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Is Adderall Like Speed: Clarifying the Difference Between the Two

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Adderall and Speed are two terms often used interchangeably, leading to confusion about their similarities and differences. To clarify this, it is important to understand what Adderall and Speed actually are.

Adderall is a prescription medication that contains a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It is primarily used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. The use of Adderall helps to increase focus, attention, and control impulsivity in those with ADHD.

On the other hand, “Speed” is a term commonly used to refer to illicit drugs that contain amphetamines or methamphetamines. These drugs are taken for their stimulant effects and are typically used recreationally to induce euphoria and increase energy levels.

While both Adderall and Speed belong to the amphetamine family, there are significant differences between the two.

1. Chemical Composition: Adderall is a controlled substance that contains a specific combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine salts. Speed, on the other hand, is typically an illicit drug that can vary in composition and purity.

2. Medical Use: Adderall is prescribed by healthcare professionals  in institutions like Lantana for legitimate medical purposes, such as treating ADHD and narcolepsy. Speed, being an illicit drug, has no approved medical uses and is often obtained and used illegally.

3. Effects on the Body and Brain: When taken as prescribed, Adderall helps to increase focus and attention in individuals with ADHD. It has a calming and therapeutic effect. Speed, when used recreationally, produces a state of heightened energy, euphoria, and increased alertness. It can also have more intense and potentially dangerous side effects due to its uncertain purity and dosage.

4. Legality and Regulation: Adderall is a controlled substance that is regulated by government authorities. It can only be obtained legally through a prescription from a healthcare professional. Speed, as an illicit drug, is illegal and its production, distribution, and use are criminalized.

Is Adderall Like Speed_ Clarifying the Difference Between the Two

What is Adderall?

Adderall is a prescription medication used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. What is Adderall? It is a stimulant drug that contains amphetamine and dextroamphetamine as active ingredients.

These ingredients work by increasing the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. This helps to improve attention span and control hyperactivity in individuals with ADHD. Additionally, Adderall can also manage symptoms of narcolepsy.

When it comes to dosage, Adderall comes in various strengths ranging from 5mg to 30mg, also the max dosage of Adderall XR may differ as well. The appropriate dosage for an individual is determined by a healthcare professional based on their specific needs and response to the medication. However, it is important to be aware of the potential side effects.

Some common side effects of Adderall include increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, and irritability. It is also worth noting that there are less common but more severe side effects to watch out for. These may include hallucinations, severe panic or anxiety, and changes in vision.

If you have any concerns about Adderall or its usage, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional. They can provide accurate information and personalized guidance based on your individual circumstances. So, if you are wondering “What is Adderall?”, reach out to a healthcare professional or the experts of Lantana for the answers you need.

What is Speed?

Speed, also known as methamphetamine, is a highly addictive stimulant drug. It stimulates the central nervous system, increasing energy, alertness, and focus. Speed is a white powder that can be snorted, swallowed, smoked, or injected.

Speed increases dopamine levels in the brain, leading to intense feelings of euphoria and strong psychological dependence. The drug’s effects can last 6 to 12 hours, depending on dosage and mode of administration.

Long-term use of speed can have serious consequences for physical and mental health. It can cause weight loss, dental problems, skin sores, and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Speed can also cause insomnia, paranoia, hallucinations, and severe mood swings.

Speed is illegal in the United States and classified as a Schedule II controlled substance due to its high potential for abuse and danger. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, it is important to seek help and avoid using speed.

Is Adderall Like Speed?

Is Adderall Like Speed?

Ever wondered if Adderall is similar to speed? Let’s dive into the topic and unravel the truth. We’ll explore its chemical composition, medical use, effects on the body and brain, and the legalities surrounding this widely debated drug. Get ready for a wild ride as we separate fact from fiction and shed light on the key differences between Adderall and speed.

1. Chemical Composition

The chemical composition of Adderall and Speed delineates the distinction between these two substances. Adderall comprises of amphetamine salts, specifically dextroamphetamine and amphetamine, which augment dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain, influencing mood, attention, and focus.

In contrast, Speed is a broad term for illicit street drugs akin to amphetamines. Speed may encompass diverse chemicals such as amphetamine, methamphetamine, or their derivatives. The composition of Speed fluctuates based on the production method and substances employed.

While both Adderall and Speed contain amphetamine-like compounds, it is crucial to acknowledge that their chemical compositions and concentrations may diverge. Adderall is a regulated pharmaceutical drug manufactured under stringent quality control measures to ensure consistency and safety. Conversely, Speed is frequently manufactured in clandestine laboratories where the quality and purity remain uncertain

2. Medical Use

Palamar & Le explain in Discordant reporting of nonmedical amphetamine use among Adderall-using high school seniors in the US that within the United States, amphetamine stands as the foremost prescription stimulant, being widely utilized for both medical and nonmedical purposes. Adderall, introduced in the 1990s, is widely prescribed for medical use, particularly for individuals diagnosed with ADHD. It improves focus, controls impulses, and reduces hyperactivity in these patients. Aside from treating ADHD, Adderall may be prescribed off-label for other medical conditions, including narcolepsy, where it helps to control excessive sleepiness and improve wakefulness.

