Although Adderall helps treat ADHD and narcolepsy, the drug can also lead to depression, paranoia, heart disease, seizures and thoughts of suicide when misused. In extreme cases, chronic misuse of Adderall can result in respiratory distress and breathing difficulties, heart attack, and stroke. If left untreated, Adderall addiction, especially when combined with opioids, alcohol or other drugs, can lead to overdose and sudden death.
Although some people try to quit Adderall on their own, withdrawal from Adderall is unpleasant and can last for weeks. The safest and most effective way of treating Adderall misuse or addiction is through a comprehensive treatment program at a rehabilitation center. Our solution-based programs help people addicted to Adderall take steps toward long-term recovery.
What is Adderall?
Adderall is a prescription stimulant made up of a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Although it’s legal when prescribed by doctors, it’s highly addictive and can produces effects similar to meth. These effects; increased focus, alertness, and reduced impulsivity, are some of the main reasons people use Adderall for recreational use.
Young adults are especially attracted to Adderall’s ability to work as a study aid. In fact, a study published by John Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health showed that the rates of Adderall misuse rose by 67% between 2006 and 2011. 60% of those users were between the ages of 18 to 25. Although it’s less common, older adults misuse Adderall, too, to cope with personal and professional stress.
When used illegally and without a prescription, individuals often crush pills and swallow or snort the powder. Sometimes, they combine Adderall with other substances to increase the drug’s effects. Recreational users almost always consume dangerously high doses of the drug.
Adderall Effects on the Brain
Prescribed Medical Use
- Medically, Adderall helps treat ADHD and narcolepsy. Although scientists continue to research both conditions, experts agree that people with ADHD have lower concentrations of dopamine transporters. Often called the “motivation molecule,” dopamine provides us with the drive and focus we need to be productive. When individuals have a lower concentration of dopamine transporters, it becomes harder for them to focus. Because Adderall increases the amount of dopamine released in the brain, when patients with ADHD take Adderall, they are better able to focus. In individuals with narcolepsy, Adderall stimulates activity in the central nervous system, allowing them to stay awake and function properly.
- When Adderall isn’t needed to help treat a medical condition, it disrupts the brain’s natural equilibrium. Adderall floods the brain with more dopamine and norepinephrine than it can handle. Excess amounts of these neurotransmitters overstimulate the brain.
- The Adderall “high” results from excess dopamine and norepinephrine overwhelming the brain. Dopamine evokes feelings of euphoria while norepinephrine, known for regulating mood, energy, and alertness, elicits an abundance of self-confidence and energy.
- An Adderall crash feels like the exact opposite of the Adderall high. Instead of feeling energized and confident, users may experience panic attacks, anxiety, fatigue, depression, or hunger. They may also feel fearful and may have trouble sleeping. Most recreational users succumb to these sensations and take Adderall again.
Tolerance & Dependence
- Every time an individual takes Adderall, the brain becomes more accustomed to its presence. Over time, the brain begins to rely on Adderall as a replacement for natural production of dopamine and norepinephrine. As the brain becomes more tolerant on Adderall, individuals may begin to experience a physical and chemical need for the drug. If left untreated, dependence can lead to further misuse and eventually addiction.
Signs & Symptoms of Adderall Addiction
It can be hard to recognize when someone is abusing Adderall. But there are several warning signs to consider. These include changes to the body and behavior, such as:
- Weight loss
- Talking fast
- Incomplete thoughts
- Aggressiveness or violent outbursts
- Increased risk-taking
- Missed school or work
- A decline in personal hygiene
- Taking pills more often than needed
- Hiding or sneaking pills
You may also hear your loved one complain about, mention, or reference symptoms commonly associated with Adderall abuse. Often these include:
- Lack of appetite
- Dry mouth
- Upset stomach
- Pounding or quickened heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Reduced sex drive
- Peeling skin
- Manic thoughts
- Mental fog and problems concentrating when not using Adderall
- Chest pain
Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms
Adderall withdrawal symptoms can vary widely. Generally, the withdrawal experience depends on the length of time an individual has been addicted, as well as how frequently and how much Adderall they consume.
Adderall withdrawal symptoms include:
- Feelings of emptiness or hopelessness
- Loss of interest in activities that normally illicit pleasure, such as sex or exercise
- Extreme irritability or frustration
- A lack of energy or excessive tiredness
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Feelings of anxiety
- Moving, thinking, or talking slower than usual
- Self-criticism and feeling a sense of worthlessness
- Eating too much or too little
- Problems thinking, focusing or making plans
- Unusual aches and pains
- Suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts
- Vivid or unpleasant dreams
- Increased appetite
- Difficulty thinking and an inability to concentrate
- Slowed movements and reflexes
- An unusually slow heart rate
Often, symptoms of Adderall withdrawal fade within a few weeks. However, it is completely natural for some people to experience emotional, social and psychological problems even after the withdrawal period.
Adderall Addiction Treatment & Recovery
One of the first steps of rehabilitation is removing Adderall from the body. Our alcohol and detox program provides a compassionate and nurturing environment for clients as they manage withdrawal symptoms. Once detox is complete, clients join our residential or intensive outpatient treatment program.
In these programs, clients undergo several rehabilitation activities which include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Individual, Group, and Family Counseling
During and after treatment, we encourage clients to participate in some of our other recovery activities, which include:
- Sober Living
- Relapse Prevention
- Rock to Recovery, an interactive music therapy program
- Building on the Rock, a faith-based recovery activity
Reclaiming your life after struggling with an addiction to Adderall isn’t easy, but it is possible. It will, however, take time, patience, support and commitment.
Don’t let an addiction to Adderall continue to control your life. Call Solution Based Treatment & Detox today at 1-877-309-4311. We are available 24 hours per day and 7 days per week to answer your questions and help you get on the path to long-term recovery.
We Know From Experience
We have helped thousands of people recover using a solutions-based approach of empowerment and knowledge.
We pride ourselves on creating a warm, relaxed recovery environment where our clients can show their true selves.
On-Site Medical Detox
Medical detox is a critical first step in recovery, which is why we provide supervised medical detox in-house.
Every client benefits from a fully personalized treatment and plan of care, helping them recover and reach their unique goals.