you.

It’s in those moments when coming down off this self-induced, performance high that memories of what life was like before the new you ever came to be arise. It’s depressing. It’s demoralizing. It’s ugly. It’s triggering the need for more. This is the cycle of Adderall addiction. Users notice that the short-term benefits of the drug diminish quickly, unless they take in more. And more.

The Truth Hurts

As the interviews from the documentary about Adderall abuse got into deeper discussion, respondents shared their stories. Although they wanted so desperately to outperform others and reach better realities in themselves, it became apparent that with their addiction, a stronger sense of self-doubt is what consistently emerged.

Ultimately, they weren’t sure if the Adderall or other performance-enhancing drugs truly made them better. Overall, their takeaway from the addiction was that they weren’t sure if they used the drugs to feel like they were doing better, instead of being better. And research indicates that Adderall doesn’t improve one’s performance but creates the feeling that they are better than they were before.

In a sense Adderall is, perhaps, the precursor to the addiction of personal illusion. This is what’s killing the human spirit in America, an inability to accept ourselves as we are — imperfect.

If You or Someone You Know Needs to Come Down from Adderall, We Can Help

Melanie SternAuthored by Melanie Stern, Content Director for Scottsdale Recovery Center, Arizona Addiction Recovery Centers and Cohn Media, LLC. Writer and broadcaster covering the following industries: addiction rehab, health care, entertainment, technology and advocate of clear communication, positivity and humanity at its best.