Most Common Prescription Stimulants
The most commonly prescribed types of stimulant drugs are:
- Adderall® (Dextroamphetamine + amphetamine)
- Ritalin® (Methylphenidate)
- Dexedrine® (Dextroamphetamine)
- Concerta® (Methylphenidate)
- Vyvanse® (Lisdexamfetamine)
Signs of Stimulant Abuse
Prescription stimulants enhance the way your body’s central nervous system processes dopamine and norepinephrine. The result can improve the quality of life for a variety of patients—such as increasing focus for individuals with ADHD, or helping people with narcolepsy stay awake.
However, the use of prescription stimulants like Adderall can cause these short-term side effects:
- Restlessness, agitation
- Mood swings
- Increased or rapid heart rate
- Higher blood pressure
- Increased body temperature
Additionally, long-term side effects of stimulants like Adderall can include:
- Weight loss
Additionally, prescription stimulants such as Adderall are potentially habit-forming as well. Therefore, prescription stimulant use should only occur under medical supervision.
Signs of Prescription Stimulant Withdrawal
A person that has become dependent on Adderall or other prescription stimulant drugs may experience withdrawal symptoms when discontinuing their drug use. While withdrawal side effects are not usually life-threatening, they still pose a risk to the individual’s overall sobriety. Many people return to abusing prescription stimulants to avoid adverse feelings during withdrawal.
Withdrawal symptoms are likely to include:
- Intense dreams (usually nightmares)
- Extreme sleep patterns—insomnia or oversleeping
- Increased appetite
- Cravings for Adderall/prescription stimulants
- Body aches
- Memory problems
It should be noted that people with a history of depression are especially at-risk during withdrawal from Adderall or similar prescription stimulants. People with depression are far more likely to experience extreme depression during withdrawal. Opting for medical detox is the easiest way to ensure safety and comfort as your body detoxifies.
Signs of Stimulant Overdose
If you suspect an overdose of Adderall or another prescription stimulant, call 911 immediately and report the overdose. If possible, monitor the victim and try to help them remain calm.
Symptoms of stimulant overdose may appear as:
- Hyperthermia, or high body temperature
- Extreme blood pressure levels (too high or too low)
- Irregular heartbeat, which can cause a heart attack
- Stomach pain, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Seizures or hallucinations
How to Treat Prescription Stimulant Addiction
Adderall and other prescription stimulants are listed as Schedule II drugs because they carry a high risk of leading to drug abuse and developing a drug addiction. These prescription drugs should only be used as directed and under medical supervision.
However, if you find yourself or a loved one addicted to prescription stimulants there are multiple treatment options available to help you get your life back together again.
Prescription Stimulant Medical Detox
Many treatment programs will first start with medical detox, where you will be monitored throughout your body’s natural detoxification process. As your body eliminates any Adderall or prescription stimulants, medical detox professionals will ensure your vital functions remain stable.
Depending on the level and severity of addiction, medical detox can occur at either an inpatient or an outpatient level. That means you may receive detox treatment and guidance without having to stay overnight at a treatment facility.
After detox, patients will move on to the rest of their stimulant addiction treatment services.
Inpatient Rehab For Stimulants
Inpatient rehab is what most people think of when they hear the words “drug rehab,” but inpatient care is just one type of rehab program available.
Inpatient care is generally a residential setting, where patients will live at a treatment center for 30 to 90 days (depending on the individual treatment plan.) During inpatient rehab for prescription stimulant addiction, patients will receive various types of therapy alongside medical care as needed.
Outpatient Treatment For Stimulants
Outpatient rehab is available for individuals with a mild to moderate addiction to Adderall or other prescription stimulants. Outpatient care will still provide the same quality of treatment as inpatient care but without requiring an extended stay at the rehab center.
Outpatient programs themselves come in a few different levels of care, including:
- Partial Hospitalization
- Intensive Outpatient
Partial Hospitalization Programs will be structured similarly to the daily schedule of inpatient care but without requiring an overnight stay. Partial hospitalization is sometimes considered a bridge between inpatient and outpatient treatment types.
Alternatively, Intensive Outpatient Programs provide different therapies at a rehab center for a much shorter daily commitment. Intensive outpatient can work well for someone with a more minor substance abuse problem or who has completed an inpatient rehab stay for their prescription stimulant abuse.
What Happens During Stimulant Treatment?
Your treatment will be based on your individual needs, so the overall rehab experience may vary from one person to the next. However, certain aspects of prescription stimulant addiction treatment are relatively universal.
Mental health is a major focus of any rehab treatment program, as a person’s mental wellness is often directly tied to their previous drug abuse. Positive mental behaviors can help an individual remain sober during rehab and provide better coping mechanisms to help them avoid future relapses down the road.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a psychotherapy approach to addiction treatment that can be useful for treating prescription stimulant addiction. Patients who receive CBT will meet with a licensed mental health professional to discover negative thought patterns.
With the therapist’s guidance, patients will work to shift negative behaviors and habits into more positive, helpful behaviors and ways of thinking.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is another form of psychotherapy designed to help recovering addicts, but DBT can be especially helpful for patients that are considered high-risk. DBT helps patients work on mindfulness and acceptance of their present circumstances.
Through DBT, patients learn how to positively work through difficult emotions and tolerate distress in the future.
Contingency management can be beneficial in treating addiction to stimulants such as Adderall or Ritalin. Contingency management gives patients incentives to work towards, such as vouchers or prizes.
In voucher-based programs, patients will earn vouchers for each negative drug test. These vouchers can be saved up and exchanged for prizes like movie passes or food items. Prize-based programs allow patients to draw from a bowl of prizes (often cash amounts) for positive behavior such as attending therapy sessions, clean drug tests, and so on.
Group therapy is a very common treatment for treating substance use disorder. Group therapy provides peer support and accountability in a safe, positive environment. Group therapy helps recovering addicts work through their addiction recovery while also being able to provide support and wisdom to peers in similar circumstances.
12-Step Programs for Adderall Recovery
Twelve-step programs are common in rehab programs, including programs for treating prescription stimulant addiction. Groups like Narcotics Anonymous provide attendees twelve steps to work through one at a time to help them improve their lives while maintaining sobriety.
There are many 12-step programs available locally throughout the US, so patients can find a 12-step group to join after they complete their rehab treatment.
Helping A Loved One with Stimulant Addiction
If you have a family member or loved one struggling with addiction to Adderall or other prescription stimulants, the key thing to remember is that they cannot be forced to get sober.
However, encouragement and support can go a long way—and will have a much stronger impact than anger or judgment. You might consider providing your loved one with addiction information or staging an intervention if things have become dire.
After Stimulant Adderall Rehab
Once a person completes their rehab treatment, they may want additional support as they transition back to their regular lives. Post-rehab programs are available to help people remain committed to and enjoy their sobriety.
Sober living, or sober houses, provide a drug and alcohol-free place to live for recovering addicts. A counselor may oversee these small sober living communities, or they might not be monitored. Each sober living facility will have its own set of rules that are intended to provide structure and encourage individual responsibility.
There are also several different kinds of aftercare programs available once a person finishes rehab. These aftercare programs can vary, but generally speaking, they are intended to help the individual continue to work on themselves internally so they can remain free from stimulant drug addiction for years to come.
Some common aftercare programs include:
- Individual therapy
- Family therapy
- Support groups
- Volunteer opportunities
- Health and fitness programs
- 12-step programs
Find a Treatment Program Near You
Are you ready to find an Adderall or prescription stimulant recovery program center near you? SAMHSA provides a free program locator that can be used to see what options are available in our area.