While different types of addictive substances may act on the brain and body in different ways, some of the more powerful drugs produce comparable results regardless of their drug class. Adderall and heroin are two such drugs.
As a prescription stimulant, Adderall produces effects opposite to those of heroin, a depressant-type drug. Adderall is also a legal drug, whereas heroin is not.
When Adderall abuse practices take shape, the same mechanisms that drive heroin abuse and addiction come into play. In spite of the range of differences between these two drugs, over time, Adderall abuse and heroin abuse take users down the same path.
Addictive drugs all have the ability to alter the brain’s chemical pathways over time. In the process, the cells that produce neurotransmitter materials take on damage.
When this happens, a person must ingest more of the drug to experience the expected “high” effects. According to Dartmouth College, the brain’s tolerance for the drug has increased.
These developments occur at an even faster rate with powerful drugs like Adderall and heroin. Like heroin, ongoing Adderall abuse will eventually drive users to ingest increasingly larger amounts over time.
For the more powerful drugs, brain tolerance levels increase at a rapid rate. Before long, users must engage in bingeing behaviors in order to get “high.”
In this respect, Adderall abuse can be even worse than regular heroin use. As with most all amphetamine drugs, Adderall abuse essentially eats away at brain cell structures, weakening the brain’s sensitivity to the drug.
While heroin abuse can cause tolerance levels to rise quickly, Adderall’s damaging effects exceed that of heroin.
Sooner or later, Adderall abuse practices will disrupt brain functioning to the point where addiction takes hold.
According to Shepherd University, Adderall forces the brain to produce and maintain high levels of dopamine, which accounts for much of the drug’s “high” effect. Dopamine plays a critical role in regulating the reward system, an area that ultimately shapes a person’s motivations, priorities and behaviors.
Adderall addiction develops as the reward system becomes dependent on Adderall’s effects. When this happens, a person loses the ability to control his or her drug intake. Heroin abuse produces these same effects.
The overall effect of compulsive heroin and Adderall abuse works to destabilize the brain’s chemical environment to the point where widespread chemical imbalances take over. As these imbalances worsen, a person’s psychological well-being starts to show signs of decline.
With chronic, long-term drug abuse, both drugs can cause severe psychological disorders to develop, such as depression, panic attacks and even bipolar disorder. Before long, the effects of mental illness start to aggravate drug-using behaviors, which only makes an addiction problem that much harder to manage.