Snorting Adderall: Side Effects, Health Risks, and Symptoms of Withdrawal

Snorting Adderall, or taking the drug intranasally, means crushing the pills and inhaling them through your nose. People sometimes snort Adderall because it takes effect more quickly[1] than if you ingest a pill as it enters your bloodstream directly.

However, snorting Adderall can seriously affect your health, safety, and legal standing. If you become dependent on Adderall and then stop using it, you may experience:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Weight gain
  • Changes in your mood or in your ability to think clearly

What is Adderall? What does it treat, and how is it usually taken?

Adderall is a prescription stimulant that contains amphetamine and dextroamphetamine prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as well as narcolepsy, which is a sleep disorder.[2] When used as prescribed, Adderall is taken as a pill or tablet in either extended-release or immediate-release at various strength formulations.

Common street names for amphetamines include addies or addys, A-train, beans, black beauties, blue pill, copilot, pep pills, speed, smarties, smart pills, study buddies, uppers, and zing.

How Does Adderall Affect You?

While it’s not entirely known exactly how Adderall works in your body, it’s thought to block the reuptake processes involving norepinephrine and dopamine.[3] If you have ADHD, Adderall will address the chemical imbalances in your brain to make you feel more alert, energetic, and focused. You may be more able to complete tasks and control your impulses.

If you have narcolepsy, Adderall will also address the chemical imbalances that cause this condition and help you feel more alert and less sleepy during the day. If you don’t have either ADHD or narcolepsy, you won’t get any therapeutic benefits from Adderall besides the stimulant effects, such as feeling wide awake, euphoric, less hungry than usual, and alert.

Whether this will help you focus and study or complete tasks, however, is not at all guaranteed. You may experience your mind racing or feel anxious, irritable, agitated, restless, or extra talkative. Your heart rate and blood pressure may shoot up, which can be dangerous for your health.

Why Would Someone Snort Adderall?

In recent years, it’s been popular among college students, in particular, to use Adderall, even if they don’t have ADHD or narcolepsy. Popular belief holds that Adderall helps anyone be more focused and helps them stay up later to study and complete their college tasks. However, in at least one study, Adderall was shown to have very little effect on cognitive functions such as attention, decision-making, learning, memory, perception, problem-solving, and thinking in otherwise healthy students who didn’t have ADHD or narcolepsy.[4]

Students and other users are more prone to snort Adderall because it takes effect faster.[5] Others may use Adderall illicitly and snort it for faster effect as a means to weight loss as it tends to suppress appetite.

What Are The Side Effects Of Snorting Adderall?

Side Effects Of Snorting Adderall

Most side effects of snorting Adderall are similar to those when taking it in pill form. Damage to nasal tissues can result in chronic nasal congestion, sinus infections, frequent nosebleeds, and nasal septum issues.

You may be at higher risk of overdose, and the reason for this is two-fold. One, because snorting Adderall delivers the drug faster into your bloodstream, you may experience intensified effects that can overwhelm your system.. You may get more of an effect than you bargained for. Your heart rate and blood pressure zoom up, creating a risk of heart attack and seizures that could be fatal.

Two, often in a situation where snorting Adderall, care is not taken in regards to the dose and whether it is extended or immediate release. Snorting Adderall bypasses the extended-release mechanism, delivering the entire dose to your body at once.

Additionally, you may experience a rapid, intense onset of effects when snorting Adderall as opposed to orally. Likewise, you’ll crash and possibly experience pronounced withdrawal symptoms from it more quickly and intensely.

Due to the intensity of the effects, you may also be at greater risk of dependence and addiction. There is the potential to experience more concerning long-term effects due to chronic snorting.

Chronic use of Adderall can diminish the ability to experience pleasure. Long-term chronic use can damage how dopamine, the “reward” brain chemical, acts in your brain.[6] If this system is permanently altered, it can mean you will have difficulty enjoying life’s pleasures going forward.

Cardiovascular stress can result when you snort Adderall. Your blood pressure and heart rate spike, and if you continue to use it for an extended period, the strain can compromise your heart and your cardiovascular system.

In addition to the side effects listed, snorting Adderall may cause you to experience the common side effects of Adderall more intensely, including:

  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Dry Mouth
  • Feeling restless/nervous
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Low appetite
  • Mood, emotional changes
  • Nausea
  • Stomach upset
  • Sweating more than usual

What side effects of snorting Adderall require emergency medical attention?

