- Adderall Abuse And Addiction
- About Adderall
- Adderall Abuse And Addiction Treatment
- Adderall Abuse Signs And Symptoms
- Adderall Abuse Short-Term Effects
- Adderall Abuse Long-Term Effects, Risks, And Dangers
- Adderall Abuse Psychological Risks And Dangers
- Adderall Abuse Physical Risks And Dangers
- Adderall Abuse And Heart Problems
- The Dangers Of Mixing Adderall And Alcohol
- Adderall Overdose Signs
- Adderall Withdrawal Signs And Symptoms
- Adderall Withdrawal And Detox Treatment Programs
- Finding An Adderall Rehab Program
- 5 Signs Of Adderall Abuse
- 1. Lifestyle Changes
- 2. Mood Changes
- 3. Behavioral Changes
- 4. Physical Signs Of Adderall Abuse
- 5. Signs Of Drug Use And Paraphernalia
- Dangers Of Adderall Abuse
- Treatment For Adderall Addiction
- 6 Things to Know About Adderall
- What is Adderall?
- How is Adderall prescribed for ADHD in children?
- How many children with ADHD reach adulthood with ADHD?
- How can I tell if Adderall is working?
- What are Adderall’s common side effects in people with ADHD?
- Is there a non-stimulant medication a person with ADHD can take instead of Adderall?
Adderall Abuse And Addiction
Adderall abuse and addiction can harm a person’s body, imbalance their mind, and destroy important relationships. Without the proper help, the damaging effects of addiction will be left to continue.
The best drug rehab programs for Adderall addiction blend evidence-based treatments and support groups, so that a person has the highest chance for obtaining a healthier, drug-free life.
Adderall, a combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine, is a stimulant medication prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.
There are two forms of prescription Adderall, either of which may be abused:
- Adderall, an immediate-release tablet that is available in 5, 7.5, 10, 12.5, 15, 20, and 30 mg doses.
- Adderall XR, a once daily extended-release capsule that is available in 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 mg doses
Adderall is typically safe when taken as prescribed and under a doctor’s guidance, however, when misused in a nonmedical way, Adderall can be a very dangerous drug.
Adderall Abuse And Addiction Treatment
While Adderall abuse occurs at all ages, a recent study found that 60 percent of nonmedical use, or patterns of abuse, occurred in young adults ages 18 to 25.
Adderall may be misused to create a rush or sense of euphoria that somewhat resembles cocaine’s effects. When compared to cocaine, however, Adderall takes longer to kick in, though the effects do last longer than cocaine. For this reason, some people prefer to abuse Adderall over cocaine.
Taking Adderall can increase a person’s alertness, attention, and energy. It may decrease fatigue or drowsiness as well. Some people also consume it to improve their memory.
Because of these things, Adderall is often used as a performance-enhancing drug by students or professionals who wish to get better grades or do better on the job. These qualities are also why people refer to Adderall as a study drug or as a smart drug.
Adderall may also be abused to self-medicate untreated ADHD, fatigue, or another health condition. Some individuals may abuse the drug with the goal of losing weight.
Whether a person is misusing a personal prescription or someone else’s to achieve any of these effects, their behaviors are considered abuse. When abused, Adderall is typically taken orally, however, people may attempt to inject, smoke, or snort it.
Some people believe that prescription drug abuse is safer than other forms of substance abuse. Others, especially teens and college-aged individuals, may believe that Adderall is a harmless study aid. These mindsets are far from true.
other forms of drug abuse, Adderall abuse is dangerous and can lead to addiction, overdose, and mental and physical health problems.
Adderall Abuse Signs And Symptoms
A person who is addicted to Adderall may go to great lengths to acquire the drug. This may include stealing it, buying it off the street, or stealing money to pay for it. Some individuals may also pretend that they have ADHD in order to obtain a prescription from a doctor.
When a person is addicted to Adderall and using it compulsively, they may become upset when they run the drug. An individual may also claim that they need the drug to function or that they cannot think clearly without it.
