Overview of Adderall Use and Abuse
- Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant that is prescribed to treat symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
- Many students use the drug non-medically to stay awake and study.
- Other people may use it to lose weight or simply for its effects of euphoria.
- Symptoms of Adderall addiction include tolerance, withdrawal, consistent failure to quit or cut down on use, cravings to use the drug, and spending large amounts of time obtaining the drug, using it, and recovering from its effects.
- Long-term abuse of the drug can lead to kidney damage, insomnia, intranasal damage from snorting it and marital, financial and personal problems.
What Is Adderall?
Adderall is a brand name for a prescription drug that contains a compound of both amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It is typically prescribed to treat symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, adolescents and adults. Adderall has also proved effective in treating narcolepsy.
Adderall carries high potential for abuse and dependence. It is a popularly abused recreational drug due to its stimulant effects--which can include euphoria, heightened alertness, reduced fatigue and improved sense of well-being.
Individuals who have developed a dependency to Adderall or other stimulant medications may require specialized substance abuse treatment, as they are at increased risk for experiencing depression and suicidial thoughts upon withdrawal from the drug.
How It Affects the Brain
Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant. It works in part by first increasing the release of and then blocking the reuptake of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine. As a result of obstructing the reuptake process, concentrations of norepinephrine and dopamine build up, producing intense sensations of gratification and euphoria.
- Black beauties.
- Pep pills.
- Double trouble.
Adderall Treatment and Covering Recovery Costs
Rehab options for Adderall addiction include:
Outpatient . This type of treatment does not involve living at the rehabilitation program. You come to the center on certain days of the week for a few hours at a time. Outpatient includes many of the same services as inpatient.
Dual diagnosis . Dual diagnosis facilities can treat an Adderall addiction in addition to any mental health problems you or your loved may be struggling with. Some people who develop an addiction to Adderall were originally prescribed it for ADHD, and the ADHD needs to be addressed during treatment along with other mental health conditions the user may have such as depression or anxiety.
Besides deciding on an inpatient or outpatient program, there are some other things you'll want to look at in a substance abuse treatment center. Here are a few other things to consider in an Adderall rehab program .
How to Pay
If you don't have insurance, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's helpline can help you find a program in your area.
How Is It Used?
Individuals may crush the pills, then snort the drug or inject it directly into the blood stream, which can produce even more intense sensations of euphoria. This is extremely dangerous.
Reasons People Abuse Adderall
- Feel its effects of increased alertness, focus and attention.
- Stay energized and focused during sports practices or games.
- Lose weight due to its effects in appetite suppression.
If taken orally
If snorted or injected
The short-term effects of Adderall include:
Elevated sense of well-being.
Increased body temperature.
High blood pressure.
Rapid heart rate.
Some of the most common long-term effects of continued misuse of Adderall include:
- Intranasal damage (from snorting).
- Perforated nasal septum.
- Bleeding nasal mucosa.
- Track marks.
- Phlebitis or inflamed, often collapsed veins.
- HIV, hepatitis and other infectious diseases.
- Tolerance and withdrawal symptoms.
- Slower height and weight growth in children.6
- Skin inflammation, infection and/or abscess at site of injection.
- Paranoid delusions.6
- Memory deficits.6
- Muscle tics.
- Weight loss.
- Erratic behavior.
- Kidney damage or failure.
- Convulsions, coma and death.
Adderall is an amphetamine, so its withdrawal symptoms are similar to other amphetamines. Symptoms can begin anywhere from a few hours to a few days after use has ceased, depending on the severity of addiction, length of time abused and dosage taken.
Symptoms can last anywhere from 5 days to 3 weeks. 5, 7 Medical supervision is not required but it is strongly encouraged, due to the presence of severe depression and suicidal ideation. 8
- Attention and concentration disturbances.
- Psychomotor retardation or agitation.
- Slow movements.
- Insomnia or hypersomnia.
- Increase in appetite.
- Graphic, distressing dreams.
- Slow heart rate.
- Inability to feel pleasure.
- Feeling of unease or dissatisfaction.
- Suicidal ideation. 5
Signs and Symptoms of Addiction
If you or someone you love has experienced 2 or more of the following symptoms over the course of a year, you may be suffering from an Adderall addiction: 5
- Consuming Adderall in larger doses or for longer than intended.
- Consistent failure to quit or cut down on Adderall use.
- Spending excessive time acquiring, using and recovering from the effects of Adderall.
- Severe cravings for Adderall.
- Consistent Adderall use despite inability to meet school, work or home responsibilities.
- Continued Adderall use despite social or interpersonal problems caused or aggravated by drug abuse.
- Abandonment of hobbies in favor of Adderall use.
- Using Adderall in physically dangerous situations.
- Continuing to use Adderall despite physical or psychological problems that may have been worsened or caused by Adderall use.
- Tolerance (needing more of the drug to achieve the same effect).
How Addictive Is Adderall?
How Many People Abuse It?
In 2008, approximately 6.4% of college students (age 18-22) misused Adderall. Of abusers, nearly 90 percent reported being binge drinkers.
Additionally, college students who abused Adderall were far more likely to have used marijuana, prescription painkillers, cocaine and prescription tranquilizers than their counterparts who did not misuse Adderall.
According to one study on college students, 13.3% of freshmen, 17.9% of sophomores, 20.1% of juniors, and 16.1% of seniors used prescription stimulants such as Adderall without a prescription.
Overdose can occur with Adderall, resulting in an overstimulation of the central nervous system.
Overdoses of stimulant medication can lead to very serious cardiac problems, including hypertensive crises, cardiac rate and rhythm abnormalities, or even sudden death from cardiac arrest.
Call 911 immediately or visit the local emergency room if you or someone you know may be suffering from an Adderall overdose.
- Muscle twitches or convulsions.
- Visual or auditory hallucinations.
- Increased heart rate.
- Dry mouth.
- Chest pain.
Perhaps the group at highest risk for developing a stimulant addiction is college students.
A study estimated that 5% to 9% of high school students and 5% to 35% of college students reportedly abused Adderall the year before the study. Between 16% and 29% of students were asked to give away or sell their Adderall obtained by prescription.
Adderall abuse is most common in Caucasians, fraternity brothers and sorority sisters, and students with low grades. Immediate-release Adderall is a more popular choice compared to extended-release
Reasons for Abuse
Students report abusing Adderall for the following reasons:
- Getting high.
- Staying awake.
- Improved alertness.
A 2016 Recovery Brands survey found that 63% of people between 18 and 28 years old get access to doctor-prescribed stimulant medications from friends. More than 20% get them from family members, more than 18% from a schoolmate, and more than 14% from a dealer.
Those with doctor approval for these medications can keep tabs on their prescribed ADHD medications to protect at-risk young men and women from misuse and its consequences.
Find Treatment for Adderall Addiction
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