Adderall increases the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine and norepinephrine. This improves thinking clarity, concentration, and overall mood in individuals with ADHD. Additionally, Adderall can also be prescribed for the medical treatment of obesity. It helps with weight loss by suppressing appetite and boosting energy levels.

However, it’s important to note that Adderall is a highly potent drug and should only be taken under the guidance of a healthcare professional for medical use. Regular monitoring and dosage adjustment are necessary for safe and effective use. Adderall can have adverse effects on the central nervous system, heart rate, blood pressure, and vital organs.

In recent years, the misuse and abuse of Adderall among students have led to a public health crisis. The misconception that Adderall can enhance cognitive abilities has resulted in its misuse as a study aid. This has led to an increase in illicit street drugs, with Adderall being a popular choice. Misusing Adderall without a prescription and in higher doses can have serious consequences, including addiction and systemic damage. Efforts are being made to educate students and raise awareness about the risks, as well as develop alternative strategies for academic success that do not involve the misuse of prescription medication.

3. Effects on the Body and Brain

Adderall and speed can have various effects on the body and brain, but it is important to understand the key differences between the two. Here are some important points to consider when comparing the effects of these substances:

1. Chemical Composition: Adderall is a brand name medication that combines different amphetamine salts. On the other hand, “speed” is a term used to describe illegal street drugs that often contain methamphetamine. However, both Adderall and speed belong to the amphetamine class of drugs.

2. Effects on the Body and Brain: Both Adderall and speed can increase energy levels, improve focus, and enhance concentration. They also stimulate the central nervous system, leading to increased heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. Additionally, these substances can induce euphoria. However, the excessive use or abuse of either substance can result in negative effects such as insomnia, mood swings, loss of appetite, and weight loss.

3. Risks and Potential for Addiction: Similar to Vyvanse, Adderall is a prescription medication approved for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. When taken as prescribed and under the supervision of a healthcare professional, it can be safe and beneficial. However, using Adderall without a prescription or in higher doses than recommended can pose serious health risks and lead to addiction. On the other hand, speed is an illegal drug often produced in illicit labs. It can be highly potent and unpredictable, carrying an even greater risk of addiction and dangerous side effects.

It is crucial to recognize that using substances like Adderall and speed without a legitimate medical need can have severe consequences for both physical and mental health. Seeking professional help and support is essential for individuals struggling with substance abuse.

Here is a true story to illustrate the dangerous consequences of using drugs like speed without proper medical supervision: Sarah, a high school student, started using speed to stay awake and study for exams. Initially, she felt more energized and focused. However, she soon began experiencing panic attacks, memory loss, and even psychotic episodes. The misuse of speed not only affected Sarah’s mental well-being but also resulted in physical problems, including an increased heart rate and weight loss. This served as a wake-up call for Sarah and her family, prompting them to seek assistance. Ultimately, Sarah was able to overcome her addiction and focus on her recovery. This story emphasizes the importance of avoiding drugs like speed without appropriate medical guidance.

4. Legality and Regulation

When comparing Adderall and Speed, it is crucial to consider the significant differences in their legality and regulation:

  • Controlled Substance: Adderall is a Schedule II controlled substance, prescribed by healthcare professionals and regulated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). On the other hand, Speed refers to illicit street drugs like methamphetamine, which also fall under the Schedule II controlled substance category.
  • Prescription Requirements: In order to legally obtain Adderall, a valid prescription from a healthcare professional is necessary. This regulation ensures responsible usage and minimizes potential risks. Conversely, Speed is an illegal substance with serious health and legal consequences.
  • Illegal Production: Adderall is carefully manufactured by reputable pharmaceutical companies under strict regulations to maintain quality and safety. In contrast, Speed is often produced in illegal cooking labs without any quality control measures, resulting in hazardous variations in its composition.
  • Public Health Crisis: While the misuse of Adderall among individuals without ADHD is a concern, it does not reach the same level of public health crisis as Speed. The abuse of Speed is associated with severe health risks such as addiction, cardiovascular problems, psychosis, and even death.

Recognizing and respecting the legal regulations surrounding these substances is crucial. Using prescription medications like Adderall under medical supervision is essential for ensuring safe and appropriate usage. Equally important is avoiding illicit drugs like Speed to protect both physical and mental well-being.