A person who is abusing Adderall may become uncharacteristically talkative or active. In social settings, they may also lose their inhibitions and appear excessively happy.
While under the influence of Adderall, a person could have dilated pupils and muscle tremors or twitches. As a stimulant, Adderall can make a person feel as if they don’t need sleep. Because of this, a person may have insomnia and be awake at odd hours of the night.
Adderall Abuse Short-Term Effects
When a person first abuses Adderall, they may experience a sense of well-being or euphoria. Despite these pleasurable effects, abuse of Adderall can be dangerous even in the short term.
Adderall’s central nervous system stimulant properties can cause a person’s blood pressure, body temperature, breathing, and heart rate to rise. At this time, a person’s blood sugar and metabolism may also climb. The stimulating effects of Adderall can also cause insomnia and wakefulness.
Additional short-term side effects of Adderall abuse include:
- altered sexual behavior
- decreased appetite
- dry mouth
While under the influence of Adderall, a person may become preoccupied with their own thoughts and feel unrealistically clever, competent, or powerful.
Adderall Abuse Long-Term Effects, Risks, And Dangers
When Adderall is taken in high doses and/or for long periods of time, major health and medical problems could occur. The most serious of these include convulsions, coma, and death. High doses of stimulant drugs such as Adderall could also lead to death by suicide.
Adderall Abuse Psychological Risks And Dangers
When a person chronically abuses amphetamine drugs Adderall, they may develop hostility and violent and unpredictable behaviors that could endanger themselves or others. Even short-term Adderall abuse could cause these states in some people.
Psychosis that resembles schizophrenia may also develop. This state may be accompanied by paranoia and auditory and visual hallucinations. Some individuals may begin to pick at their skin because they feel as if bugs are crawling beneath it. This is another form of hallucination.
Chronic use or high doses of Adderall may also lead to:
- behavioral disorders
- mood changes
- mental illnesses
Adderall Abuse Physical Risks And Dangers
Chronic use or large doses of this drug may lead to serious physical health problems. The physical risks and dangers of Adderall abuse include:
- chronic sleep problems
- flushed, pale skin
- repetitive movements
- skin disorders
- trouble breathing
- vitamin deficiency
People who frequently abuse Adderall may go long periods of time without sleeping. Because of this, a person may become physically exhausted after an Adderall binge.
Injecting Adderall can expose a person to serious infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.
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Adderall Abuse And Heart Problems
As a stimulant, Adderall abuse can place great strain on the heart and cardiovascular system.
Even in the short-term, Adderall abuse can cause cardiac and heart problems, such as high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, narrowing of the blood vessels, palpitations, cardiovascular system failure, and fatal heart failure. Long-term abuse may lead to other heart problems, including a pounding heartbeat and cardiac arrhythmias.
Further, Adderall abuse may cause sudden death in teenagers who abuse this drug. This risk may be increased in teens who have heart defects or serious heart problems.
In addition to the risk of sudden death, adults who abuse Adderall may have a heart attack or stroke, dangers that may be higher in adults who have heart defects or serious heart problems.
The Dangers Of Mixing Adderall And Alcohol
Individuals who take Adderall to create a high may take alcohol at the same time to enhance each drug’s effects. Mixing an upper and downer together in this way could be dangerous and increase the odds of overdose.
As a stimulant, Adderall’s properties can can cover up the depressant effects of alcohol. This can cause the risk of alcohol overdose to be higher. Combining Adderall and alcohol may also raise a person’s blood pressure and make them feel more jittery.
Adderall Overdose Signs
When Adderall reaches toxic levels, it can cause an overdose. Due to the drug’s stimulant effects, the heart and cardiovascular system can become especially taxed at this time.
Adderall overdose can cause heart problems, such as circulation failure, high or low blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and heart attack.
Additional physical signs of Adderall overdose include:
- muscle pains
- nausea and vomiting
- overactive reflexes
- rapid breathing
- stomach cramps
An overdose may also harm a person mentally, resulting in aggression, confusion, hallucinations, and/or panic states.
Severe Adderall overdose may lead to convulsions, coma, or deadly overdose.
