Methamphetamine, or meth, is a highly addictive synthesized drug that is snorted, smoked or injected and generates euphoric feelings in users. Adderall is a prescription medication used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Both meth and Adderall stimulate the central nervous system, enhancing the activity of brain compounds called neurotransmitters. By enhancing neurotransmitter levels, both meth and Adderall increase alertness, focus, and energy. Although both drugs have similar makeups and impacts on the body, there are several differences in their properties. Differences between meth and Adderall include their legal and illegal uses, chemical components, side effects, and addictive potential. Recognizing key meth vs. Adderall differences is essential for understanding their use and preventing addiction and severe side effects.

What is Adderall?

Individuals wishing to learn more about Adderall may wonder, what is Adderall used to treat? Adderall is a brand name medication FDA approved for treating both ADHD and narcolepsy, a sleep disorder. Adderall helps improve attention and focus in people with ADHD and increases wakefulness in people with narcolepsy. Adderall is an amphetamine, a class of compounds that works by increasing the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain. Adderall is composed of two amphetamine salts, amphetamine, and dextroamphetamine, and is available in both immediate-release and extended-release tablet formulations.

What is Meth?

Meth is a chemically synthesized illicit drug. Crystal methamphetamine, known as crystal meth, is one form of meth. Several differences exist when comparing crystal meth vs. meth. Meth is usually snorted, smoked or injected, while crystal meth is generally smoked. Meth typically appears as a white crystalline substance, but may also appear brown, yellow-gray, orange or pink and can be formed into a pill. Crystal meth is a distilled, highly potent form of meth that looks similar to glass fragments or bluish-white rocks. A legal meth form is also available under the brand name Desoxyn.

How is Methamphetamine Used?

Illicit forms of meth are used to generate pleasurable, euphoric feelings and increased energy. Prescription Desoxyn, or its generic form methamphetamine hydrochloride, is FDA-approved to treat ADHD and obesity. The use of prescription meth for ADHD has become less common, as newer drugs such as Adderall have become increasingly popular.

Effects of Adderall and Meth

Adderall and meth have similar, potentially dangerous health effects. Side effects of Adderall and meth use include physical and mental symptoms, which become more severe with prolonged use. Over time, the misuse of these drugs may lead to addiction.

Effects of Meth

Meth use carries significant health risks, including a high potential for addiction and overdose. Meth is slowly metabolized and persists within the body for an extended period, with only 50% of the drug removed from the body in 12 hours. As a result, the effects of meth use last for a prolonged period. Side effects of meth use include:

  • Meth Side Effects

    Restlessness

    Loss of appetite

    Rapid breathing

    Irregular heartbeat

    Increased blood pressure

    Increased body temperature

    Extreme weight loss

    Dental problems

    Intense itching that can lead to wounds called meth sores

    Anxiety

    Confusion

    Sleeping problems

    Violent behavior

    Paranoia

    Hallucinations

The long-term effects of meth use include permanent brain and organ damage, which may lead to memory loss, aggressive behavior, tooth loss, psychosis, heart attack, stroke, and death. Comprehensive addiction treatment is needed to prevent long-term health consequences from meth use.

Effects of Adderall

When used as prescribed, Adderall is considered safe for long-term use. However, the effects of Adderall may cause severe symptoms when the drug is taken in higher or more frequent doses than prescribed.

Common adverse effects of Adderall include:

  • Adderall Side Effects

    Nervousness

    Headache

    Diarrhea

    Nausea or vomiting

    Constipation

    Weight loss

    Irregular heartbeat

    Dizziness

    Seizures

    Agitation

    Hallucinations

    Numbness

    Weakness

    Rash

    Itching

    Speech problems

    Difficulty breathing or swallowing

    Blurred vision

Long-term effects of Adderall, particularly when misused, include anxiety, hallucinations, depression, high blood pressure, heart attack, and sudden death.

Adderall and Meth Addiction

Meth and Adderall carry a potential for abuse and addiction due to their stimulant effects. Both drugs alter the levels of chemicals involved in the brain’s reward pathways, motivating individuals to continue using the drugs. Meth is more potent than Adderall and thus has higher addiction potential. Although meth addiction is associated with more severe health consequences, the availability of prescription Adderall makes it easy to access and misuse. Adderall addiction is particularly common among college students who use it to improve concentration or academic performance.

Meth Addiction

Meth abuse, including crystal meth addiction and prescription Desoxyn addiction, impact many individuals. Without comprehensive treatment, meth addiction leads to severe consequences for an individual’s physical and mental health, relationships, finances, and career. Meth addiction statistics demonstrate that in 2018, approximately 1.9 million people aged 12 or older reported using meth in the past year, and 5.4% of people 12 and over reported using meth in their lifetime. About 15% of all drug overdose deaths in 2017 involved meth. Individuals using meth over an extended period generally develop a dependence on the drug. Without the help of a professional treatment program, attempts to stop meth use may fail due to difficult withdrawal symptoms.

Adderall Addiction

Adderall abuse is common and may lead to dependence and addiction over time. Adderall belongs to a class of ‘study drugs’ misused by teens and young adults to help them focus on their coursework. Adderall addictions statistics show that study drugs such as Adderall are misused by approximately 4% of older teens and young adults each year. Over time, the misuse of prescription stimulants can lead to physical dependence. When Adderall use is subsequently stopped, unpleasant withdrawal symptoms occur, making it challenging to retain sobriety. Seeking prompt help through a professional treatment program is necessary to prevent severe Adderall addiction symptoms.

Is Adderall Similar to Meth?

Many people are beginning to wonder, is Adderall like methamphetamine? Indeed, Adderall and meth have many similarities. Both drugs are amphetamines that stimulate the central nervous system and modify the activity of important brain chemicals. Both drugs have the potential for abuse and addiction due to their stimulant activities. However, meth is more potent than Adderall, and crystal meth commonly contains many toxic chemicals that can harm the body.

When comparing Desoxyn vs. Adderall, several significant differences exist. Desoxyn is composed of methamphetamine, while Adderall contains a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Due to the chemical structure of Desoxyn, it crosses into the brain more quickly than Adderall and thus has more rapid and powerful effects. Despite their differences, meth, and Adderall both have the potential for serious health effects and addiction.

Treatment for Meth and Adderall Addiction

Seeking treatment for meth or Adderall addiction is vital to prevent serious health and personal consequences. Meth addiction treatment and Adderall addiction treatment options include medical detox, inpatient or outpatient rehab, psychotherapy, and support groups.

If you or a loved one are struggling with meth or Adderall addiction, contact The Recovery Village Palm Beach to speak with a representative who can help you explore addiction treatment programs. Treatment centers in South Florida are available to help you begin the path to recovery.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options, and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.