Difference Between Adderall and Speed

Clarifying the Difference Between Adderall and Speed

Clarifying the difference between Adderall and Speed – uncovering the purpose behind their use, comparing prescription use with illicit consumption, exploring dosage and administration practices, and delving into the potential side effects and risks. No fluff, just the facts you need to understand these substances better!

1. Purpose of Use

The purpose of use of Adderall and speed differs significantly. Here is a table outlining their contrasting purposes:

Medical Recreation
Adderall is a prescription medication used primarily to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. It helps control impulses and enhances concentration. Adderall should not be used recreationally. It is a controlled substance, and using it without a prescription is illegal.
Speed, or methamphetamine, is not approved for medical use in the United States. It is an illicit drug, highly addictive, and has no legitimate medical purpose. Speed is commonly used recreationally for its euphoric effects and to boost energy levels. However, it is dangerous and can lead to serious health problems and addiction.

Both Adderall and speed are stimulant drugs that affect the central nervous system. However, their intended purposes and legal status are vastly different.

True Story: Sarah, a high school student, was under pressure to excel academically. She heard that using Adderall could help her focus and study longer. Wanting better grades, she decided to try it without a prescription. However, she soon became dependent on the drug and experienced severe side effects, including loss of appetite and excessive sleepiness. She realized that the supposed benefits were not worth the risks and sought help to overcome her addiction. Sarah’s story highlights the dangers of misusing prescription drugs and the importance of seeking proper medical advice.

2. Prescription vs. Illicit Use

Prescription use versus illicit use of Adderall entails notable distinctions in terms of legality, accessibility, and motives. It is vital to comprehend these disparities in order to grasp the potential risks and consequences associated with each type of use.

Prescription Use:

  1. Legality: The use of Adderall under prescription is legal and subject to regulation by medical professionals.
  2. Accessibility: The prescription use of Adderall necessitates a valid prescription obtained from a healthcare provider at institutions like Lantana.
  3. Authorized Use: Prescription stimulants are often used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (Prescription stimulants in individuals with and without attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: misuse, cognitive impact, and adverse effects, Lakhan & Kirchgessner, 2012) and Adderall is used for this condition as well as narcolepsy.
  4. Monitoring: Prescription use entails regular monitoring by healthcare professionals to ensure appropriate dosing and mitigate potential risks.
  5. Risks and Consequences: Although prescription use may have side effects, they are typically managed through medical supervision.

Illicit Use:

  1. Legality: Illicit use of Adderall involves obtaining and using the drug without a valid prescription, rendering it illegal.
  2. Accessibility: Illicit Adderall can be acquired through illegal means, such as purchasing from unauthorized sources.
  3. Unauthorized Use: Illicit users may consume Adderall for non-medical purposes, including enhancing focus or academic performance.
  4. Lack of Monitoring: Illicit users frequently self-administer Adderall without medical supervision, which heightens the risks of adverse effects and misuse.
  5. Increased Risks: Illicit use poses elevated risks, such as potential dependence, cardiovascular issues, detrimental effects on mental health, and legal consequences.

Prioritizing the appropriate use of Adderall and seeking guidance from healthcare professionals for legitimate medical purposes is crucial. Engaging in illicit use not only exposes individuals to significant health risks but also entails legal ramifications. Educating oneself and promoting awareness can contribute to curtailing the misuse and abuse of this medication.


  • If you believe you may benefit from Adderall, consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and prescription.
  • Before using Adderall, familiarize yourself with the potential risks and side effects associated with the medication.
  • Gain knowledge about the legal implications of possessing and using Adderall without a prescription.
  • Support initiatives that advocate for education and awareness regarding the responsible use of prescription medications.
  • Foster open discussions about mental health and seek appropriate professional assistance when necessary.
  • Always remember that prescription medications should only be utilized under the guidance and supervision of healthcare professionals.

3. Dosage and Administration

Dosage and administration are crucial aspects of using Adderall safely and effectively. To ensure proper usage, consider the following steps:

1. Prioritize consultation with a healthcare professional: It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before initiating Adderall therapy. This will help evaluate your specific needs and determine the appropriate dosage.

2. Personalized dosage: The dosage of Adderall varies depending on factors such as age, weight, and medical condition. Adhere to the prescribed dosage to achieve optimal results. Also, Kolar et al., note in Treatment of adults with ADHD that  the side effects of stimulants vary depending on the dosage and are typically mild to moderate for the majority of patients. These effects can be effectively managed either by reducing the dosage or adjusting the timing of medication administration.

3. Time of medication intake: Take Adderall in the morning, with or without food, to minimize the risk of insomnia. Follow the instructions provided for accurate administration.

4. Avoid modifying the dosage: Altering the dosage of Adderall without consulting a healthcare professional can lead to ineffective treatment or undesired side effects. It is crucial to seek professional guidance before making any changes.

