How Adderall Addiction Starts
Unlike many other prescription drugs, Adderall will not cause an addiction in individuals who truly need it as long as they stick to the prescribed dosages.
However, since there is such easy access to Adderall in the medicine cabinets of family or friends, illegally over the Internet or on the street, people who have no medical need for the drug are now taking it in high numbers and in much larger doses than intended. Why is a prescription medication used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder being craved by the masses?
It is due to the fact the drug has the opposite effect on adults than on children with ADHD.
For those struggling with ADHD, Adderall calms down the brain allowing them to concentrate better. Whereas for the rest of the population Adderall acts as a stimulant, reducing the need for sleeping or eating while still improving focus and concentration. These effects are very tempting for some segments of the population.1
Adderall Abuse Addiction & Treatment Methods
According to a report by The Washington Post, more than 16 million people over 18 are using prescription medication like Adderall in the United States alone.
Addictions to prescription medication are all too common in todays society.
While many prescription drugs are legally prescribed by a doctor and cause little to no harm for most people, addiction to these drugs can quickly occur.
It can be as harmful as more stigmatized drugs such as cocaine, heroin and alcohol.
Among many of its uses, Adderall is often used to treat conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Adderall Effects And Abuse
Many people mistakenly believe Adderall is safe because it is prescribed by doctors. However, continued abuse of Adderall can lead to long-term side effects and an addiction that can be hard to break.
People abuse Adderall because it produces feelings of confidence, euphoria, increased concentration, and a suppressed appetite. These effects make Adderall a go-to choice for anyone looking for a boost in physical or mental performance.
Taking Adderall without a prescription, or in a way not directed by a doctor, is considered abuse. This includes snorting Adderall pills or taking overlarge doses to get a stronger effect.
Adderall is abused for many purposes, including:
- Weight loss
- Athletic performance
- Staying awake
Although people tend to associate Adderall abuse with high school and college students, many older people also use the drug. Most people who have received treatment for an Adderall addiction started taking it when they were approximately 23, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Who Abuses Adderall?
Adderall abuse can cause severe health-related problems, including potentially lethal overdose.
Signs of an Adderall overdose may include:
- Chest pain
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Treatment For Adderall Misuse Abuse And Addiction
If your loved one seems to be struggling with an Adderall addiction, there are treatment options available. As with other substance use disorders, professionals do not recommend that a person attempt to stop on their own. A treatment center that provides a detoxification program can help relieve many of the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms associated with Adderall abuse or addiction. Please reach out to us today so we can help you and your loved one.
Written by the Addiction Resource Editorial Staff
Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.
These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.
- You Asked: What Does Adderall Do To Your Body?
Whos At Risk For An Adderall Addiction
Teens and young adults are most affected by Adderall addiction. But anyone taking Adderall is at risk of developing an addiction.
Most people who misuse Adderall are looking for stimulation, sustained wakefulness, better concentration, more energy, or to lose weight. The following types of people are more likely to develop an addiction to Adderall:
- people with an eating disorder, like anorexia, or people trying to lose weight
- people with stressful jobs
- people with a history of drug use
Adderall can interact with a number of other medications. Youre at a higher risk of developing an addiction to Adderall if you also take any of the following medications:
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What Makes Adderall Addictive
âAdderall is addictive largely because of its stimulant qualities,â Jenna Liphart Rhoads, PhD and nurse educator, tells WebMD Connect to Care. People often take Adderall for help with focus and academic performance. It is also used to elevate mood and decrease appetite.
âThe medication works by increasing dopamineâa âfeel-goodâ hormoneâand norepinephrine levels in the central nervous systemâthe brain,â Rhoads says. People can get used to these high levels of dopamine and norepinephrine over time and feel dependent on the drug.
âWith increasing pressures to perform and availability of stimulant medications,â Lauren Madden, licensed clinical professional counselor and clinical supervisor of the Gateway Foundation, tells WebMD Connect to Care, âAdderall provides an opportunity for substance abuse due to its popularity and perceived minimal risk among those withâor withoutâa formal diagnosis.â
- Taking more than the recommended dose
- Mixing the drug with other substances, like alcohol
- Injecting the drug
Madden says the potential side effects of Adderall abuse include:
Adderall Addiction Vs Adderall Dependency
People often conflate Adderall addiction with Adderall dependency. However, most people with an Adderall addiction might develop it from illegally obtaining the drug. On the other hand, Adderall dependency most often occurs in those who have been prescribed the medication.
A dependency on Adderall can be expected when the medication is prescribed long-term to a person. A person with an Adderall dependency doesnt abuse the medication or take unnatural quantities to stimulate a high.
A person with a dependency might be weaned off the medication, while a person with an addiction to Adderall needs addiction treatment. Additionally, a person with an addiction will typically go through extreme measures to get this medication.
