Adderall is a helpful medication for people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It encourages focus, improves attention, and manages high energy levels. Adderall use in adults can be a positive, beneficial tool when used as prescribed. Its effects enable people with ADHD to function more effectively, manage daily tasks, and often improve their quality of life.

Unfortunately, some people also abuse Adderall for non-medical reasons. Common non-prescribed uses for the medication include studying, weight loss, or as a party drug. Unprescribed, Adderall use may lead to some serious consequences, including altered brain function, decreased emotional regulation, and effects on organ function.¹ For example, there is a harmful connection between Adderall and kidneys that few people are aware of.

What is Adderall?

Adderall is a brand-name amphetamine primarily used to treat individuals with ADHD. The medication helps with focus, attention, and energy regulation. However, the drug is a stimulant and has some effects similar to other stimulants, such as methamphetamine, when taken recreationally. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 3.7 million people misuse prescription stimulants every year.² Adderall use in adults without a prescription can cause some dangerous consequences.

Adderall and Kidneys: A Harmful Relationship?

Anyone using Adderall should be aware of the connection between Adderall and kidneys. Your kidneys are responsible for processing the substances you put into your body, including medications and recreational drugs. The kidneys play a major part in processing the drug, whether a person uses it as prescribed or as a recreational drug.

Kidney damage is unlikely to occur when using Adderall under the direction and supervision of a doctor. However, when someone regularly abuses Adderall, they force their kidneys to handle high levels of toxic chemicals. This ongoing exposure to heavy Adderall use may cause injury to the kidneys and could result in eventual failure.³

Proper Adderall Use

Adderall and kidneys are always connected when someone uses the medication. It doesn’t matter whether it’s prescribed or recreational; kidneys must take a part in processing the drug. The difference between prescribed and recreational use, though, is that prescribed use means a doctor monitors the medication’s effects on the kidneys. People who abuse Adderall are unlikely to check in with their primary care provider about how the drug is affecting their bodies.

Responsible, prescribed Adderall use is a life-changing treatment approach for some people. But prescribed Adderall use in adults includes ongoing bloodwork that observes organ function to ensure little or no damage occurs. If a doctor notices any disruption to regular kidney function, they will immediately seek alternative solutions.

Do you know someone who abuses Adderall? Are you concerned about the relationship between Adderall and kidneys, or other harmful effects of the drug? Substance abuse treatment programs like those at Steps to Recovery can provide people with the tools and coping skills needed to overcome drug addiction. If you’d like to learn more about our programs, please call us at 267.209.7312 or submit an online contact form to speak with an admissions specialist.



  1. Mayo Clinic. (2023). Dextroamphetamine and Amphetamine.
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2022). National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
  3. National Kidney Foundation. (2023). Which Drugs Are Harmful to Your Kidneys?