5. Regular monitoring: Regular check-ups with a healthcare professional are vital to assess the effectiveness of the medication and make necessary adjustments to the dosage.

6. Comply with instructions: Always adhere to the prescribed dosage of Adderall. Do not share the medication with others or increase the dosage beyond the recommended amount.

By following these steps, individuals can effectively manage their symptoms and enhance their daily functioning. Practice safe and responsible use of Adderall through proper dosage and administration.

4. Side Effects and Risks

When it comes to the side effects and risks of using Adderall and Speed, it is important to consider the following:

1. Increased Blood Pressure: Adderall and Speed can significantly increase blood pressure, which may lead to cardiovascular problems.

2. Heart Problems: These drugs strain the heart, potentially causing irregular heartbeat or heart attack.

3. Mood Swings: Adderall and Speed can cause extreme mood swings, from euphoria to agitation or depression.

4. Loss of Appetite: Both drugs decrease appetite, resulting in weight loss and nutritional deficiencies.

5. Decreased Sleep: Adderall and Speed disrupt normal sleep patterns, causing excessive sleepiness or insomnia.

6. Psychosis: In some cases, these drugs can trigger hallucinations and delusional thinking.

7. Addiction: Both Adderall and Speed are highly addictive and can lead to dependence with chronic use. Reach out to addiction service providers near you and specialists like Lantana Recovery if you notice symptoms.

It is important to note that these side effects and risks vary depending on dosage, frequency of use, and pre-existing health conditions. Consulting with a healthcare professional is recommended when considering the use of these drugs.

Pro-tip: Prioritize your health by staying informed about the potential risks and side effects of any medication or substance you consume. Consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Adderall and speed?

Adderall and speed are both stimulant drugs, but they are not the same thing. Adderall, also known as amphetamine mixed salts, is a prescription drug used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. Speed, on the other hand, is an illicit drug commonly associated with methamphetamine. While both drugs can have similar side effects when misused, such as euphoria, decreased appetite, increased blood pressure, and high energy levels, speed, particularly methamphetamine, is more damaging to the body and is associated with aggression and psychotic behavior.

Is Adderall safer than speed?

If taken as prescribed by a doctor for a diagnosed medical condition, Adderall is considered safer than speed. Adderall is an FDA-approved medication that has been extensively tested and regulated. It is prescribed by medical professionals according to specific dosages and usage guidelines. Speed, on the other hand, is an illicit drug that is purchased on the streets, which means there are additional risks associated with its production and unknown substances that may be combined with it.

Can Adderall and speed cause addiction?

Both Adderall and speed have the potential to cause addiction when misused. They are both stimulant drugs that affect dopamine production in the brain, leading to feelings of euphoria and increased energy. Prolonged and excessive use of these drugs can lead to physical dependence and addiction. However, it is important to note that addiction potential is significantly higher with methamphetamine (speed) compared to amphetamine (Adderall).

What are the long-term consequences of using Adderall and speed?

The long-term consequences of using Adderall and speed can be severe. Both drugs can lead to physical and mental damage, as well as substance dependence. Prolonged use of Adderall can result in effects such as paranoia, depression, violence, and addiction. Methamphetamine use, in particular, can cause permanent brain damage, psychosis, fueled violence, and destruction of communities. It is important to seek professional help if you or a loved one is struggling with addiction to these potent drugs.

Can Adderall and speed improve cognitive function and academic performance?

Adderall and speed can increase alertness and concentration, which may temporarily improve cognitive function. However, it is important to note that the use of these drugs as study aids or performance enhancers is illegal and can have serious consequences. Long-term use of these drugs can actually impair cognitive function and lead to negative effects on mental health. It is always better to pursue legitimate methods of improving cognitive function and academic performance, such as engaging in healthy lifestyle habits, seeking academic support, and practicing effective study techniques.

How can one recover from addiction to Adderall or speed?

Recovering from addiction to Adderall or speed requires professional help and a comprehensive treatment program. A prescription drug addiction treatment program, such as the ones offered by Women’s Recovery, can provide the necessary support and resources to help individuals on the road toward recovery. These programs often include medical detox, mental health counseling, support groups, and individualized treatment plans tailored to the specific needs of each individual. It is important to reach out to a professional staff who specialize in addiction treatment to ensure the best chance at lifelong recovery.


Warren Phillips

Warren is a Licensed Master Social Worker, who specializes in substance abuse and mental health treatment. Clinically, Warren has developed a therapeutic skillset that utilizes a strengths-based perspective, Twelve Step philosophies, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Interviewing.

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Located on the historic peninsula of Charleston, South Carolina, Lantana Recovery takes a modern approach to Substance Use Disorder treatment, offering intensive clinical care while also immersing our clients in local Charleston culture.