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If You Have Questions About Admissions Call 1
Adderall is a highly addictive prescription stimulant with effects similar to meth. Although not everyone who uses Adderall* will develop an addiction, people regularly taking Adderall at prescribed or unprescribed doses are at a high risk of becoming addicted. Over time, those habitually using Adderall develop a tolerance to the drug and are unable to function normally without it.
*Atteral, Atterol, Aderol, Aderall and Aderal are common misspellings for this stimulant prescription medicine.
Understanding Adderall Abuse And Addiction
The stimulant Adderall is commonly abused for the reasons mentioned above. It provides users with increased energy and feelings of confidence and concentration. Using the medication for reasons other than prescribed indicates abuse, and abuse can quickly lead to addiction.
Over time, using Adderall can lead to a physical dependence. Often times, with Adderall and other addictive drugs, users will develop a tolerance to the medication. What that means is that the users body becomes accustomed to having the medication and need to take more of the drug to produce the same effects they had previously. Abusing Adderall by taking more than prescribed is a slippery slope that can lead to addiction, which can result in serious physical and emotional problems.
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How Does Adderall Abuse Happen
Whether youve been prescribed Adderall, or youre getting it from another source, abuse is possible for anyone. Some of the ways people abuse Adderall include buying the drug illegally either on the Dark Web or from someone they know with a legal prescription.
People who are crushing Adderall and snorting it instead of swallowing it like a regular pill should be aware that this is a serious red flag that it is being misused. Other ways people abuse Adderall include taking a higher dosage than prescribed or popping several pills throughout the day.
For those who find themselves using Adderall for more than just staying focused, or need it to party or stay awake for a long period of time, its most likely a sign that they are abusing the medication.
Taking too much Adderall can result in a wide range of side effects like heart palpitations, dry mouth, insomnia, and excessive fatigue. Nobody should ever mix Adderall with alcohol or other drugs, particularly Xanax and other anxiety medications.
Treatment For Adderall Addiction
Preventing abuse of Adderall is the most effective treatment. When one has a relative or child who takes Adderall for medical reasons, such as ADHD, it is important to monitor its use and keep it in a safe place where others do not have access to it.
A person should never abruptly halt Adderall because of the potential for withdrawal. If one wishes to stop taking Adderall, its important to consult with a doctor first. Oftentimes, dosages are tapered down slowly to avoid an intense withdrawal process.
Behavioral therapies, such as talk therapy, group therapy, and support groups, are recommended for treatment of Adderall addiction. These approaches attempt to identify the root causes of a persons addictive behavior, to address those issues, and learn to function and cope without using drugs. Thus, these types of therapy should be catered to the specific needs of the person. In some cases, inpatient treatment may be necessary specifically, a supervised medical detoxification program followed by therapy.
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Adderall Addiction And Abuse Statistics
Almost 16 million prescriptions for Stimulants like Adderall were written in 2012, approximately triple the amount written in 2008.
users in rehab
In 2012, over 116,000 people were admitted to rehab for an addiction to Amphetamines like Adderall.
Full-time college students are twice as likely to abuse Adderall than their peers who arent in college.
What You Can Do
If you know someone who is coping with addiction to Adderall, refer them to a rehabilitation center or drug program. Arm yourself with plenty of knowledge about the drug so you can share what youve learned.
In most cases, you can rid yourself of an Adderall addiction with a little bit of determination and professional help to guide you along the path to sobriety.
For more information about addiction including alcohol abuse,treatment options, and other resources, please use our website as a starting point and visit other websites we reference.
Do You NeedHelp Finding Treatment?
Recovery Resource Center provides information on the best evidence-based treatment centers for people struggling with addiction and mental health.
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How Is Adderall Taken
You should always take it exactly as prescribed and should follow all instructions given by your doctor and pharmacist. It is important to take the exact dosage and no more or less than what has been prescribed.
Adderall is available as a tablet and as an extended-release capsule with dosages varying from 5 mg to 30 mg. The recommended maximum daily dose for adults with ADHD is 40 mg, and usually, the starting dosage is 5 mg per day. The medication is taken orally with or without food, typically 1 to 3 times a day and 4 to 6 hours apart. You should always swallow the tablet as instructed and do not try to take the medication other than as prescribed.
What Are The Symptoms Of An Adderall Addiction
People who misuse Adderall may feel euphoria after they take it. Eventually they feel the need to take higher doses in order to feel good again. As the Adderall wears off, they can begin to feel anxious and irritable. They may feel depressed.
