You made a promise to yourself you would only do this to get through finals. Finals have come and gone and now your life feels out of control. In fact, maybe college ended several years ago for you and you’re showing signs of an Adderall addiction.
Now you are anxious, depressed, and can’t sleep. Money problems are piling up. You are trying to stop on your own but finding it hard.
Adderall addiction is real for you. You thought it was safe enough to use a few times. Now the reality has begun to set in.
You can’t stop.
The Adderall effects were “positive” in the beginning. You feel the spiral downward. It’s getting worse.
But you ask yourself, “Am I really addicted to Adderall?” You could stop if you wanted, right?
Below are the signs and symptoms of an Adderall addiction and how to get help.
Keep reading to see if you have some of these symptoms and side-effects and how to get your life back on track.
The Reality of Adderall
The frightening reality is that Adderall is easy to obtain. It is much more affordable than other drugs which make it easier to abuse.
A recent study found that college students were twice as likely to use Adderall for nonmedical reasons than their non-college peers were (for nonmedical reasons).
Additionally, over the last several years, prescription stimulant (like Adderall) manufacturing has increased by 9 million percent. This startling fact can also be seen in this New York Times article:
“In 1990, 600,000 children were on stimulants, usually Ritalin, an older medication that often had to be taken multiple times a day. By 2013, 3.5 million children were on stimulants, and in many cases, the Ritalin had been replaced by Adderall, officially brought to market in 1996 as the new, upgraded choice for A.D.H.D.”
What Is Adderall?
Adderall is a Schedule II Controlled Substance that is prescribed in either pill or capsule form. Doctors give out prescriptions for Adderall most commonly to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Adderall is a stimulant drug containing amphetamine and dextroamphetamine that affects the Central Nervous System. It is used to help individuals with ADHD focus, stay alert, concentrate and increase productivity.
It quickly became known as “the study drug” because so many college students were abusing it to “succeed” in school. In fact, research has found that 60% of those who abused Adderall (used it nonmedically) were between 18 and 25 years old.
This medication should be monitored properly by a doctor who has been trained to monitor side-effects. When used in a normal way, as prescribed, it is started in small doses and increased as directed by a physician.
Misusing and abusing Adderall can lead to dependence and addiction.
Tolerance and dependency lead to addiction, which is ultimately a compulsive psychological and physiological need to have a particular drug.
Tolerance is seen when a person needs much more of a particular drug than usual in order to feel the same high as the previous lower dose. Dependency occurs when your body fails to function at a “normal” level when you don’t have the drug.
Addiction includes several key hallmarks. These are important signs that may indicate addiction or warning signs of addiction to Adderall:
- Taking Adderall that is not your own
- Buying Adderall from someone else
- Taking it not as directed (for example, snorting it, instead of orally)
- Misusing it by taking a higher dose or more often than you were prescribed
- Taking it for reasons other than medically indicated and prescribed
Is Adderall Safe?
Most prescription drugs have some kind of side-effects. Doctors can safely monitor these side-effects when Adderall is taken as prescribed.
But long-term abuse of Adderall can lead to serious health problems. Adderall addiction can lead to overdose and death.
The problem is that there are side-effects that many consider “positive.” These make it more difficult to stop abusing the drug. There is an illusion that the drug is “helping” the person.
Ultimately, the abuse is leading to more serious health problems, including addiction.
“Positive” Side Effects of Adderall
The “positive” side effects of Adderall are seen when the medication is taken as prescribed and at normal doses. These may include:
- Decreased tiredness
- Feeling happier and more “alive”
- Feeling more functional and productive at school and work
- Better mood/less depressed
- Better concentration
- More alert and aware
- Decreased feelings of hyperactivity and distraction
- Being able to focus better
Negative Side Effects of Adderall Addiction
When not taken as prescribed and abused, Adderall can produce several unwanted and uncomfortable side-effects including:
- Increased anxiety, nervousness, and jitteriness
- Dry mouth
- Heart rate and blood pressure increases
- Back pain
- Dizziness and headaches
- Flu-like symptoms
- Circulation problems
- Sleeping problems
Signs of Adderall Addiction
Adderall addiction can occur when dependence and tolerance are seen (as described above). But there are also lifestyle signs of Adderall abuse and addiction that a person may experience.
These may include:
- Relationship problems due to taking too much of the drug/sexual dysfunction
- Financial problems, including excessive spending, on Adderall
- Still using it even when negative consequences have been realized
- School problems, including not being able to complete work unless Adderall has been taken
- Socially withdrawing from friends and family
- Becoming unusually excited, more chatty than usual
- Loss of interest in things that were once important to the person
- Legal problems
- Personal hygiene may become a problem
- Secretive behavior
- Increased aggression or anger
- Manic episodes/increase in impulsivity
- Needing prescription refill before the actual time
- Excessive (and often quick) weight loss
- Memory problems
- Nasal and sinus problems (due to snorting the drug)
There are many long-term side-effects that people can experience from abusing Adderall over time.
These long-term side-effects, often from very high doses of Adderall, include:
- Chest pain/rapid heart rate
- Blistering and peeling of the skin
- Intense paranoia and symptoms of mania
- Vision issues
- Weakness and numbness in the extremities
- Extremely slow speech
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Twitching muscles
Adderall addiction can lead to overdose, increased risk of a heart attack or stroke, and even liver failure. Ultimately, Adderall abuse and/or addiction can lead to death.
The potential of fatal side effects and overdose increase if it is taken with other substances.
If you notice some of these signs in someone you love, it is important to talk about it. But also remember that coming off of any drug will likely require medical treatment.
Adderall will require a medical professional. With proper treatment, withdrawal symptoms can be monitored.
Potential Withdrawal Symptoms of Adderall
Stopping Adderall abruptly and without seeking medical attention can be dangerous. The symptoms of withdrawal from Adderall can be mild to severe.
If an individual has been abusing Adderall at high doses for a long period of time, the withdrawal will be much more severe.
Some of the mild to moderate symptoms may include:
- Insomnia/difficulty sleeping
- Irritability and anger
- A decrease in energy levels
The more moderate to severe include:
- Stomach pains and cramps
- Intense fatigue
- Depression and other major mood changes.
Adderall withdrawal symptoms are not the same for everyone. They can last between several days to several weeks. Withdrawal symptoms can be alleviated with proper medical care and monitoring.
It’s important to remember that Adderall is a powerful stimulant drug that affects how the brain and nervous system function.
This should be taken seriously and it is highly suggested to seek medical attention such as a detox. A detox and rehabilitation center understands the process of withdrawing from such a powerful substance.
Help is Available for Treating Adderall Addiction
Adderall addiction is a serious substance abuse problem. If you suspect that someone you care about has a problem with Adderall, there are many signs and symptoms to look for.
Substance abuse treatment is recommended for those who want to fight Adderall addiction. There are many reasons why addiction treatment is a great choice rather than trying to battle this on your own.
With treatment, you will have licensed professionals there to help you. These professionals are experienced. Treatment will help personalize the process of recovering from substance abuse problems.
Remember that you are not alone. Everyone needs help sometimes. If you or someone you love is experiencing some of the signs and symptoms listed above, it may be time to seek professional help.
Addiction treatment can help. Find out how to get your life back and live the life you were meant to live. Contact us today to find out more about our addiction treatment and rehabilitation services in Arizona or Colorado.