Adderall is considered one of the strongest ADHD medications on the market. Even though it is categorized as a Schedule II controlled substance, people still misuse it to stay up late, lose weight, and even improve memory.
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What Is Adderall?
Adderall is the brand name of the drug amphetamine/dextroamphetamine salts. It is a highly addictive stimulant medication that can be prescribed to treat ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and narcolepsy.
Adderall belongs to a class of drugs known as central nervous system (CNS) stimulants and therefore affects certain chemicals in the brain and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control. It is also an easily abused prescription drug that can result in serious physical and psychological short-term and long-term results.
Side Effects of Adderall Use
Adderall works by increasing your body’s dopamine and norepinephrine levels, which increases your ability to focus and concentrate. However, because of its amphetamine composition, it tends to become addictive and cause uncomfortable side effects such as tremors and an irregular heartbeat.
Short-Term Effect of Adderall
Short-term Adderall side effects may include:
- Mood swings
- Abdominal discomfort
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Long-Term Effects of Adderall
Long-term Adderall side effects may include:
- Stomach cramps
- Weight loss
- Poor concentration
- Fast breathing
- High blood pressure
- Numbness or tingling sensations in the limbs
Long-term abuse of this stimulant could result in severe health consequences that may be characterized by abnormal brain activity, hallucinations, suicidal ideations, psychosis, or even death.
Adderall Abuse and Addiction
For most people with an Adderall addiction, abusing the drug is not caused by a desire for pleasure. It starts with the intention of functioning normally, socializing normally, and performing better at work or in school.
Adderall is commonly abused by young adults as a “study drug” for test-taking, making it popular on high school and college campuses. Adderall is also abused by professionals and athletes to enhance performance and by others for weight loss.
Over time, abuse of Adderall can create a physical dependence, leading to the development of a substance use disorder.
Signs of Adderall abuse may include:
- Taking more than the prescribed dosage or for longer than recommended
- Taking Adderall in a way other than prescribed (snorting Adderall by crushing pills)
- Taking another person’s prescribed medicine
- Taking Adderall to get high
How To Know You Are Addicted to Adderall
If you or someone you know is addicted to Adderall, here is a list of addiction symptoms.
- Having to increase your Adderall dosage to feel the same effect
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you don’t use Adderall
- Continuing to use Adderall despite knowing of its dangers
- Inability to stop using Adderall
- Cutting back on other activities you enjoy to use Adderall
- Difficulty focusing without your Adderall prescription
If you’ve read through this list and suspect you may be at risk for Adderall addiction, speak with your healthcare provider about your options for reducing your dose or getting treatment for your addiction. Many options are available to help you take control of your life again.
Adderall withdrawal symptoms occur when you stop taking the drug or significantly lower your dosage. This is because your body has to go through the process of readjusting to functioning without it. Usually, these symptoms appear within the first few days of stopping the drug.
Withdrawal symptoms from Adderall will vary from person to person depending on several factors, including how long you took Adderall, your dosage, and whether you have a history of psychiatric treatment. Here are some of the most common withdrawal symptoms:
- Abdominal discomfort
With the high of Adderall comes a deep low. People who take higher doses are more likely to experience suicidal thoughts when they quit taking Adderall. A major crash may leave you feeling extremely depressed and lethargic.
You can seek help from a recovery center or a certified addiction specialist to reduce the risk of these more serious side effects. While inpatient rehab is certainly an option, Adderall withdrawals can also be effectively treated in an outpatient capacity.
When a person takes a very large dose of Adderall, an overdose may occur.
The effects of Adderall overdose may be very serious because it can lead to heart attack, stroke, or liver failure. Following your prescribing physician’s instructions is always important to ensure you take the correct dose.
Another thing to note is that as with many medications, there is some risk of accidental overdose with Adderall. It’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of an Adderall overdose and dangerous combinations like alcohol and drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, or Xanax that can increase your risk of experiencing one.
How Do You Know When Someone Has Overdosed On Adderall?
