Adderall Psychosis (& Paranoia): How to Identify the Symptoms
By: Zinnia Healing Editorial Staff | Edited By: Rebecca Hill
Identifying the Symptoms of Adderall Psychosis and Paranoia
Adderall is a prescription drug for people who struggle with a disorder like ADD, or attention deficit disorder. A person with ADD finds it difficult to focus, something that can cause problems with work or school. To improve their performance, they turn to Adderall to help avoid distractions and stay focused. While Adderall is a helpful stimulant for those who need it, the drug can also be abused by those who do not. This addiction results in individuals having excess energy and an enhanced sense of happiness. One study reports that around 4% of older teens and young adults abuse drugs like Adderall regularly for these purposes. Unfortunately, despite the desirable effects, Adderall abuse can come with a host of problems.
The Side Effects of Adderall
The side effects vary for a person who takes Adderall. Those who need the drug to manage ADD symptoms may have less severe side effects than those who abuse the drug. This is largely because when the drug is necessary, the dose follows a doctor’s care. When it is abused, its users typically take much higher amounts to maximize the effects. Exceeding the recommended dosage can be dangerous, as stimulants that fall within the amphetamine or dextroamphetamine class speed up a person’s heart rate and raise their blood pressure. Abuse and addiction to Adderall can even be deadly. Some of the most common side effects of Adderall include:
- Feeling nervous
- Weight loss/no appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dry mouth
While these are some of the most frequently experienced side effects of Adderall, other serious side effects may occur. Those who experience shortness of breath, fainting, irregular heartbeat, blurred vision, pain in the left arm, or confusion should get help right away. Besides these side effects, people can experience an allergic reaction to Adderall. The symptoms of an allergic reaction include rash, swelling, and trouble breathing, which warrants an equal need for medical attention. Users of Adderall may also experience psychosis and paranoia.
What Is Adderall Psychosis?
People who use stimulants like Adderall are at risk of having a psychotic episode. Those who have never had problems of this type before may find the experience frightening. While this reaction is typical, many people describe Adderall psychosis as being like schizophrenia. During an episode of Adderall psychosis, users may experience many symptoms. Some of these symptoms include:
Those suffering from Adderall psychosis also hear voices or sounds that others cannot. Anyone with friends and family members taking Adderall should know of this possibility. Likewise, those with a family history of psychotic episodes should avoid taking Adderall unless a doctor aware of the history prescribes it.
What Causes Adderall Psychosis and Paranoia?
Adderall is a drug that stimulates the brain. It fixes existing disruptions for a person with an illness like attention deficit disorder or narcolepsy. On the other hand, those who do not have these problems can create them when they abuse Adderall. This is because Adderall can cause certain areas of the brain to misunderstand information, leading to misinterpreted sensory experiences. When the brain misinterprets these experiences, the user hears and sees things that may not actually exist. The side effect does not happen with everyone who uses or abuses Adderall. Still, those with a family history of schizophrenia or other psychotic episodes are at a higher risk of developing Adderall psychosis or paranoia — likely because of a genetic disposition.
How to Tell If Someone Has Adderall Psychosis or Paranoia
If a friend or loved one takes Adderall to manage a disorder like narcolepsy or attention deficit disorder, they should undergo regular monitoring for their well-being. While those using Adderall may not fully understand any changes in their behavior or mentality, anyone in frequent communication with them may detect any differences more easily. A person experiencing Adderall psychosis or paranoia will have some symptoms of schizophrenia. Typically, they are afraid. They may question their sanity and have difficulty determining what is real and what is not. A person experiencing Adderall psychosis or paranoia may also keep their symptoms to themselves. Despite this, friends and loved ones will likely know something is unusual about the person’s behavior. Loved ones may notice the following changes in a person having a psychotic episode due to Adderall use:
- Withdrawing from friends or family members
- Being distracted
- Experiencing frequent mood swings
- Not acting like themselves
- Complaining about things that may be exaggerated or unreal
- Talking about things that are not there
- Saying things that are concerning
- Showing speech differences
- Showing a change in their movements, whether significantly slower or faster than usual
- Being more cautious than usual
- Being unable to relax
- Becoming suddenly distrustful of those around them
- Being argumentative or violent
Although these signs may show that a person is suffering from Adderall psychosis or paranoia, it is difficult to diagnose from the outside. Those concerned that a person may suffer from Adderall psychosis should encourage them to seek professional help. If you believe you are suffering from Adderall psychosis or paranoia after use or abuse, reach out to a trusted friend or family member for help. If the psychotic episodes are intense and you struggle to distinguish reality from hallucination, or if you have thoughts about harming yourself or others, call for immediate medical help.
The Symptoms of Adderall Withdrawal
Adderall is an addictive drug, and stopping it can cause symptoms of withdrawal. Those who frequently abuse Adderall may notice several withdrawal symptoms if they suddenly stop taking the drug. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Inability to concentrate
- Suicidal thoughts
- Extreme fatigue
The withdrawal symptoms are most common in those who regularly used this substance for a prolonged period. Therefore, it is best to slowly ween off Adderall to avoid these side effects. Those who choose to go cold turkey can expect these symptoms to last about one week. This process may take longer for those who have used the drug for several years. In this case, it can take three or four weeks before the body finishes with withdrawal symptoms.
Treating Adderall Psychosis or Paranoia
Again, Adderall psychosis or paranoia is a relatively rare side effect. It is most common in addiction situations for those who abuse the drug and take it in higher than recommended doses. If you are experiencing the symptoms because of Adderall abuse, discontinue use immediately and seek help. If your doctor prescribed Adderall and you are taking the recommended dose, be sure to share your symptoms with your healthcare provider. Each case is unique, and your doctor is the best resource for determining whether you should discontinue the use of Adderall. If you have a substance abuse disorder and are struggling to quit using Adderall, seek professional support from a treatment center like Zinnia Healing.
Treatment Facilities for Adderall Abuse
Most experts do not consider Adderall as significant a problem as hard drugs like heroin or cocaine, but they know it can be equally addictive and just as deadly. Often, people opt to misuse prescription drugs because they believe those drugs are safer than others. Unfortunately, Adderall abuse is a very serious problem, and it can lead to death as easily as heroin or cocaine. Adderall is a stimulant drug that is hard to stop using without experiencing symptoms of withdrawal. If you are struggling to stop using Adderall, know there are treatment facilities that can help. With professional support, you can receive a treatment plan to address the Adderall addiction and the psychosis and paranoia. Those who struggle with other mental disorders can also receive a diagnosis to work on both aspects and regain control of their lives. Most times, those who abuse substances like Adderall have mental illnesses that have gone untreated. They abuse these substances to self-medicate. When this illness is diagnosed and treated properly, it can make the recovery process much more manageable.
Those who abuse Adderall should seek a treatment center like Zinnia Healing that specializes in dual diagnosis. If you or a loved one is using Adderall or are experiencing the symptoms of Adderall addiction or psychosis or paranoia, reach out to Zinnia Healing today at (855) 430-9439. We are happy to provide a free clinical assessment with no obligations. We also have admissions coordinators to discuss our available options.