Adderall is known for its habit-forming properties and if not taken as prescribed may become addictive.
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What Exactly is Adderall?
Adderall is a prescription medication composed of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. When combined, these drugs are used to be a central nervous system stimulant. Adderall is a prescribed stimulant typically used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as well as narcolepsy. Considered to be a cognitive-enhancing drug, Adderall can help with motivation, concentration, and attention for those who use it properly.
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Adderall Addiction Explained
Although chemically similar to methamphetamines, Adderall is legal when prescribed by doctors. However, Adderall is commonly used illegally without a prescription. Because Adderall works by increasing dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the central nervous system, users may experience euphoria, which creates a rewarding effect in the brain.
Known as a “study drug”, Adderall is often used by many college-aged students to study for exams and stay awake for long periods of time. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an estimated 6.4 percent of college students between the ages of 18 and 22 have used Adderall recreationally.
Those with a prescription to the medication will oftentimes misuse the drug by taking more than prescribed. Additionally, those without prescriptions may look to buy the drug from friends or family members who have a prescription or even on the streets. Street names for Adderall include addies, beans, black beauties, speed, and uppers.
Adderall is highly addictive when not taken as prescribed. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has classified Adderall as a Schedule II drug due to its high potential for abuse which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependency.
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We treat a number of addictions & co-ocurring disoders at Arista Recovery.
While many substances can become addictive, several drugs are most commonly used in the United States and are more addictive than others. Cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, benzodiazepines, and opioids are the big five substances most commonly abused.
The Risks of Abusing Adderall
Those who misuse Adderall may build a quick tolerance for the drug, requiring a higher dosage than before. Therefore, recreational Adderall users are more susceptible to addiction to the drug.
Mixing Adderall with alcohol presents a serious risk and has potentially fatal consequences. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant while Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant. When taken in conjunction, these two substances may cause alcohol poisoning, coma, heart attack, or even a life-threatening overdose.
Adderall addiction is especially dangerous in individuals who have pre-existing conditions such as heart disease, heart defect, or high blood pressure, as Adderall is known to increase blood pressure and heart rate. Adderall users who experience chest pain, dizziness, or other heart problems should seek medical care immediately.
Overdose on Adderall is unlikely but still possible, especially combined with other substances. The drug can have a negative interaction with blood pressure medications, antidepressants, cold or allergy medication, antacids, and a multitude of other medications. Signs of an Adderall overdose may include vomiting, rapid breathing, stomach pains, tremors, and hallucinations.
Signs of Adderall Addiction
Extended misuse of Adderall can have severe short and long-term effects on the brain, body, and personality. There are specific signs to look for when someone may be misusing Adderall.
Additional signs of Adderall addiction may include the inability to do work without Adderall, needing a larger dose to feel the drug’s effects, or neglecting responsibilities to get high.
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Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms
Those who misuse Adderall for prolonged periods may become physically dependent on the drug. If someone were to abruptly stop taking the drug, they can potentially suffer from withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal from stimulants causes the body’s dopamine levels to drop, and the body and brain must relearn to function normally without the drug.
Symptoms of withdrawal from Adderall can include violent mood swings, depression or irritability, paranoia, anxiety, and severe drowsiness. The first steps of withdrawal include the inability to focus or function normally. Withdrawal from Adderall is rarely dangerous on its own but may prompt suicidal thoughts.
The duration of withdrawal symptoms varies from person to person. Some may experience symptoms for a few days while others may experience symptoms for several weeks. Factors that influence the amount of time it takes to withdrawal from Adderall include dosage, frequency, and duration of use. Those who took larger doses more frequently can expect withdrawal symptoms to last longer.
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Adderall Addiction Treatment & Recovery
Currently, there are no FDA-approved medications to treat Adderall addiction. However, a combination of medical detox and behavioral therapy is recommended for those with a stimulant use disorder.
While detoxing from Adderall is rarely dangerous, it is not easy to tackle alone. In order to avoid a relapse during the withdrawal period, behavioral therapy is recommended. Adderall addiction may be treated with co-occurring disorders such as anxiety or depression.
The first step to adderall addiction treatment begins with recognizing there is a problem. If you believe you or a loved one suffers from an addiction to Adderall, Arista Recovery is here to help on your journey to recovery. We treat patients on a case-by-case basis, so each treatment plan is tailored to each patient specifically.
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Commonly Asked Questions
Adderall is classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a Schedule II substance. The Schedule II classification is defined as drugs that have a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence. Adderall is highly addictive, especially when taken outside of its prescribed use.
Adderall addiction can present several signs and symptoms. Common signs of Adderall addiction include severe changes in mood, doctor shopping, and ingesting Adderall in other forms such as snorting or injecting.
A loved one who is addicted to Adderall needs all the support they can get. You can start by showing care and compassion, recommending treatment, and helping begin the recovery process.
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