Adderall is a prescription medication that’s classified as a stimulant drug. Adderall, which is a brand name, is composed of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. This drug has legitimate medical uses and is effective in the treatment of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.
People with ADHD can struggle with following through on projects or focusing their attention on one thing for a period of time. Adderall can help stimulate their focus and enable them to engage in and complete tasks more effectively.
Similarly, those with narcolepsy often feel overwhelmingly drowsy during the day. People with narcolepsy have difficulty controlling proper sleep-wake cycles, and Adderall is one effective treatment for this condition. By reducing the amount of drowsiness felt during the day, those with narcolepsy can get through their day better and are less affected by sudden attacks of sleep.
Adderall is a legitimate and effective treatment for these conditions, but all too often the drug is misused for a number of reasons.
Adderall is available by prescription only and is often prescribed to both adults and children. Because of its high potential for misuse and addiction, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has classified it as a Schedule II stimulant. Because of the way Adderall can affect the chemistry of the brain, it can be very difficult for a person to quit using Adderall on their own.
Through a combination of compassionate and medically supervised detox and therapy, Serenity Lane is here to help you or a loved one overcome an addiction to Adderall for good.
In order to understand what makes Adderall addiction so hard to overcome, it’s important to understand what the drug is and how it affects the brain and body of someone who uses it.
What is Adderall?
The effects of Adderall are all a result of the ways the drug interacts with the brain. Adderall interacts with the dopamine and norepinephrine receptors in the brain and the adrenal glands. The result of these interactions is that the brain starts to release unnatural levels of dopamine, a chemical messenger that’s responsible for feelings of pleasure. This can increase the concentration of its users, leading to the effective treatment of ADHD. It can also cause feelings of euphoria or intense happiness, leading to a high risk of misuse.
Because of this high potential for addiction and misuse, Adderall is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance under the American Controlled Substances Act. It’s also part of the wave of prescription drugs that have gained popularity as street drugs over the last couple of decades. Other drugs in this category include prescription pain relievers (such as Vicodin) and sedatives (such as Xanax).
Prescriptions for Adderall and other stimulants used to treat ADHD have skyrocketed over the last couple of decades. In fact, from 2006 to 2016, total prescription stimulant use doubled, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). While this increase in prescriptions occurred lawfully, the new widespread availability of the drug helped lead to more misuse by people without a legitimate need for the drug.
How is Adderall Consumed?
Adderall is prescribed in one of two forms: tablets or capsules. In tablet form, the dosages vary from 5mg to 30mg. This form of Adderall is what’s known as instant release or IR. This means the effects of the drug are immediately felt and generally last about 4 hours.
In order to increase the “high” or the “feel good” effects of the drug, these tablets are often crushed into a powder and snorted. This way of using Adderall is particularly dangerous because the drug is absorbed by the nasal membranes and goes directly into the bloodstream, leading to more intense effects.
Adderall in capsule form is known as extended-release or XR. Adderall capsules are generally the same strength as their instant release counterparts, but they’re released over 8 hours or so.
Common Signs of Adderall Misuse
As with many drugs that are misused, Adderall addiction can at first be hard for an outsider to spot. Early on in a drug addiction, the user may be skilled at hiding their behavior. As addiction progresses, it becomes more and more difficult to hide Adderall use. That said, there are some behaviors to look out for that may suggest a family member or loved one may be misusing Adderall.
As with any drug that has strong effects on the chemistry of the brain, there are certain side effects to look out for. These can range in severity and can include mild symptoms such as dry mouth and insomnia, as well as more serious symptoms such as irregular heartbeat.
As is the case with many prescription medications, when a person is using Adderall and they haven’t legitimately been prescribed the drug, they are at a higher risk of experiencing potentially serious side-effects. If a person takes too much Adderall, they are at risk of experiencing the serious symptoms of Adderall overdose.
Signs of Adderall Addiction
When a person has become psychologically and physically dependent on Adderall, they will rely on the next dose of the drug to improve their mood, get work done, or boost their focus. Without that next dose, someone who is addicted to Adderall will have a “crash” or a period of negative energy and mood. People suffering from more severe cases of dependency may also have intrusive thoughts of suicide or self-harm when they aren’t under the influence of the drug.
In order to accurately address cases of Adderall dependence, it’s important to be able to identify some common signs. The common signs of Adderall addiction may include:
- Constantly taking higher doses of the drug to achieve the same desired effects
- Trying to cut back or stop taking Adderall with limited or no success
- Finding it hard to start or finish tasks without taking Adderall
- Feeling low on energy or extremely tired before taking Adderall
- Making more time for finding and taking Adderall by cutting out interests, hobbies, relationships, jobs, and other responsibilities
- Experiencing the symptoms of Adderall withdrawal when trying to quit or lower their dose
- Continuing to use the drug despite obvious negative consequences
Many students seek out Adderall as a convenient “study aid” to help them find extra energy and motivation. Addiction to Adderall and other substances can occur without any real warning if they aren’t used under close medical supervision.
Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms
Even if a person takes Adderall only as prescribed by their doctor, they are still at a high risk of developing a physical dependence on the drug. Stopping the use of Adderall, or significantly lowering their dose, can trigger symptoms of Adderall withdrawal in some users of the drug. As with many drugs, people who use Adderall begin to build a tolerance to the drug over time. This means it will eventually take a larger dose of the drug to achieve the desired results. This is the basis for physical dependence.
Some of the most common Adderall withdrawal symptoms include:
- Feelings of depression
- Suicidal thoughts
- Frequent mood changes
- Increased irritability or agitation
- Often feeling fatigued or slow
- Increased appetite
- Trouble concentrating or focusing on tasks
- Stomach pains/vomiting
- Physical aches
Adderall withdrawal symptoms can show up a day or two after a dependent user stops taking Adderall. How long the withdrawal symptoms will last and how severe they will be will vary on a case-by-case basis. Each individual reacts differently to withdrawal. In addition, there are many factors that can affect an individual’s withdrawal experience and how long it will last.
The longer someone has relied on Adderall, the more likely it is they will experience withdrawal symptoms for several days or a week. When a body has been exposed to Adderall for a long time and becomes reliant on it, it will take longer for the body to readjust itself.
Rehab at Serenity Lane Offers Multiple Levels of Care to Treat Adderall Addiction
Serenity Lane’s detox program is here to treat Adderall withdrawal symptoms and help you as the drug leaves your body. Our compassionate clinicians provide around-the-clock emotional and medical support. Our healthcare professionals will also monitor your vitals and create a plan for your treatment and care as your withdrawal symptoms begin to subside. We’re here to make the process of Adderall detox as comfortable as possible.
Once you’re physically and psychologically stable, the psychological part of your recovery treatment can begin. Here at Serenity Lane, we offer a full range of care that aims to teach you how to attain and maintain long-term sobriety.
Your next step toward recovery is our Residential Treatment Program.
Residential Treatment for Adderall Addiction
Residential inpatient treatment at Serenity Lane provides stabilization and crisis intervention as well as the around-the-clock, medically supervised detox program outlined above. After you complete the detox phase of treatment, our nursing staff, doctors, psychiatrists, and assigned counselors will work together to develop a treatment plan that’s created to address your specific needs in treatment.
Counseling and individual therapy sessions aim to get to the root of the complex issues behind your addiction to Adderall. Our Residential Treatment Program is typically 28 days long. The program provides intensive group therapy, individual counseling, and education about issues surrounding Adderall use and addiction in general.
Group therapy is a major component of Serenity Lane’s Residential Treatment Program. On weekdays, the group will meet each morning and afternoon to explore problems, feelings, changes, and conflicts that come up in the treatment process. Clients will be oriented to the group and assigned a “buddy.” This is someone who is further along in treatment and can help explain rules and ease the transition into the group environment.
After our 28-day Residential Treatment Program, we offer continued inpatient support. Long-Term Residential Treatment focuses on a therapeutic community for the healing and support of those who are recovering from addiction and are prone to relapse or clients who are required to undergo a specified duration of treatment (for example, those in safety occupations or healthcare professionals).
Partial-Hospitalization or Day Treatment for Adderall Addiction
Serenity Lane’s Day Treatment Program, also known as partial hospitalization, is the next level of substance use disorder care after inpatient residential treatment. Day Treatment is a great option for those looking for a comprehensive treatment program that allows them to balance the demands of their personal and professional lives. In this program, clients will attend recovery counseling and programming during the day but be allowed to go home at night.
Serenity Lane Addiction Treatment Center is Here to Help You Reclaim Your Life from Adderall Addiction
At Serenity Lane, we understand that addiction isn’t something people plan for. Especially with a drug like Adderall, the “study drug,” people who may be relying on that next dose might be surprised to find themselves addicted. We’ve been helping people in the Oregon community overcome their issues with addiction since 1973.
Our compassionate, licensed substance use counselors are waiting for your call. Contact us today at 800-543-9905 to get started.
What conditions does Adderall treat?
Adderall is most commonly prescribed to treat attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as well as narcolepsy. For people who suffer from ADHD, this stimulant drug has been shown to help improve focus, attention, and alertness. Similarly, those with narcolepsy often feel overwhelmingly drowsy during the day. People with narcolepsy have difficulty controlling proper sleep-wake cycles, and Adderall is one effective treatment for this condition.
Does Adderall change your personality?
Adderall is a stimulant drug in the amphetamine family. Because of this, it may make a person seem more alert, energetic, and talkative than usual while taking the drug. Because Adderall affects brain chemistry, it can lead to physical and psychological dependence. If a person is dependent on Adderall, they may seem depressed or anxious when they’re unable to take the drug.
Does Adderall help immediately?
The effects of Adderall are generally felt within 20 minutes of taking instant release tablets and last about 4 hours. Extended-release (or XR) capsules also take effect within 20 minutes or so but are typically effective for 8 hours or more.