Adderall Withdrawal Signs And Symptoms
When a person who is dependent on Adderall stops taking the drug without slowly decreasing their dosage, they may go into withdrawal. Some individuals may experience withdrawal if they continue to take the drug but at much smaller doses.
Signs and symptoms of Adderall withdrawal can include:
- tiredness or intense fatigue
- sleep problems
The crash that follows the binge and crash cycle of Adderall abuse can also result in intense withdrawal symptoms.
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Adderall Withdrawal And Detox Treatment Programs
Though symptoms of Adderall withdrawal aren’t as severe as certain other drugs, withdrawal cravings and discomfort could become uncomfortable to the point a person returns to drug use in an attempt to stop them.
Because of this, it may be best to withdrawal from Adderall under professional medical supervision. While withdrawal symptoms may not become severe enough to warrant an inpatient medical detox program, an outpatient detox program may be recommended.
In addition to treating withdrawal symptoms, a detox program for Adderall may begin to address any malnutrition or vitamin deficiencies caused by Adderall abuse.
Finding An Adderall Rehab Program
While outpatient and inpatient Adderall addiction treatment programs are available, individuals who need an intensive level of care may find the greatest benefit in an inpatient program.
Our Texas residential treatment provides a more intensive level of care than is offered in outpatient rehab. These programs allow a person to live at our treatment center, so they’re surrounded by a community of -minded people who are focused on recovery. Forming close relationships with treatment staff and sober peers can be a valuable part of the recovery process.
By spending more time with therapists, counselors, and other treatment professionals, a person could be better equipped to make positive changes that support long-term sobriety.
At Vertava Health Texas, our comprehensive services include therapy, counseling, and a variety of holistic addiction treatments, such as our exciting adventure and wilderness therapies.
Contact Vertava Health Texas today to discover treatment for Adderall abuse and addiction.
5 Signs Of Adderall Abuse
People may think that they would be able to tell when a loved one is abusing drugs, but Adderall abuse may be particularly difficult to detect. Someone taking too much Adderall may exhibit moods and behavior that seem to indicate that they are living a happy and productive life, yet they could be exhausted and struggling on the inside.
With close examination, someone may be able to recognize these five signs of Adderall abuse:
- lifestyle changes
- behavioral changes
- mood changes
- physical signs of Adderall abuse
- signs of drug use or paraphernalia
1. Lifestyle Changes
Many people abuse Adderall in an attempt to be more productive. Students may take the drug in order to focus on a large project or important test. Other people may take it to perform better at work. The increased attention and energy from Adderall may initially lead to improved grades and work performance.
Seeing positive results from occasional Adderall use could prompt someone to take it more frequently or in larger doses.
They may begin to take Adderall for one project, then another, then to help them through the workday, to keep them awake on the weekend, and so on. As the amount increases, they are ly to sleep less, eat less, and try to do more.
They may attribute all of their successes to Adderall and become dependent on it in order to accomplish anything.
When a person is physically dependent on a drug, they may go to great lengths to get it. Drug-seeking can become a major part of their life, taking up time that used to be spent productively. Their schoolwork, job, or relationships could become less important to them. If they are trying to hide their drug use, they may become secretive.
2. Mood Changes
The effect of Adderall on someone’s mood may be subtle. A person who uses the drug to succeed in school, for example, may have an increased sense of self-esteem when they get a good grade. This positive self-image and sense of accomplishment paired with a heightened ability to focus can make someone seem happier.
Unfortunately, Adderall can also lead someone to experience anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. A person suffering from this may take more Adderall to boost their energy and focus, which can intensify the problem. Serious mental effects hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia may also develop with excessive or prolonged Adderall abuse.
3. Behavioral Changes
Changes in behavior that may result from Adderall abuse include increased energy, physical activity, and talkativeness. While Adderall is intended to better someone’s concentration, abusing the substance can produce an extreme result. Someone may undertake more than is normally possible, filling their life with activities until they become exhausted.
Aggressive or hostile behavior, especially in children, has also been linked to Adderall use. While research continues in this area, doctors may caution patients to be aware if their behavior becomes more aggressive while taking Adderall.
