What Adderall Really Does to Your Brain — in One Stunning Video

What Adderall Really Does to Your Brain — in One Stunning Video
Source: Getty
Source: Getty

In the United States, few medicines get as much attention as Adderall.

The drug is well-known as a treatment for millions living with ADHD, and as a widely used study aid for untold numbers of students looking for an edge on their exams, whether or not they have diagnosed condition. But for those who have wondered what exactly Adderall is, and how taking a stimulant reduces ADHD symptoms, the American Chemical Society has produced a new video that should help. 

Source: Mic/YouTube
Source: Mic/YouTube

According to the ACS, the whole process is like an awkward middle school dance in which the brain releases dopamine ("a key chemical in the brain's reward center") that stares forlornly across the hall at the dopamine receptors of the central nervous system. Amphetamine, the active ingredient in Adderall, forces dopamine onto the dance floor for some neurological mingling, allowing the brain to maintain focus and not constantly search for other sources of stimulation.

Source: Mic/YouTube

All joking aside though, Adderall and other amphetamine-based drugs are only helpful when used for their intended purpose. While the drug is often considered harmless by those seeking hyper-focus at school or work, the dangers of abuse are real. Dependence on amphetamines includes an increased likelihood of negative side effects like paranoia, mania and seizures. Even for legitimate purposes, the rising use of Adderall has led many to believe that it is overprescribed.

Further, as the ACS pointed out, it only takes a small chemical tweak to turn amphetamine into its much nastier cousin methamphetamine. Meth is commonly taken as a club drug, and its abuse can result in psychosis, aggression, brain damage and an extremely unsightly condition known as "meth mouth."

The drugs we take in our day-to-day lives, from Tylenol to Adderall and beyond, have an equally great impact on our well-being. Knowing the why and how of what they do is extremely important and makes videos like this more than just a fun YouTube snack.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Jon Levine

Jon Levine is a staff writer at Mic, covering politics and people. He is based in New York and can be reached at JLevine@mic.com.

MORE FROM

Anthony Scaramucci acknowledges “colorful language” after ‘New Yorker’ published his wild rant

Scaramucci's "colorful language" revealed the high-stakes tension going on at the White House.

Lindsey Graham says he is creating legislation to block Trump from firing Mueller

Graham said earlier that ousting Mueller would mark the "beginning of the end of the Trump presidency."

Despite Trump, military leaders say there will be no changes to transgender policy for now

“In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect."

Trump will visit Long Island to discuss gang violence — but some fear he could make the issue worse

Trump has celebrated mass deportations as fighting gang violence — but are his words helping or hurting?

Like his boss, Anthony Scaramucci seems to be a fan of disgraced football coach Joe Paterno

President Donald Trump also gave a shout-out to the late Penn State coach during the 2016 campaign.

‘Hot Mic’ podcast: Transgender ban, GOP healthcare struggling, video games relieve work stress

What you need to know for Thursday, July 27.

Anthony Scaramucci acknowledges “colorful language” after ‘New Yorker’ published his wild rant

Scaramucci's "colorful language" revealed the high-stakes tension going on at the White House.

Lindsey Graham says he is creating legislation to block Trump from firing Mueller

Graham said earlier that ousting Mueller would mark the "beginning of the end of the Trump presidency."

Despite Trump, military leaders say there will be no changes to transgender policy for now

“In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect."

Trump will visit Long Island to discuss gang violence — but some fear he could make the issue worse

Trump has celebrated mass deportations as fighting gang violence — but are his words helping or hurting?

Like his boss, Anthony Scaramucci seems to be a fan of disgraced football coach Joe Paterno

President Donald Trump also gave a shout-out to the late Penn State coach during the 2016 campaign.

‘Hot Mic’ podcast: Transgender ban, GOP healthcare struggling, video games relieve work stress

What you need to know for Thursday, July 27.