Adderall vs Meth: Understand Their Differences & Similarities

Adderall Withdrawal
What are Adderall Side Effects

It’s important to watch out for your loved ones if you suspect they have substance abuse disorder. It will be more common for people who are already receiving prescription drugs. Still, it can also occur in people who don’t have pre-existing medical conditions. This is why it’s necessary to be familiar with the different forms of addictive substances and how they can display warning symptoms of overuse.

Addictive substances can come in various shapes and forms, from legal prescription medication to illegally manufactured products. Although they can come from different roots, they have slight differences, from their appearances to how they affect the human body.

In this article, we’ll go over four sections that compare the similarities and differences between meth and Adderall.

Comparing addictive substances: Adderall vs Meth

It’s not uncommon for people to develop substance abuse disorder with prescription medication like Adderall. However, they can develop their urges and look for more potent and unregulated drugs like meth to feel their high.

  • What does meth look like?

Unlike the tablet form of Adderall, methamphetamine is sold in crystalline white powder form. It’s an odorless substance with a bitter taste, with a noticeable fast dissolution rate in water or alcohol. It’s a chemically synthesized drug that people with substance abuse disorder use to stimulate their body’s neurotransmitters. 

What does meth smell like
What does Meth Look Like

Although it’s more common to see it in powder form, crystal meth is a more distilled formulation similar in appearance to glass fragments. It’s usually identifiable with an opaque white or a bluish-white hue. However, other variations range from brown to yellow-gray or pink, depending on the manufacturing method. You can take meth by smoking, snorting, or injecting it into your system.

  • What does Adderall do?

Adderall is a brand name medication with similar base compounds from street-peddled meth. It’s a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine that doctors prescribe to patients who have ADHD or narcolepsy. It improves a patient’s attention span, which can also help in keeping a person awake. It’s available in immediate-release and extended-release tablets, depending on a patient’s prescription. People generally take it in capsule form in blue, orange, or white colors. Additionally, it may have a brand name printed on the capsule for better identification.

Differentiating the effects of Adderall and Meth

Although meth and Adderall have similar effects, they have slight differences that make them distinct from each other. With continued use, these develop into more severe states.

  • What are meth’s effects?

Although meth can have a soothing effect close to euphoria, a person can also experience inverted effects that can last long after the drug’s high. This leads to physical changes such as regular heartbeat, blood pressure, and body temperature, which can be the catalyst for various cardiovascular illnesses. Besides the physical implications, a person may also develop neurological complications ranging from loss of appetite to paranoia. These can even extend into anxiety and hostile behavior.

  • What are Adderall’s side effects?

As a prescriptive drug, Adderall is safe to use under the right dosages. This is why a patient under Adderall medication must consult with their physician to ensure any alterations in their prescription since the body develops natural drug resistance. A person using Adderall against the appropriate dosage can experience physical symptoms such as weakness, diarrhea, constipation, or vomiting. Additionally, a person may develop mental conditions such as hallucinations, speech problems, blurred vision, or nervousness.

Remember that Adderall and meth’s effects can induce physical and mental symptoms, which is why you need to be cautious about the potential warning signs a person may have. Long-term use of meth can lead to permanent neurological and organ damage, leading to severe conditions ranging from psychosis to death. On the other hand, overuse of Adderall can lead to depression, heart attacks, and death.

Understanding Meth and Adderall’s duration and traces

Every drug has a predetermined period of staying within your body’s system, making it traceable through drug tests. Keep in mind that the detection times below are only estimates since there are numerous factors to consider, such as age, body weight, frequency of use, etc., for expelling drugs from a person.

  • How long does meth stay in your system?: Meth is detectable at most until 7 days after the last dose by testing a person’s urine. The earliest a person can be free of meth detection is after 3 days through a saliva test.
  • How long does Adderall stay in your system? Adderall is detectable in the body for over 96 hours after the last dosage. However, hair tests can still find traces of it for up to 3 months since the previous use.

Drug testing can vary in detecting different substances and on the particular tests. The most common method is urine testing, but people can also get tested through blood, hair, and saliva samples. If you are suspicious about a person you know who could be abusing addictive substances, it’s best to ask for confirmation through drug testing. It will display what potential traces are present in their body and what kind of rehab recovery they should have. Additionally, the drug’s detection time can vary depending on the method of intake, whether through smoking, snorting, or injection.

Dealing with withdrawal for Meth vs Adderall

Once a person attempts to stop taking an addictive substance, they will display withdrawal symptoms specific to a particular drug. These usually manifest as the inverse effects of the drug. For example, meth’s euphoric effects can lead to anxiety-giving mental states. For this reason, patients need to regulate their dosages over time if their doctor opts to put them on another drug. The same applies to people using illegal substances to avoid outright quitting without any professional medical assistance.

  • What is meth withdrawal like?: Some notable withdrawal symptoms of meth withdrawal can lead to fatigue, agitation, increased appetite, loss of motivation, suicidal thoughts, and severe depression. Its physical identifiers can manifest in a person having fever, stomach aches, dehydration, or a particular reddening of eyes from uncontrollable itching.
Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms
How Long Does Adderall Last
  • What is Adderall withdrawal like?: Since Adderall’s prescriptive purpose is to provide alertness and overcome narcolepsy, its withdrawal symptoms can contribute to a person’s pre-existing condition. It leads to oversleeping, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, and irritability. However, the withdrawal period can also develop into severe cases through depression, fatigue, nightmares, and even suicidal thoughts.

People with substance abuse disorder will have a unique set of withdrawal symptoms, depending on how their body has been taking the drug. Additionally, if they indulge in polydrug use, they can develop increased withdrawal symptoms or a combination of other harmful side effects. This is why a person needs to get a diagnosis of their drug history to ensure that they receive the proper help for their collection of conditions.


Substance abuse disorder can occur in anyone, which is why it’s a dangerous condition. People from all walks of life can depend on addictive substances to find comfort or release from mental or physical pain. When approaching someone who you believe has this condition, it’s best to be supportive and open to providing help in any positive way. It’s important to tell these individuals that they can seek help from their social circles while also getting professional services to help them recover in their current state.