The following symptoms may exhibit an Adderall overdose:
- Abdominal discomfort
- Increased heart rate
- Chest pain
- High body temperature
- Dilated pupils
What To Do in an Adderall Overdose Incident
If you suspect an overdose of Adderall:
- Immediately call 911 to report the overdose
- If possible, find out whether the person took Adderall with other drugs
- Check for responsiveness
- Stay with the person until emergency services arrive.
- Avail all required information so that the victim can receive adequate help.
Adderall Addiction Treatment
Treatment for Adderall addiction is highly dependent on the severity of the abuse. The psychological component, particularly with behavioral therapy, is used to exercise self-restraint and allow your brain to “rewire” itself free of Adderall addiction.
Additionally, physical addiction may be treated through rehabilitation centers with detox programs where patients are monitored 24/7 to ensure that withdrawal symptoms do not harm them or anyone else.
Because Adderall is a stimulant, quitting suddenly can lead to withdrawal symptoms, often depression and anxiety. Treatment centers, therefore, provide a detoxification program that includes medications to manage the unpleasant effects of quitting the drug suddenly.
The Adderall detoxification process cleanses the body of all traces of drugs, completely erasing any physical effects caused by these substances. Once detoxified, the patient must begin psychological counseling to help address any behavioral or neurological problems that may have resulted or contributed directly to use.
Adderall Treatment Programs
Whether you are looking to overcome an Adderall addiction or you’re just looking for help to quit using Adderall, there are treatment programs that can help you safely get off of the drug.
With the help of a medical professional, you can effectively withdraw from the drug and overcome addiction.
Inpatient Rehab Program
The purpose of inpatient rehab is to help patients get through acute withdrawal quickly so they can focus on the actual recovery process. It involves keeping patients under medically supervised care for several days (typically 28-30 days), while they go through acute withdrawal. This way, the medical staff can address any complications that arise and help patients adjust to the changes their bodies are going through while becoming sober.
Since many people who start abusing drugs are teenagers, many programs also offer counseling for families. Although the cost is high, it is an effective treatment for patients with severe addictions to Adderall.
Partial Hospitalization Program
Partial Hospitalization Program is an umbrella term for any program with a 24-hour structure and support but allowing participants to live at home or work during the day. These programs offer the opportunity to address daily functioning issues in appropriate settings outside of a residential treatment facility. Each center has different intervention levels based on the patient’s needs.
Intensive Outpatient Program
An Intensive Outpatient Program is an excellent way to kick-start the recovery process from Adderall addiction, and it may be all that is needed for most people with a mild addiction to stimulant medications such as Adderall.
IOPs provide a wide range of therapy, assessments, and coaching support. They address psychological problems and rely upon peer support, teaching coping strategies and providing the tools necessary to build a sober life after completing treatment. IOPs are often recommended for people in the initial phases of their recovery.
According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, approximately 614,000 young people between the ages of 12 and 17 have used Adderall non-medically at some point in their lives.
The misuse of prescription stimulants is generally more prevalent in males than in females. 2.1% of males misuse these drugs, while only 1.6% of women do so.
-The National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics
Drug abuse of Adderall leads to almost 1,500 emergency room visits annually, with serious side effects including stroke and insomnia.
In the US, stimulant abuse is second only to opioid abuse.
The Road to Recovery Starts Now
When a person has an Adderall addiction, it isn’t just them who must give up so much. Often those around them have to give up things as well – time, sleep, energy, and trust.
With so much changing so quickly, it’s no wonder that friends and family members feel anxious and unsure about the best way to support their loved ones in recovery.
We can help you navigate the maze of options through these resources, so you can start your loved one on the path to recovery and get additional support for yourself along the way.
Adderall Addiction FAQs
How Much Adderall Does It Take To Overdose?
The exact amount of Adderall a person needs to overdose depends on many factors, including the type of drug, the person’s regular dosage, and whether they also took other substances or medications.
Is Adderall a Controlled Substance?
Yes, since the drug has the potential to create both physical and psychological dependence, it falls under the category of Schedule II substances in the U.S.