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Adderall vs. Meth

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Many people are surprised to learn that the prescription medication Adderall shares certain characteristics with meth, which is widely understood to be a dangerous and highly addictive recreational drug. In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at both the similarities and differences between Adderall vs. meth.

What Is Adderall?

Adderall is the brand name of a prescription drug that contains racemic amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. This medication is often prescribed to people who have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or narcolepsy.

According to a February 2023 CNN article, the annual number of Adderall prescriptions that were written in the United States rose from 35.5 million in 2019 to 45 million in 2022. 

Because it contains amphetamine salts, Adderall is categorized as a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. Adderall use can cause increased levels of three neurotransmitters: dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. This, in turn, can lead to a boost in focus and clarity.

Adderall’s effects have also made it a popular “study drug.” This means that people often use it illicitly to help them prepare for tests or complete other projects that require a high level of concentration. 

Regardless of why they began to do so, anyone who abuses Adderall for any reason – including self-medication, to enhance their cognitive capabilities, or for purely recreational purposes – puts themselves at risk for myriad negative outcomes, including addiction.

What Is Meth?

Meth is short for methamphetamine. As its name suggests, it was derived from amphetamine. The drug was first synthesized by a Japanese chemist in the 1890s. In the ensuing decades, medical professionals incorporated meth into treatment for a variety of conditions, including asthma, narcolepsy, and obesity. 

In the United States, the illicit manufacture and abuse of methamphetamine increased dramatically in the 1990s and early 2000s. 

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reported the following statistics about meth use and abuse in 2021:

  • About 2.5 million people in the U.S. have used meth at least once in the previous 12 months.
  • About 1.6 million people (or about 0.6% of the U.S. population) met the criteria for meth addiction.
  • More than 35,000 people died from overdoses involving meth and other stimulants (excluding cocaine). Many of these deaths involved people who had been abusing meth along with heroin, prescription painkillers, or other opioids.

Similarities & Differences Between Adderall vs. Meth

Now that we’ve discussed each of these substances individually, let’s take a moment to compare and contrast them. 

Here are a few similarities between Adderall vs. meth:

  • Both Adderall and meth are CNS stimulants.
  • Abusing either of these drugs can lead to addiction, overdose, and death.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved both Adderall and methamphetamine for use in the United States for certain medical purposes.
  • The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has classified both Adderall and meth as Schedule II controlled substances. This means that the DEA has determined that both drugs have “a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence.”

And here are a few key differences between Adderall vs. meth:

  • Adderall is the brand name of a prescription medication. Methamphetamine is a generic term. (The prescription version of meth is sold under the brand name Desoxyn.)
  • Adderall is prescribed much more often than Desoxyn (meth) is. Meth use is mostly confined to illicit recreational abuse.
  • Adderall is typically taken orally in pill form. Meth may be swallowed, smoked, snorted, or injected.
  • Meth is much more powerful than Adderall. 
  • Meth use can lead to addiction much more quickly than Adderall use can.

Treatment Options for Adderall vs. Meth

One additional similarity between Adderall vs. meth is that an untreated addiction to either of these substances can be devastating, even deadly. Thankfully, both Adderall addiction and meth addiction are treatable conditions. With proper professional care, a person can escape the chains of compulsive Adderall or meth abuse and achieve successful recovery.

It is important to understand that there is no single course of treatment that works for everyone. Addiction impacts different people in different ways – and treatment should likewise be a unique experience.

Peachtree Recovery Solutions offers personalized care for Adderall and meth addiction at three outpatient levels:

  • Partial hospitalization program (PHP)
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
  • Outpatient treatment

Before a person begins to receive care for an addiction to Adderall or meth, we assess the full scope of their needs and identify the level or levels of care that are most appropriate for them. We also develop a customized plan to help them end their Adderall or meth use for good.

Within our various outpatient programs, a person may have the following elements included in their personalized addiction treatment plan:

  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Trauma therapy 
  • Red light therapy

Also, because a history of untreated trauma is common among adults who struggle with addiction, we also offer trauma therapy. Our team understands that attempting to treat an addiction without addressing underlying trauma can undermine a person’s ability to achieve and maintain long-term recovery.

Find Treatment for Adderall & Meth Addiction in Atlanta

If you or someone that you care about have been struggling with an addiction to Adderall, meth, or any other stimulants, please know that help is available. Peachtree Recovery Solutions in Atlanta, Georgia, is a safe and supportive place where you can receive customized care from compassionate professionals. We understand the many ways that Adderall and meth addiction can impact virtually every part of your your life, and we can provide you with the focused services that will prepare you for a drug-free future.

To learn more about treatment options for Adderall and meth addiction at Peachtree Recovery Solutions, or to schedule a free assessment for you or your loved one, please visit our admissions page or call us today.