Adderall is an effective treatment for people who suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), when it is taken as prescribed. Unfortunately, it is a medication that is often abused. It’s believed that there are far more people who take Adderall for its effects than those who take it as directed. Adderall abuse is highest among high school and college-aged students who use it for added attention, focus, and concentration while studying. It’s also sometimes used as a means to lose weight and as a party drug (due to its stimulant effects, users can drink more alcohol while staying alert).
What is Considered Adderall Abuse?
Adderall helps a lot of people who have ADHD, decreasing symptoms of the disorder and allowing them to focus and control behavior. However, because of its effects, it has a high potential for abuse, which can lead to addiction.
Anytime you take Adderall differently than it’s prescribed, it can be considered abuse. When you obtain or take Adderall in the following ways, it’s likely abuse:
- Taking Adderall in larger doses than prescribed
- Taking Adderall more often than prescribed
- Taking Adderall for reasons other than the condition it was prescribed for (to be alert, to stay awake, for weight loss, etc.)
- Taking Adderall by chewing, crushing, or snorting
- Taking someone else’s prescribed Adderall
- Taking Adderall that has been purchased for recreational use
Students who take Adderall for increased attention and focus often believe that experimenting with the drug isn’t abuse. However, that just isn’t true. Using the medication to enhance your performance, get high, or lose weight, it is abuse. And, if you obtain Adderall, or any other controlled substance, without a valid prescription, it is against the law.
There isn’t a safe way to abuse Adderall. While it may provide you with the feelings you want, it can be a risk to your physical and mental health.
Recognizing the Signs of Adderall Addiction
The number of prescriptions that are written for Adderall has increased many times over in the last two decades, which makes it easier for people to get the medication from friends or family members. Because it’s a prescribed medication, it’s easy for people to believe that Adderall is safe, which also makes addiction to Adderall easy to overlook.
It’s important to remember that not everyone who takes Adderall has a problem with addiction. Many people take it as prescribed and are relieved of the symptoms of ADHD as a result. However, for those who do become addicted to the medication, there are some signs and symptoms that others may recognize. These indicators include:
- Stomach problems including nausea, diarrhea, or constipation
- Headaches, sometimes severe
- Dry mouth
- Problems with vision
- Trembling or shaking hands or feet
- Inability to sit still or stop moving
- Changes in appetite
- Weight loss
- Angry or aggressive outbursts and behavior
- Anxiety or nervousness
- Feeling restless
- More secrecy than normal
- Excessive and rapid talking
- Sleep problems
- Unusually excitable
Taking Adderall can be a slippery slope, especially for people who have other substance abuse issues. The key to recognizing addiction to Adderall is identifying the signs and behaviors listed above.
Addiction causes individuals to place using and obtaining a substance over everything else. They may begin to ignore things they previously enjoyed, social aspects of life, and family obligations when their Adderall use crosses the line to addiction.
While the withdrawal symptoms from Adderall are not life-threatening, they are uncomfortable, which makes it hard for users to stop taking it on their own. When someone with an addiction to Adderall stops taking it abruptly, or “cold turkey,” they will experience withdrawal symptoms that include:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Mood changes
- Irritability, agitation, and depression
- Extreme fatigue
- Stomach problems including nausea, cramping, and vomiting
- Feeling of being hungover or drunk
Fortunately, there is treatment for Adderall addiction. It begins with detoxing the body of the drug. However, detox from Adderall isn’t a sufficient long-term treatment. It should be followed with an addiction treatment program, inpatient or outpatient, to help prevent relapses and support long-term recovery.
Getting Help for Adderall Addiction
If you or a loved one is struggling with an Adderall addiction, there is help for you and recovery is attainable. At My Time Recovery, we have had success in treating Adderall addiction. Please contact us today to have your questions answered, and we will be happy to guide you in the right direction for your individual needs. Recovery is possible, and we can help.