The Common Traits And Differences of Cocaine and Adderall

A Perception many drug users have is that cocaine and Adderall are the same things, or there is some cocaine in Adderall. First, Adderall and cocaine are two very different substances, however, they share some similarities. Adderall is a prescription drug but cocaine is an illicit drug though, at times, it may be used for medical purposes. Again, cocaine and Adderall are stimulant drugs that act on the nervous system. They act on an individual’s brain to heighten the synaptic activity. A person using these drugs may experience increased energy, a sense of well-being, and increased focus.

Both drugs induce a feeling of euphoria meaning they can be abused resulting in dependence and addiction. That being said, there are also differences in Adderall and cocaine, especially in the way they behave in the body and how they affect the body. Differences may also be witnessed in the time it takes for each drug to be eliminated by the body and the long-term effects. When these substances are abused, the chemical dependence they induce can be very dangerous. It’s common these days to find young people addicted to cocaine and Adderall.

What’s Cocaine?

Cocaine, also given other names as “blow,” “powder,” “snow,” “C”, or “coke” is a powerfully addictive stimulant substance that is obtained from coca leaves (Erythroxylon coca.) Cocaine isn’t a new drug, it’s actually among the oldest psychoactive substances. In fact, people have chewed and ingested the leaves for thousands of years. Cocaine hydrochloride, the purified form of the substance has been used and abused for more than 100 years. For example, in the early 1900s, one of the main active ingredients in products like elixirs and tonics used to treat different kinds of illnesses was purified cocaine.

Street dealers may “cut” or dilute cocaine with other substance like flour, cornstarch, talcum powder, or baking soda. It is also possible for the dealers to adulterate cocaine with substances like procaine or amphetamine. Procaine is a local anesthetic agent while amphetamine is a psychoactive stimulant. Users may take cocaine along with drugs like heroin to help achieve a “high” fast or get an intense “high.”

How Does The Cocaine “High” Work?

Taking cocaine changes the way you think and your emotional feelings. A cocaine “high” presents with the euphoric feeling that is considered so pleasurable that individuals can actually get hooked on after having their first use. An individual’s brain is tricked by cocaine making a person think that they have made a huge accomplishment. Again, the substance makes a person be so self-confident that they feel that they are immortal. The euphoric feelings may manifest in the form of:

  • Feeling supreme
  • Having increased alertness and energy
  • Having an elevated mood

Users find that the “high” is very short-lived but because of the euphoria, they want to get more. Using cocaine brings about negative side effects that include irritability, anxiety, and being restless.

What Are The Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms?

The symptoms caused by stopping the use of cocaine may include:

  • Inability to concentrate
  • Having extreme fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Body tremors, aches, chills, and pain
  • Lack of pleasure
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Agitation
  • Muscle tremors
  • Ravenous hunger
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches

What’s Adderall?

Adderall is a combination drug made up of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, and it’s used to treat conditions such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders, commonly referred to as ADHD. It may also be used in treating sleeping disorders like narcolepsy to help the patient to remain awake during the daytime. Adderall is a CNS stimulant meaning it affects natural substances in an individual’s brain.

How Does Adderall Work?

Being a stimulant, it stops the reabsorption of brain neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. The brain is flooded with these natural chemical substances meaning there is increased activity in the brain. A person using Adderall will have increased feelings of energy along with alertness and focus. There is a moderate sense of wellbeing.

Adderall may also work by entering the areas of the brain responsible for releasing the neurotransmitters causing them to produce more of such brain chemicals. The drug tends to have equal preference for norepinephrine and dopamine, but lesser action on the brain chemical known as serotonin. This means that a person will have increased activity on the pleasure and reward mechanisms in their mind as well as being alert but since there is no much activity on serotonin, the person may still remain awake when on the drug.

How Long Does Adderall Effects Last?

Available in short and long-acting versions, Adderall lasts differently in the body. The short-acting formula may remain active in the body for about 4 to 6 hours and the long-acting form stays for about 8 to 12 hours. So, a person using Adderall will have a mild “high” that lasts longer. Its elimination from the body may take about 3 days so the withdrawal symptoms may also last longer.

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Adderall Side Effects

People who abuse or take Adderall, not as prescribed, may develop euphoria similar to that of cocaine. Side effects include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Increased alertness
  • Elevated mood
  • Increased drug craving

A person addicted to Adderall shows symptoms such as dry mouth, tremors, restlessness, headache, hallucinations, and difficulty sleeping. A person may also have a fast heartbeat, anxiety, panic attacks, and hyperventilation. These symptoms may also be experienced by an individual who overdoses on the drug.

With prolonged use of Adderall, a person may have their dopamine receptors damaged making it harder to feel pleasure according to a report by the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET). When this happens, the individual develops a heightened craving for Adderall thus creating a self-sustaining cycle and eventually an addiction.

In 2012, about 16 million amphetamine prescriptions including Adderall were given to patients, a figure that is three times more than the prescriptions done in 2008. It’s also estimated that over 116,000 rehab admissions were specifically for amphetamine abusers in 2012.

Addictive stimulants may cause terrible side effects including addiction. Contact Elite Rehab Placement to find out how you can start the journey to winning the war against Cocaine or Adderall addiction.

Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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