Adderall Abuse: Helping People Get on the Road to Recovery
Individuals who suffer from certain illnesses, such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), have been able to find relief in recent years as a result of prescription drug advancements that can help them manage their symptoms and increase their productivity. However, these prescription drugs do not come without serious risks. Addiction and misuse of these drugs are common for a variety of reasons, and many people have found that they struggle with using these medications without becoming addicted. Indeed, addiction to Adderall has become a major problem, with more and more people becoming hooked on this drug.
This addiction is a very serious problem in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) 2020 study, over 5 million people aged 12 and older reported misusing prescription stimulants in the 12 months preceding the study. It’s an indication of the severity of this addiction. Many people need addiction recovery assistance.
What Is Adderall?
Adderall is a stimulant designed to help individuals who suffer from certain cognitive attention issues. It is primarily used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, but it can also be used to treat some other illnesses, including narcolepsy.
Adderall’s classification as a stimulant can be somewhat counter-intuitive, given that the drug can help to improve attention span, work, and productivity by calming people down. However, it is listed as a stimulant because it stimulates the production of neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters will then help improve focus and attention.
Like most other drugs, Adderall comes in a variety of forms, with tablets and capsules available in 5 to 30 milligrams doses and in immediate release and extended release versions. Individuals are prescribed Adderall based on their needs and body types. Adderall regular release tablets begin providing relief for the prescribed individual almost instantly, whereas Adderall XR (the extended-release version) will be felt over time, rather than right away. “Regular” Adderall typically lasts for anywhere from 4-6 hours, while Adderall XR can help a person for as long as twelve hours. Adderall XR also has the benefit of helping guard against a “crash.”
Adderall is a Schedule II drug. This means that the United States Food & Drug Administration has classified the drug as being dangerous enough that it can lead to an addiction, and as such, should be prescribed and consumed with caution.
Can You Get Addicted to Adderall?
There is no question that it is possible to get addicted to Adderall.
As a stimulant, Adderall works to stimulate the production of certain hormones. This includes the production of dopamine and norepinephrine. Dopamine is a vitally important neurotransmitter also known as the “feel-good” chemical. When your brain produces these chemicals, you feel good, and this can lead to someone wanting more and more of the drug to feel better. As a result, a person can become hooked on the feeling produced by taking Adderall.
Adderall also has another hallmark of many addictive drugs: tolerance. If a person takes too much Adderall, they can become tolerant to its use, meaning that their brain can adjust to it and fail to produce the same level of dopamine and norepinephrine that their body had previously produced. As such, someone will need to increase their intake to experience the same positive feelings. Unfortunately, that comes with additional risks of damaging their body or potentially overdosing on the drug if they take too much of it.
Adderall has additional issues, even though it provides some very real benefits, namely an increased ability to focus and work effectively among people who suffer from ADHD. As such, people may become dependent upon the drug in order to work, particularly if they work in a high-pressure job. A good amount of Adderall’s use comes from misdirection, meaning people who use it despite not having a doctor’s prescription. As a result, individuals not only use the drug inappropriately but may use more than is medically advisable, thus increasing the risk of them developing an addiction.
How is Adderall Consumed or Used?
Adderall is prescribed by a physician and should be used only as directed. Some people who are prescribed Adderall may need to take a second pill during the day, though Adderall XR may eliminate the need for this second dosage. The drug comes in a variety of doses, and it is very important that individuals who take Adderall only take it on an as-prescribed basis, meaning they should not take more than necessary or more than prescribed.
One of the challenges with Adderall is that misdirection of the drug is very common. This means people take more Adderall than they have been prescribed, or they purchase Adderall on the internet or some sort of black market, then take the drug for non-medical reasons. This misdirection has been cited as a common method by which individuals become addicted to the substance. Misdirection may also apply to people who are prescribed Adderall take more than their prescribed dose. This, too, can lead to many problems, including addiction.
Adderall can become even more addictive —and dangerous —if it is consumed in a method that is not medically approved. Some individuals crush and snort Adderall. This method of ingestion allows users to feel its impacts much faster, such as improved feelings and a burst of energy. Unfortunately, this comes with some very severe dangers, including a variety of health risks.
What Are the Risks and Causes of Adderall Abuse?
The physical risks of Adderall abuse — even in the short term — can be significant. As noted above, Adderall has all of the hallmarks of a traditionally addictive substance. Individuals who use Adderall may develop a tolerance to it, requiring more and more to feel the drug’s positive effects. They may also experience Adderall withdrawal if they become severely addicted to the drug.
Adderall overdose is possible. Prior estimates from the mid-2010s held that there were 17,000 annual visits to the emergency room caused by Adderall overdoses. People die every year as a direct result of Adderall overdoses, and this means that individuals must be particularly conscious of the dangers that the drug possesses.