Adderall abuse can suppress a person’s appetite, causing them to care less about food and positive nutrition. In addition, it can lead to insomnia—trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. These can both contribute to poor health and negative physical consequences.
4. Physical Signs Of Adderall Abuse
Abusing Adderall can manifest in physical ways, some with signs more obvious than others. Excessive weight loss from appetite suppression or extreme fatigue from insomnia may be red flags that something is wrong. Chronic Adderall abuse may increase the risk of side effects.
Possible side effects of Adderall abuse could be:
- dry mouth
- body twitches
- rapid heart rate
- difficulty breathing
- high blood pressure
- vision problems
- frequent headaches
- stomach or chest pain
- nausea or vomiting
5. Signs Of Drug Use And Paraphernalia
A person who is abusing Adderall will ly show signs of drug use. If they have a prescription for Adderall, they will probably run pills sooner than they should. If they have multiple prescriptions, they may be “doctor shopping”—visiting several doctors in order to get more drugs than normally prescribed. Some people feign ADHD symptoms in order to get a prescription.
Another indicator may be the way the medication is stored. If someone keeps the pills in baggies or wrapped in plastic, chances are they were not prescribed to that person. Even if a person has a prescription, this type of storage ly indicates that they are taking more than recommended by their doctor.
While Adderall is generally taken orally, some people crush the pills to snort them. Snorting a substance takes it into the bloodstream faster, which can produce a more intense effect.
Drug paraphernalia such as razor blades, straws, hollow pens, or rolled paper may be found among someone’s things if they have been snorting Adderall. Though less common, Adderall can also be injected.
Needles, spoons, and lighters may indicate injection drug use.
Dangers Of Adderall Abuse
Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant made up of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine.
It works to calm the tendency toward impulsiveness by increasing levels of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. These are the neurotransmitters responsible for attention and focus.
Taking Adderall when not prescribed, or taking it in excess, can lead to exhaustion and other serious consequences.
In some cases, people have developed psychotic or manic symptoms after regular Adderall use. The risk for negative mental occurrences rises when the substance is abused.
Adderall abuse can damage the heart, and it is not recommended for use by people who have heart conditions. Amphetamines may worsen hypertension, a major contributor to many heart problems, by raising a person’s blood pressure.
Other possible cardio effects may be rapid heart rate or heart attack.
In several studies reported by the National Institute of Biotechnology Information, people who used non-prescription stimulants were found to be more ly to abuse other substances as well.
Adderall is one of the most common drugs prescribed for ADHD. As the rate of diagnosis for ADHD climbs, so do prescription stimulant rates.
The wide availability of Adderall and the prevalence of ADHD makes it easy for people to get this drug, with or without a prescription.
Treatment For Adderall Addiction
Abusing a substance to boost brain power can end up working in reverse. Drug addiction is a disease that can destroy a person’s life, despite them thinking that they need the drug to live normally. There are other ways of thinking that can empower a person and help them overcome addiction.
Inpatient drug rehab centers can help people change their habits and behaviors through therapy and support.
They provide a safe environment where a person can learn coping skills, explore new interests, and build positive relationships. Adderall addiction does not have to control someone’s life.
Addiction treatment programs can be tailored to individuals for the best fit and greatest chance of recovery.
Contact us today for more information on Adderall addiction and treatment options.
6 Things to Know About Adderall
Editor's Note: This blog was updated Feb. 3, 2021.
Do you know someone who swears by Adderall? Someone who uses it to stay focused, complete a task, or combat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?
As a drug becomes more common, it’s always good to learn more about benefits and risks – especially for children who may need help with ADHD.
We reached out to Dr. Ashley Chatigny, a double board-certified psychiatrist and medical director of behavioral health with Lee Physician Group, for some answers.
What is Adderall?
Adderall is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, two central nervous stimulants that improve focus and reduce impulsivity by increasing dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Adderall in 1996.
