Are you feeling stuck?
Let’s take a moment for a reality check.
Adderall (amphetamine salts) can be addictive. In fact, using this strong stimulant without a prescription can lead to long-term side effects, including physical dependence on Adderall or Adderall addiction. And addiction can be hard to break! But, here’s the important question:
How do you know if you have a problem with Adderall in the first place?
In this article, we cover the common signs of abusing Adderall. Then, we describe the effects of taking Adderall over time… and how to address an Adderall problem for yourself or a loved one. At the end, we welcome your questions and concerns in the designated comments section. We try to respond to all of our reader’s questions!
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Struggling with Adderall abuse?
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What is Adderall abuse, really?
Adderall – a combination of two stimulant drugs, amphetamine and dextroamphetamine – is a medication used for the treatment of people diagnosed with either attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or narcolepsy. Despite its medical usefulness, Adderall is a drug with a high abuse potential.
But, what exactly does “Adderall abuse” mean?
Drug abuse occurs any time that you take a prescription drug outside of prescription guidelines. Any of the following activities associated with obtaining and administering Adderall count as [illegal] drug abuse.
Adderall abuse includes:
- When you take higher doses of Adderall than prescribed.
- When you take the medication more frequently than prescribed.
- When you take Adderall through a non-approved method like chewing, or crushing and snorting.
- When you take Adderall for reasons other than medical need, such as to stay awake for long periods of time, to lose weight, or to enhance physical or mental performance.
- When you take someone else’s medication.
- When you buy Adderall from an illicit source for recreational use.
Adderall Problems are Medical in Nature
Recent studies have shown that the number of people who are using Adderall for therapeutic reasons is smaller than the number of those who use it for effect. Thus, the majority of Adderall users seem to be abusing the medication for recreation or enhancement of mental and physical performance.
However, drug problems are hugely stigmatized. It can be difficult to ask for help. Know that Adderall problems are medical in nature. While you may feel ashamed to have a problem with Adderall, it’s actually quite common. And treatable!
In fact, we’ll cover how drug problems are treated a little further in the text. So, continue reading. Or, reach out today. You don’t need to struggle alone any longer.
Why not get help before things get out of hand?
The earlier, the better.
You are never alone.
Does experimentation = abuse?
When you experiment with Adderall to enhance performance, you are abusing the stimulant drug. Furthermore, using Adderall without a prescription is illegal. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), any obtaining of a Controlled Substance without a doctor’s prescription and using it in ways, doses, or frequency other than suggested is considered to be abuse.
But, you may be thinking:
“I need Adderall to help me lose weight.”
“I will take Adderall just this one time to help me study.”
“Adderall works great to boost my physical performance.”
“Taking Adderall is fun and gets me high.”
“I have to take Adderall to help me stay awake.”
This kind of dabbling can lead to problems down the road.
A: Because there is no such a thing as a “safe” way to abuse Adderall.
In other words: Adderall can mess with you big-time. People use Adderall because it produces feelings of confidence, euphoria, increased concentration, and suppresses their appetite. However, while these effects might make Adderall tempting for someone looking for a boost in physical or mental performance…they come with a price. When you take Adderall without a prescription, you risk damage to your physical health and your mental health.
How can you tell if you’re abusing Adderall?
Main signs of Adderall abuse
If you suspect that you or a loved one might be getting out of the rails with Adderall use, you can look to detect some tell-tale signs of a problem. A person abusing Adderall may exhibit the following signs:
Physical signs of abuse
- Changes in vision
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Dryness of the mouth
- Loss of appetite
- Uncontrollable shaking in hands or feet
- Unintentional weight loss
Psychological signs of abuse
- Aggressive behavior
- Being overly talkative
- Secretive behavior
- Sleep problems
- Unusual excitability
Recognize some of these signs of abuse in yourself or a loved one? Don’t ignore the early warnings! It is important to deal with Adderall abuse before your “harmless” and “recreational” use lead to dependence or Adderall addiction. In fact, the sooner you seek help for a drug abuse problem, the better your chances for living a sober and fulfilling life.
Your age and your risk potential
Adderall abuse is generally associated with high school and college students. However, many post-college adults also abuse the drug. In fact, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) most people who have received treatment for an Adderall addiction started taking it when they were approximately 23 years of age.
Adverse effects of Adderall abuse
Some of the commonly mentioned health side effects of Adderall abuse include:
- Cardiovascular problems
- Damage to nasal cavities (if snorted)
- Loss of appetite
- Weight gain or loss
- Withdrawal symptoms
But, your diminished physical and mental health is not the only aspect of your life that can be impacted by drug abuse. In fact, abusing Adderall can lead to serious effects on all aspects of your life including social, financial, and legal difficulties. These may include:
- Co-occurring abuse of other medications and illicit drugs (dual diagnosis).