In terms of causes, an individual is very likely to get addicted to Adderall for the same reasons that other drugs are so addictive. In many cases, an individual will start to use Adderall in an as-prescribed manner by their doctor but may begin to misuse the substance and take higher amounts. Adderall has become very popular among college campuses and has gained a reputation as a “party drug,” leading to its use and abuse in certain social situations.
The risks and causes of Adderall abuse are multi-faceted, and this means that a treatment facility must be multifaceted as well. Fortunately for individuals looking for Adderall addiction assistance, there are a variety of treatment options that can help individuals suffering from this addiction. Reach out to Zinnia Health at (855) 430-9439 to learn about the options available to help you recover.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Adderall Abuse?
Individuals who abuse Adderall may experience an array of signs and symptoms that may be recognizable by individuals who are close to them. Family members and friends should be aware of the symptoms of Adderall abuse in order to develop a better understanding of what these signs are.
From a physical perspective, someone who is actively intoxicated by Adderall may appear more energetic than usual, even manic. They may also appear impatient, anxious, and otherwise filled with worry.
From an emotional and cognitive perspective, someone who is high on Adderall may appear hyper-productive and display an almost desperate desire to get work done. They may appear to be thinking about things more, be super focused on getting things done, and become highly social.
The social signs of an Adderall addiction are very recognizable. Like with many other addictive drugs, a person who is abusing Adderall may begin to shirk their other responsibilities and pay more attention, time, and money to get more Adderall. They may also change friends as they begin to only spend time with individuals who share their desire to use and abuse Adderall. They may become more withdrawn and attempt to do nothing other than use or abuse Adderall.
What Are the Long-Term Effects of Adderall Abuse?
Like with many other drugs, there are real and potentially deadly impacts associated with the long-term abuse of Adderall. Studies have found that Adderall abuse comes with an array of negative consequences, including sleep disorder, long term cognitive difficulties, heart trouble, and suppressed appetite.
Other studies have made similar determinations, finding that Adderall abuse can damage the brain, induce behavioral problems, damage short-term memory, and more.
The high amount of emergency room visits that are associated with Adderall abuse also clearly indicate that the drug is not, by any means, a casual drug with no long-term impacts or dangers.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Adderall Withdrawal?
Some individuals who take too much Adderall can develop withdrawal symptoms from the substance, meaning that they will experience negative side effects if they abruptly stop taking the drug.
First, individuals who are using Adderall to get high are likely to experience “crash” symptoms when they stop using the drug and come down from a high. These symptoms include exhaustion, mood swings, and depression.
Individuals who stop using Adderall altogether are very likely to experience withdrawal symptoms. Everyone experiences these symptoms differently, but some common withdrawal symptoms include:
An inability to concentrate or perform at work or school
Mood swings, including severe depression or anxiety
A loss of pleasure that is normally felt in doing previously-enjoyed activities
Disruptive changes to sleep patterns, which may include extremely vivid dreams
Slowed cognitive response and reflexes
Slowed heart rate
Overwhelming cravings for more Adderall
What Are Treatment Options for Adderall Abuse?
There are many treatment options for individuals who are looking for help in overcoming their Adderall addiction. If you want to heal from Adderall misuse, there is a path to recovery.
First, before an individual can undergo treatment, they must successfully detox from the drug. This means they must stop taking any drugs and purge them from their body. Depending on the severity of the addiction, this process can be painful and potentially dangerous. In many cases, individuals who attempt to detox from a drug will find the withdrawal symptoms too much to bear and simply return to using the drug in question. Therefore, it is important that individuals who are attempting to stop abusing an illicit substance do so under the guidance of trained professionals who have experience in managing detox.
From there, a variety of treatments can help an individual overcome their Adderall addiction. The primary method is individualized counseling. By speaking with a therapist, a person can determine ways to better cope with the pressures of life or individualized stressors that led them to Adderall in the first place. There are numerous psychological techniques, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivation Therapy, that can be customized to an individual’s needs.
Furthermore, individuals who become addicted to Adderall will often need additional help in managing their cravings and withdrawal. Unlike other substances, such as opioids, there’s no Medication-Assisted Treatment that has been developed to help people overcome Adderall addiction or cravings. As such, an individual needs to rely on therapy and other supplemental approaches to overcome their addiction.
Adderall addiction is a real and potentially deadly addiction that can have devastating and lifelong consequences. If you or someone you love is suffering from an Adderall addiction, you should know that there are a variety of treatment plans that can help you or your loved one address the addiction and live a happy life. Call Zinnia Health at (855) 430-9439 to learn more.