Can You Overdose on Adderall?

Taking too much Adderall could lead to overdose.

Jonathan Bielaski / Light Imaging/First Light / Getty Images Plus


What is the most important information I should know about Adderall overdose?

  • Taking too much Adderall can lead to a potentially life-threatening overdose. 
  • Always take your medication as directed and seek emergency treatment if you or someone you know experiences symptoms of an overdose.

Adderall is considered a schedule II controlled substance with a high potential for abuse. Can you overdose on Adderall? Yes, it's possible to overdose on Adderall (amphetamine-dextroamphetamine)—even accidentally—which can sometimes be lethal.

Overdose is just one potential side effect of ingesting too much Adderall. What's more, some people are more sensitive to stimulants than others, so the amount that could lead to an overdose varies from person to person.

What Dosage of Adderall Can Be Fatal?

Even a small amount of Adderall could be fatal. Deaths have been recorded with as low a dose as 1.5 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) of weight. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds (68 kilograms), a fatal dose of Adderall would be 102 mg.

An Adderall overdose involves excessive stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system, which activates the fight-or-flight response when there’s a sign of danger.

Depending on the person and their motives, an overdose may be intentional or accidental. It's also important to note that Adderall can be lethal to animals if ingested.

What's the Recommended Daily Dosage of Adderall?

The recommended daily dosage of Adderall for adults with ADHD or narcolepsy is 5 mg to 60 mg. Doctors typically begin with the smallest dose and then adjust as needed to achieve the greatest therapeutic effect with the least amount of side effects.

Symptoms of Adderall Overdose

Symptoms of Adderall overdose can range from mild to severe and include the following:

  • Confusion

  • Headaches

  • Hyperactivity

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Rapid breathing

  • Stomach pain

  • Hallucinations

  • Rhabdomyolysis (breakdown of muscles)

  • Tremors

  • Heart attack

  • Fever

  • Aggressiveness

  • Panic

  • Death

What You Should Do in the Event of Adderall Overdose

If you suspect that you or someone you know has overdosed on Adderall, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Be prepared to provide the following information to the emergency responders and/or doctor:

  • The person's age
  • How much Adderall was ingested (if known)
  • Other substances (alcohol or drugs) that may have also been taken
  • Any known allergies
  • Any history of substance misuse

Getting Emergency Help

If you are in the United States, call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 or call 911 right away if you or a loved one are in immediate danger.

How Does Adderall Interact With Other Drugs?

Adderall may interact with some medications, so it's important to talk to your doctor about any medications you're taking prior to taking Adderall. This includes vitamins, over-the-counter medications, and nutritional supplements as well as any prescriptions.

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), for example, can increase the effects of Adderall and increase the risk of overdose.

Common MAOIs include:

  • Nardil (phenelzine)
  • Marplan (isocarboxazid)
  • EmSam (selegiline)
  • Parnate (tranylcypromine)

Meanwhile, taking medications that inhibit CYP2D6 (an enzyme involved in drug metabolism) while taking Adderall can increase the risk of serious side effects.

Common CYP2D6 inhibitors include:

Other medications that can produce drug interactions when taken with Adderall include tricyclic antidepressants and other serotonergic medications such as SSRIs, SNRIs, St. John's wort, lithium, and tramadol.

Tell your doctor about any medications, supplements, or other substances you are currently taking before you begin taking Adderall.

Dependence and Addiction

Adderall can be addictive when it is taken at doses higher than prescribed. Misusing Adderall can be dangerous and produce various problems, including potentially hazardous side effects.

Adderall can be habit-forming and has the potential for misuse. When used in ways that are not intended, it can increase a person's risk of experiencing dependence, addiction, overdose, and other adverse effects.

Misuse of a prescription drug involves:

  • Taking medicine in a way or dose other than what is prescribed (such as crushing pills, snorting the powder, or dissolving the powder from a capsule into water and injecting the liquid into a vein).
  • Taking someone else’s prescription
  • Taking medicine to get high, rather than to reduce symptoms

Non-Medical Adderall Use Can Increase Likelihood of Overdose

Misuse of Adderall also increases the likelihood of an overdose as well as increases the risk of abuse. In fact, the misuse of Adderall is a growing problem.

A 2016 study published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that non-medical use of Adderall by adults rose by 67% and emergency department visits involving Adderall went up by 156% between 2006 and 2011.

Addiction to Adderall is characterized by continuing to take the substance despite adverse effects on a person's life. 

It is important to note that dependence differs from addiction. Dependence can occur after taking a medication for some time and involves experiencing withdrawal effects if you reduce the dose or stop taking the medication. Addiction, on the other hand, often involves taking increasingly larger amounts and feeling like you cannot function without the drug.

Chronic Adderall Misuse

Chronic misuse of Adderall may lead to symptoms such as:

  • Severe rash
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Personality changes

Adderall misuse can also influence the effects of alcohol. Because the stimulant effects of Adderall can counteract the depressant effects of alcohol, people often feel less intoxicated than they really are. As a result, they may drink more than they normally would. This can lead to serious impairments, increase the risk of accidents, or even lead to death due to alcohol poisoning.

Treatment for Adderall Overdose

Treatment for an overdose may involve administering activated charcoal to help absorb the medication. You also may need to get your stomach pumped. In the case of serotonin syndrome, you may be given medication to block serotonin.

If a person is addicted to Adderall, some treatments can help. Commonly used approaches include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and contingency management. 

  • CBT helps people change the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to drug misuse. It also helps people develop coping strategies to manage stress and drug use triggers. 
  • Contingency management is a behavioral strategy that utilizes incentives to increase people's motivation to stop using substances.

Preventing Adderall Overdose

There are steps you can take to prevent yourself or someone you love from overdosing on Adderall, including:

  • Never take more than your prescribed dose
  • Never let someone else take your medication
  • Never take anyone else’s prescription medication
  • Do not take a larger dose without consulting with your doctor
  • Never take a second dose if you think you missed your first dose
  • Take your medication at the same time each day

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11 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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Additional Reading

By Amy Morin, LCSW
Amy Morin, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and international bestselling author. Her books, including "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," have been translated into more than 40 languages. Her TEDx talk,  "The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong," is one of the most viewed talks of all time.