Adderall Abuse and Addiction – Adderall (amphetamine) is a prescription central nervous system (CNS) stimulant medication indicated for the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Regular abuse of Adderall, such as taking higher than prescribed doses, puts you at high risk for developing an addiction. Those who regularly abuse Adderall develop a tolerance and become incapable of normal function when they cease drug use.
Adderall works by enhancing the effect of dopamine, a neurotransmitter, in the brain. Dopamine is responsible for feelings of reward, contentment, and happiness. Despite dopamine being a naturally-occurring chemical necessary for everyday function, at the massive levels delivered by Adderall abuse, it induces an intense, euphoric high, not unlike cocaine.
The brain of an individual addicted to Adderall requires the substance to maintain regular levels of alertness and motivate daily productivity. When Adderall is absent, Adderall addicts generally feel very tired and sluggish, experience mental fogginess, and find it nearly impossible to focus on tasks. Such symptoms are characteristic of an Adderall withdrawal, a reliable indicator of addiction.
Warning signs of Adderall addiction include the following:
- Requiring progressively higher doses to achieve the drug’s desired effects
- Persistent use of the drug despite recognizing that it is causing harm
- Not being able to carry out plans or tasks to completion without being on Adderall
- Spending too much money to acquire the drug
- Feeling mentally and physically lazy or apathetic without being high
No one ever intentionally becomes addicted to Adderall. Instead, a dangerous Adderall addiction usually begins as a rather benign social recreation or as a supplement to bolster their productivity under extra work- or school-related stress. Indeed, many people are willing to feign ADHD to get an Adderall prescription for these very reasons.
This ‘addictive’ behavior is the first step toward a full-blown addiction when Adderall becomes prioritized over everything else—including being truthful to doctors, themselves, or anyone else. The worst Adderall withdrawal symptoms can feel nearly unbearable.
When you quit a drug, its absence leaves behind a bitter chemical void until the brain can readjust back to normal. Accordingly, clear and rational decision-making becomes ever more challenging, and tragically, this is when it is most prescient. At this time, it is wise to consider counseling, therapy, or enter a drug rehab program, thereby reinforcing your chances of a successful recovery.
Adderall is a rather potent CNS stimulant of the phenethylamine drug class and is the most frequently prescribed amphetamine. In the United States, it is a schedule II controlled substance due to its significant addictive potential. In patients with narcolepsy, Adderall decreases fatigue and sleepiness, while in ADHD patients, it instead enhances concentration and impulse control.
Adderall typically comes in an oral tablet ranging from 5 to 30 mg. Against prescription, some people abuse Adderall by crushing and snorting the tablets to feel the effects faster. Some street names for Adderall include the following:
- Study Buddies
- Pep Pills
- Smart Pills
- Black Beauties
Adderall Abuse and Effects
Some people assume that Adderall is “safe” just because doctors prescribe it so regularly. Nonetheless, abuse of Adderall may result in long-term side effects and a nearly insurmountable addiction. Adderall “abuse” means to take it without a prescription or in a way not prescribed by your physician, including crushing and snorting pills or consuming excessive amounts to get high.
Individuals abuse Adderall because it induces feelings of euphoria, increased confidence, elevated concentration, and focus, as well as promotes wakefulness and suppresses appetite. Thus, Adderall can at first seem like a miracle drug that causes near-superhuman levels of mental and physical performance.
People abuse Adderall for many reasons, including the following:
- To aid in weight loss
- To support studying
- To enhance athletic performance
- To get high recreationally
- To stay awake
Who Abuses Adderall?
Students and Working Professionals
Adderall enhances a user’s focus and allows them to stay awake and alert longer than usual. As such, a shocking number of students and working professionals abuse Adderall to face the escalating demands and constant stress of school and work.
Some athletes turn to Adderall as a PED (performance-enhancing drug) that counters physical and mental fatigue both in practice and competition. In 2012, the NFL broke its record for drug-related suspensions, many of which involved Adderall abuse.
People who Suffer From Eating Disorders
Because Adderall suppresses appetite so well, it has proven highly desirable for people living with eating disorders. In the case where someone with an eating disorder becomes addicted to Adderall, they often require a treatment plan that strategically targets both problems simultaneously.
Because it is a potent CNS stimulant, consuming too much Adderall at once may cause severe adverse reactions or a potentially fatal overdose.
Adderall overdose warning signs include the following:
- Fast breathing
- Chest pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- Uncontrollable shaking
Treatment for Adderall Abuse
Adderall addiction can be treated using a comprehensive, evidence-based approach that includes psychotherapy, counseling, and group support. Our center offers both residential and intensive outpatient formats to help people recover from addiction and regain their lives.
From detox to aftercare, our professional medical and mental health professionals can provide you with the tools you need to obtain and maintain long-lasting recovery.