People who misuse Adderall will likely begin to display drug-seeking behaviors. These can include:
- spending a significant amount of time and money to get the drug
- avoiding lifes responsibilities
- becoming socially withdrawn or secretive
- doctor shopping, or going to several different pharmacies to try to fill Adderall prescriptions
- manipulating, crushing, or snorting Adderall to increase or hasten its effects
- noticeably lowering their level of self-care or grooming
Once their Adderall dose wears off, theyll likely start to experience physical symptoms of withdrawal or an Adderall crash.
Adderall withdrawal symptoms can include:
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The Unlabeled Epidemic No One Talks About
Adderall is a prescription amphetamine that helps manage symptoms of ADHD. To avoid being alarmist, were far from the amphetamine epidemic levels we saw in the 1960s. But, modern America demands that we work faster, more challenging, and for less. A recent study found that about 23 percent of workers feel burned out more often than not, with another 44 percent feeling burned out sometimes.
The fact that Adderall is a prescription and controlled substance doesnt make it secure. Generic versions of the drug are available for less than $20. One study found that 97% of those who diverted their prescriptions gave it away to free peers. To break it down, 44% of the survey participants admitted to diverting their drugs, and 29% admitted inappropriate use.
Another study found 56% of college students considered study drugs easy to obtain through friends and extended social networks.
According to the CDC, approximately 6.1 million children under 18 are diagnosed with ADHD. The prevalence in adults is about 2.8 percent, according to a study in 20016. Interestingly, adult ADHD diagnosis rates increase a 26.4% increase among children than 123.3 percent among adults.
The reality is that we have an unlabeled epidemic that, if not addressed, can reach opioid-epidemic-levels before we think.
Common Symptoms Of Adderall Addiction
Adderall addiction is challenging to spot in a person.
There are fewer physical symptoms than with, say, meth or heroin addiction. However, there are similar symptoms that get experienced by the user.
Some of the more common symptoms associated with Adderall abuse may include:
- Needing larger doses to feel the drugs effects
- Not being able to finish work without the help of Adderall
- Spending a lot of time getting the money to buy a prescription drug like Adderall and a lot of time recovering from what is known as an Adderall high.
- Feeling unusually sleepy, tired and sluggish when not using the drug
- Neglecting other normal activities in favor of using Adderall
- Nausea, vomiting and chest pain
- A lack of sexual appetite
- A change in blood pressure
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Am I Addicted To Adderall
If you abuse Adderall, you likely got it with a prescription, either on your own or from someone you know. Theres a common misconception that getting a drug with a valid prescription means it cant be dangerous. But the fact is that any prescription medication can be abused in the same way as illicit drugs like heroin or methamphetamine . If you use it as advised by your physician, theres probably little risk of becoming addicted. If you misuse it, however, you can become addicted to Adderall.
Adderall is a controlled substance and classified as a Schedule II drug, which means that it has a high potential for abuse and addiction. If you need to take Adderall to function normally, you may be dependent on the drug. Once you become dependent, you might experience withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop taking it. Or you might need to take more of it to experience previous effects, which is known as tolerance. Other common signs of addiction include:
- Personality changes.
- Thinking about using and having cravings for Adderall.
- Changes in attendance and performance at school or work.
- Not meeting your responsibilities at home, school, or work.
- Changing your group of friends to people who also abuse Adderall.
- Mood swings.
How To Encourage Someone To Get Treatment
There is often a small window of time and opportunity from when a person commits to seeking treatment to when they are admitted into a treatment program. Because of this, it is beneficial to have a treatment facility picked out, to eliminate any potential barriers once your loved one agrees to get treatment.
These barriers may include the cost of treatment, room availability at the treatment facility, transportation to the facility and/or re-emerging denial that treatment is needed. It is important to be prepared for excuses of why your addicted loved one cannot go into treatment, such as needing to go to work, pay bills, take care of animals, etc.
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Myth #: Adderall Is Not Harmful
Because Adderall is a prescription medication, many people believe that it is safe and not harmful. However, it is a Schedule II drug, meaning that it has been deemed as a high risk for abuse. While it is effective when taken in the correct dosages and for medical purposes, it can be harmful for people who take it without a medical reason.
Dont Wait Get Help Now
The longer you have been abusing Adderall, the stronger your addiction can become. The withdrawal symptoms that start shortly after quitting can make it hard to stop on your own. There are many options available for treating this addiction, such as therapy and outpatient rehab. Contact a dedicated treatment provider to find help in overcoming an Adderall addiction today.
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.
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How Can I Prevent Getting Addicted To Adderall
Adderall is a stimulant medication that is used to treat conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy. It works by improving mental alertness, concentration, and attention. However, while its an effective treatment for certain disorders, its a medication that is often abused for its effects. Its a popular drug among high school and college students who use it as a study drug to allow them to concentrate and study for longer periods of time. Its also abused by people who want to lose weight or to be able to drink more alcohol and remain alert.