Call for medical help immediately if you notice these symptoms:

  • Chest pain
  • Coma
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Disorientation
  • Extreme sweating
  • Mania
  • Seizures
  • Verbal tics
  • Motor tics
  • Suicidal or severely depressive thoughts
  • Possible psychosis, including hallucinations, delusions, disconnection from reality, inappropriate emotional responses, inability to organize thoughts, lack of movement, catatonic, repetitive movements, extreme agitation, and unusual postures.

Health Risks of Snorting Adderall

  • Risk of Fatal Overdose: The most serious consequence of snorting Adderall is an overdose that proves fatal. Remember: snorting Adderall is more likely to result in an overdose.
  • Risk of Addiction or Dependence: Snorting Adderall is more likely to lead to addiction or dependence on the drug.[7]
  • Risk of Serious Medical Issues: The list of side effects that call for emergency medical attention presents the highest risks of serious medical issues.
  • Risk of Life Disruption from Common Side Effects: The side effects listed detail the range of other health risks. Any of these can disrupt your ability to go about your daily activities. For example, if you’re having frequent nosebleeds, a sinus infection, or you’re chronically constipated, you’re unlikely to be able to perform at work or school.

What Are The Safety Risks Of Snorting Adderall?

Acquiring Adderall without a prescription can compromise your safety as it may put you in situations with unsavory people, and you risk ingesting a counterfeit drug contaminated with potentially deadly substances.

What Are The Legal Risks Of Snorting Adderall?

Adderall is a Schedule II controlled substance with a high potential for abuse. Should you be arrested for prescription fraud or illegal use of Adderall, you could enter the criminal justice system, which can impact the rest of your life.

How Do You Know If Someone Is Addicted To Adderall?

Identifying early signs of addiction to Adderall can be tricky. After all, the intention when taking the drug is to be alert, focused, and productive. If you are preoccupied with Adderall or are unable to perform daily activities without using Adderall, that’s a problem.

If you regularly run out of prescription Adderall before you’re eligible for a refill, that’s another sign of overuse that leads to dependence.

Other signs of Adderall addiction or dependence include:

  • Acting impulsively
  • Anxiety
  • A sense of being disoriented
  • Being unusually agitated or aggressive
  • Chronic constipation
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Not having an appetite
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Sexual dysfunction, including impotence
  • Socially isolating
  • Talking almost nonstop
  • Talking rapidly
  • Unusual excitability
  • Insomnia or disrupted sleep pattern

What Are Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms?

Someone who’s dependent on Adderall may experience these symptoms when they stop using it. Depression, agitation, anxiety, disrupted sleep, mental fog, confusion, extreme fatigue, increased appetite, and associated weight gain.

Substance Use Disorder Treatment

If you suspect that you’re addicted to Adderall, know that the disorder is treatable with professional help. Behavioral therapy and medication-assisted treatment can smooth the road to recovery.

Get Help For Adderall Abuse

Recovery Unplugged has recovery professionals experienced in treating Adderall use disorder. Give us a call and find out about our unique music-supported approach to therapy.

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[1] Lile,J.; Babalonis,S; Emurian,C; Martin,C; Wermeling,D; Kelly, T. NIH, National Library of Medicine: Comparison of the behavioral and cardiovascular effects of intranasal and oral d-amphetamine in healthy human subjects (2013 Jun 17) Retrieved from 

[2]  Martin, D,  Le, J. NIH: National Library of Medicine: Amphetamine (2022 August 1) Retrieved from 

[3]  Food and Drug Administration (FDA): ADDERALL® (CII)  (2007 March) Retrieved from 

[4]  Weyandt,L; White,T;  Gudmundsdottir, B; Nitenson, A; Rathkey,E; De Leon,K; Bjorn, S; NIH, National Library of Medicine: Neurocognitive, Autonomic, and Mood Effects of Adderall: A Pilot Study of Healthy College Students; Retrieved from 

[5][7]  Lile,J.; Babalonis,S; Emurian,C; Martin,C; Wermeling,D; Kelly, T. NIH, National Library of Medicine: Comparison of the behavioral and cardiovascular effects of intranasal and oral d-amphetamine in healthy human subjects (2013 Jun 17) Retrieved from 

[6] Martin, D,  Le, J. NIH: National Library of Medicine: Amphetamine (2022 August 1) Retrieved from