Adderall is one of the most commonly prescribed medications used to treat Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is also popular among high school and college students due to its energetic and focus-inducing effects. While people who take the drug as directed have no problem with it, it’s true that you can get addicted to Adderall.
Due to the widespread availability of the drug, many people have easy access to it through the means of family, friends, drug dealers, and classmates. If a person takes the drug without a medical need, they are abusing it. Furthermore, if they continue to abuse Adderall, they run the risk of getting addicted to it.
What is Adderall?
Adderall is a prescription stimulant, that when abused, produces effects that are similar to meth. The medicine treats ADHD by increasing norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain and central nervous system. It helps increase focus and control the behavioral problems commonly associated with ADHD.  It is a schedule II controlled substance due to its high risk of abuse. In addition to ADHD, Adderall is also prescribed to treat narcolepsy, a daytime sleep disorder. The medication helps people with narcolepsy stay awake during the day.
Depending on the dose, patients may take the medication by mouth 1-3 times a day. However, it is advised not to take the medication at night as it can lead to insomnia and poor sleep quality. After taking the drug for an extended period of time, people may develop a tolerance to their prescription dose, therefore, requiring a higher dose to treat their disorder. Tolerance also occurs similarly in people who abuse the drug recreationally and get addicted to Adderall.
How do People Get Addicted to Adderall?
Although this medication helps many people with serious disorders, some people abuse Adderall and get addicted to it. One’s risk for addiction increases if he or she has an existing substance use disorder, abuses the drug, has a family history of addiction, or the existence of any other mental health condition.
One group of people who abuse Adderall significantly more than others are high school and college students. A study found that 60% of nonmedical Adderall use was among individuals aged 18-25. Since the drug promotes high energy levels and alertness, many of this group get addicted to Adderall after abusing it to study or complete projects. However, anyone can abuse the drug if they are trying to stay awake or concentrate. For example, business executives may abuse the drug to focus on work and deal with stress, others may abuse the drug to have more energy to stay out late while drinking or partying, and some may use the drug to suppress their appetite and fuel an eating disorder.
The medication can be swallowed, crushed, and even injected by people who abuse it and are looking for an immediate high. Some people end up getting addicted to the confidence and euphoria that Adderall produces. Repeated use of the drug then leads to tolerance and physical dependence. Essentially, the mind and body begin to crave more and more of the drug to feel the euphoric and energetic effects of it. Consequently, Adderall addiction takes hold.
Signs & Symptoms of Adderall Addiction
When someone gets addicted to Adderall, their brain is unable to concentrate without it. They may become sluggish, tired, and seem lazy. These are all signs that someone is physically dependent on Adderall and may be addicted. Other signs of addiction include:
- Requiring higher doses to feel the effects of the drug
- Having a desire to stop using it but being unable to do so
- Taking the drug even when it causes some type of harm
- Having an inability to focus and function without the drug
- Spending excessive amounts of money on the drug or doctor shopping
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not using
- Ignoring home, family, work, or social obligations
- Changes in sleep patterns, mood, and energy levels
- Weight loss, hyperactivity, and dilated pupils
While most people who abuse Adderall don’t intend to get addicted to it, addiction can happen. If you or a loved one is addicted and can’t stop on your own, it’s time to get help from a professional drug rehab near you.
Withdrawal Symptoms and Medical Detox
If a person who takes Adderall regularly, whether they are abusing it or taking it as prescribed, quits taking the drug, they may experience withdrawal symptoms. Stimulant withdrawals are less severe than alcohol or opioid withdrawal, but they still produce challenging symptoms such as insomnia, mood changes, depression, and fatigue. Individuals should consult with their doctor before going to treatment for Adderall addiction or before switching medications. Moreover, if someone is abusing Adderall recreationally, he or she should check into a medical detox program instead of trying to stop on his or her own.
After detox, most patients are encouraged to complete a drug rehab program. Dual diagnosis programs are tailored to meet the needs of patients who have ADHD and get addicted to Adderal. For others, a comprehensive treatment plan can help set the foundation for recovery from stimulant addiction. Obtaining the help of a licensed therapist and a compassionate treatment center will increase your chances of staying sober and overcoming your addiction to Adderall.