- Financial troubles.
- Legal problems.
- Strained interpersonal relationships with friends and family.
- Problems with advancements in education or career due to Adderall abuse.
Treating Adderall abuse
Effective treatment programs work by looking at both the physical and mental aspects of a drug problem. In fact, a successful rehab program will first help you to identify your current state and then help define what you need in order to become drug-free. Reputable treatment should be individualized and customized to meet your unique needs. This is why treatment always begins with a thorough assessment, including:
- A physical exam
- A psychological interview (1-2 hours)
- A medical and family history
- Drug screening or testing
Treatment experts report that the most effective approaches to treating an Adderall use disorder involve a mix of medical supervision and psychological interventions. Together, these interventions aim to help you safely remove Adderall from your system, uncover and address the reasons why you started to abuse Adderall in the first place, and become more equipped to abstain from using drugs in the future. A description of each follows:
1. Medical Supervision of an Adderall problem = The first step in treating Adderall abuse is to address your body’s chemical dependence. If you’ve been abusing the drug for a period of time, you can expect Adderall withdrawal to occur as traces of amphetamine start to leave the system. Common symptoms of Adderall withdrawal include:
- Abnormally long sleep cycles
- Dysphoria (generalized dissatisfaction with life)
- Extreme fatigue
This is why it is important to be medically monitored and provided adequate medications to manage the Adderall detox effects and withdrawal symptoms as they occur. Although currently there are no approved medications used to treat Adderall withdrawal, doctors may prescribed short term use of antidepressants, or will use specific interventions when required. You can also help treat Adderall withdrawal with over-the-counter medications that treat flu like symptoms, cramps, and insomnia.
2. Psychotherapy and Behavioral Therapies = A big part of Adderall abuse treatment is involvement in psychotherapy and behavioral therapy. You will undergo individual, group, and/or family counseling during the course of your treatment program. Commonly used therapies include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Dual Diagnosis Treatment
- Educational Sessions
- Family and/or Couples Therapy
- Medication Maintenance Therapy
- Motivational Interviewing
9 sources of help for an Adderall problem
You can get help for Adderall abuse from a number of different medical professionals.
1. An Adderall Abuse Helpline – One of the most convenient ways to get professional information, guidance, and help for Adderall abuse is to CALL OUR HELPLINE. Conversations are toll-free, anonymous, and completely confidential. You can ask questions, talk to someone who is experienced in the area, and get the help that you need without revealing your name or any personal information.
2. Drug Treatment Centers – These facilities accept and rehabilitate individuals who face an Adderall use problem. Adderall addiction treatment programs are held in either inpatient or outpatient settings and can include a combination of pharmacological, psychological, and behavioral treatments.
3. Your Prescribing Physician – Your own doctor can provide assessment, referral, and medical exams in cases of Adderall addiction. Doctors can also help you address Adderall dependence by setting up an individual tapering program, and educate you about possible consequences of drug abuse.
4. Addiction Specialists – Doctors who are Certified Addiction Specialists are experts in helping people addicted to drugs like Adderall, especially on recurrent cases of abuse.
5. A Psychiatrist – These mental health doctors can help you address Adderall dependence and addiction through psychotherapy and administering medicines.
6. Licensed Clinical Psychologists – These health professionals can help diagnose and treat people experiencing Adderall use disorder. Recovery through psychotherapy is administered in an individual or group setting, and can also involve the family.
7. Your Local Pharmacist – Pharmacists provide instructions for proper use of prescription drugs like Adderall and can help advise you on a tapering calendar and best practices for slowly lowering Adderall dosing. But keep in mind that pharmacist can fill your prescription for Adderall for medical purposes only. Adderall prescriptions are closely monitored by pharmacists to prevent fraudulent prescriptions and to detect early signs of drug abuse.
8. Poison Control Center – Calling the Poison Control Center hotline is your best source of first-aid help in case of an Adderall overdose.
9. Licensed Clinical Social Workers – These professionals play an important part in treatment of drug abuse, including Adderall addiction. Social workers can help refer Adderall abusers to appropriate and affordable drug treatment centers in their living area, ensure the wellbeing of the family unit (especially children) and monitor progress outside the treatment facility.
Got any questions?
We strive to help all our readers find a safe and effective way to resolve their substance use. One way we try to help is by answering the questions you are trying to learn the answers to. We welcome you to post your questions and comments in the designated section below and do our best to provide a personal and prompt response to all legitimate inquiries.