Adderall helps people diagnosed with ADHD by improving their focus and concentration since it is a direct stimulant on the central nervous system. The medication has the same effect on those who do not have ADHD, and it's important to remember that Adderall has side effects such as nervousness, restlessness, headaches, problems sleeping, and more.
Adderall withdrawal is also a serious issues, and it is extremely important that adults and children take Adderall under the supervision of a doctor.
How is Adderall prescribed for ADHD in children?
ADHD, usually first diagnosed in childhood, is the most commonly diagnosed mental disorder among U.S. children aged 2 to 17 years. “ADHD begins in childhood when the brain is developing,” Dr. Chatigny explains. “Symptoms typically develop around age 7, during the early years of childhood.”
Many studies demonstrate that parents and siblings of a child with ADHD are more ly to have ADHD themselves. “Also, there’s a lot of misinformation about what causes ADHD, vaccinations. That’s not true,” Dr. Chatigny says. “It can have other causes, such as diet, environmental exposures, and complications within the uterine during pregnancy.”
Dr. Chatigny cautions that any evaluation for childhood ADHD should involve tests to rule out other mental and medical disorders. Adderall should be considered a part of a total treatment program that includes psychological, educational, dietary changes and social aspects.
How many children with ADHD reach adulthood with ADHD?
The symptoms of ADHD in children change over time, especially as they enter puberty.
“Many children will outgrow the symptoms as their brains change and they reach puberty,” Dr. Chatigny says. “They’re learning coping skills, their cognitive abilities get better, and their ADHD sort of ‘washes out.’”
However, about 60 percent of children with ADHD will continue to exhibit some symptoms of ADHD into adolescence and adulthood. That’s about 4 percent of adults, although few get diagnosed or treated for it. Most adults diagnosed with ADHD show symptoms of inattention or distraction.
“Adult ADHD symptoms are often more mild than those of children with ADHD,” Dr. Chatigny says. “For example, children with ADHD might have problems sitting still, completing tasks, acting out and impulsive/aggressive behavior while adults are more ly to have trouble focusing and staying organized.”
How can I tell if Adderall is working?
It’s unly Adderall will make every symptom of ADHD go away, but you’ll know it’s working when some symptoms improve the ability to stay focused on a task and complete it. Adderall may be working if a person with ADHD says they are doing better at work or school.
“Adderall helps reduce symptoms of ADHD in about 80 percent of my pediatric patients,” Dr. Chatigny says. “Children with ADHD experience what’s called a paradoxical reaction to the medication. It calms them and most often improves their ability to focus.”
In people who don’t have ADHD, because Adderall produces an excess amount of dopamine, users may experience feelings of euphoria and increased energy levels, as well as possible dangerous physical and emotional side effects.
What are Adderall’s common side effects in people with ADHD?
The greatest risks and side effects occur when the medication is not used as intended or the user takes more than the prescribed dose, Dr. Chatigny says.
Stimulants can raise your heart rate and increase anxiety, so a person with high blood pressure, seizures, heart disease, glaucoma, liver or kidney disease, or an anxiety disorder should tell their doctor about them before taking any stimulant.
Is there a non-stimulant medication a person with ADHD can take instead of Adderall?
Dr. Chatigny says brand drugs Strattera and Wellbutrin are OK options for treating ADHD.
“Non-stimulant medications these and others don’t have abuse potential. However, the downside is they typically take longer to work,” she says. “Amphetamines Adderall begin to work within 30 minutes to an hour. Non-stimulants Strattera can take 4 to 8 weeks to reach maximum effectiveness at the proper dose.”
Dr. Chatigny prefers a non-stimulant treatment regime for patients with ADHD, especially in adults, because central nervous stimulants Adderall are controlled substances, meaning they’re regulated by the federal government because they have a high potential for abuse, addiction and physical dependence.
As always, talk to your doctor about Adderall, ADHD, and other medications.
Dr. Chatigny is board-certified in child, adolescent and adult psychiatry, a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, and is the medical director of behavioral health with Lee Physician Group. Her treatment interests include emergency psychiatry, treatment resistant depression, complex psychopharmacology, and substance use disorders.