Addiction to Adderall
Like other prescription drugs, Adderall can hook users who are in dire need of its healing effects. For those who do not need to use it as a medicine, it could be especially dangerous. Adderall was created primarily to treat patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but addiction to this drug is common.
Adderall is very easy to obtain. Some users who take it for recreational purposes obtain it from family and friends. The internet is another place where illegal sales of this prescription pill is rampant. Other users buy it on the street and take this drug in large doses. For ADHD patients, this drug relaxes their brains, giving them the chance to achieve greater focus.
To users who are not suffering from ADHD, the prescription medicine serves as a stimulant. Adderall lessens the body’s need for eating or sleeping while enhancing concentration and focus. Its effects are similar to the effects that cocaine has on the body. Regular use of this prescription drug without a prescription (or beyond the instructions of a prescription) could lead to addiction.
What Is Adderall?
Adderall is the brand name of a prescription drug. It is a powerful drug that stimulates the central nervous system. It is a combination of two potent stimulants, dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies Adderall as a Schedule II drug, stating that using it can create “a high potential for abuse which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.”
Doctors prescribe Adderall to patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, a disorder that can cause sudden tiredness or sleep. Patients with narcolepsy feel a decrease in fatigue after taking the drug. ADHD patients, on the other hand, experience the opposite effect. This prescription pill increases the level of dopamine in the brain, which gives its users a relaxing effect.
People who use Adderall for legitimate purposes take the tablet orally (by mouth) and the pill comes in various dosages. Other users misuse it by crushing it and snorting the powdered form. This misuse produces faster effects. Nicknames for Adderall include black beauties, pep pills, uppers, Addys, and speed.
What Is Adderall Addiction?
Adderall is a controlled prescription and is considered a positive therapeutic medication for users with ADHD and narcolepsy. However, abusing the drug can produce negative effects. This drug triggers the release of dopamine in the user’s brain. While dopamine naturally occurs in our systems, the use of Adderall can trigger the release of the chemical in the brain.
If people regularly use this prescription medication, they can develop tolerance to it. They might realize that they cannot function normally without taking the drug. The feeling of calmness and euphoria Adderall can create can prompt people to use the prescription drug more and more. Signs and symptoms of Adderall addiction include:
- Craving for higher doses of the drug to feel its effects
- Continued use in spite of the dangers
- Inability to stay alert without using the drug
- Financial problems because of prolonged use
While no one wants to develop an addiction to the drug, it is easy to see how such problems start. People might take the drug to increase their productivity during hectic times or to concentrate on studying for upcoming exams. If they are pleased with the results, people might develop an addiction and find it hard to live their lives without the prescription drug.
Users who want to experience the effects of Adderall more quickly sometimes snort the prescription drug. This process delivers a potent dose of the drug into the bloodstream. Snorting Adderall can produce several devastating effects.
Amphetamines can be fatal in any form. Snorting Adderall can create problems with the throat and respiratory system. It can damage the nasal cavity, which could require surgery to fix the sinus, nasal cavity, and nasal passage. Large doses of amphetamine can also cause irregular heart rates, cardiac arrests, and even overdoses.
The longer the user snorts the drug, the more debilitating damage it can cause to the user’s brain and body.
Understanding Adderall (Prescription Amphetamines)
Prescription amphetamine drugs such as Adderall and other medications used to treat ADHD can enhance focus and productivity in school and at work. In particular, Adderall simplifies things and makes them easier to comprehend. Students who have used the prescription drug claim that it is more effective than energy drinks or alcohol in terms of enhancing their cognitive functioning.
If people have ADHD, research shows that there is a good chance that they will respond to this prescribed drug. It can be tricky to take prescription amphetamines in effective and safe doses over time. The body can develop tolerance to the medication’s effectiveness over time, so people might take more of it. Before they know it, they might be dependent on the drug.
These prescription amphetamines do not cure narcolepsy or ADHD. Antibiotic drugs cure because they kill bacteria that cause infections. Adderall is more like wearing eyeglasses for vision problems. People only feel their effects when they use or wear it. Drugs such as Adderall only ease the symptoms of the conditions during the times it is present and active in the users’ systems.
Adderall Effects and Abuse
The effects of Adderall depend on the dosage and the method users consume it. Adderall increases levels of dopamine in the brain. This dopamine triggers the nucleus accumbens, an area of the brain that activates the reward circuit and creates pleasurable sensations.
This stimulant pill also affects the part of the brain that heightens thinking, concentration, and alertness. A lower dose of the prescription drug is ideal for treating ADHD and narcolepsy. Higher doses could lead to a number of side effects:
- Feelings of limitless energy
- Intense impulsiveness
- Fast and sprinting thoughts
- Decreased sexual drive
If people use high doses of Adderall for extended periods of time, or if they use it outside of doctors’ prescriptions, they could be abusing it and develop a dependency or addiction to it. Long-term use can create:
- Episodes of overexcitement
- Heart attack
Signs of Adderall Abuse
Adderall is a powerful stimulant and it could be difficult to identify people abusing the prescription drug. The primary reason for Adderall abuse is to increase productivity, alertness, and focus. People who abuse this drug are often achievers who are very motivated to accomplish their goals. They often do not look like the classic stereotype of a drug user. Many of these abusers are students and young professionals.
Signs and symptoms of Adderall abuse include:
- Extremely talkativeness
- Inexplicable hyperactivity or excitement
- Diminished appetite
- Financial problems
- Aggressive tendencies
- Irregular sleeping patterns, such as sleeping for unusually long periods
- Social withdrawal
Behavioral changes in the person addicted to the prescription amphetamine could include:
- Consuming the drug in nonprescribed doses and methods, such as snorting or injecting the drug dissolved in water
- Taking the drug to be alert at a particular period of time
- Stealing the drug or purchasing it from illegal sources
- Continuing use of the drug despite its negative effects
Dangers and Side Effects of Adderall (Prescription Amphetamines)
There are numerous studies stating the dangers and side effects of taking the prescription drug Adderall. Even if the user takes the medicine as prescribed by a doctor for a short period of time, the drug still can produce negative side effects, including:
- Appetite suppression and unhealthy weight loss
- Irritability and restlessness
- Altered sleep patterns
- Heart problems
Abuse of this drug could give the user a feeling of increased energy and a sense of euphoria. But, when this energy and euphoria fade, the user could experience:
- Tiredness, even exhaustion
- Problems with focusing or concentrating
Recognizing an Adderall Addiction
Because Adderall is an amphetamine, users might form tolerances to it easily. Another risky part of the addiction to this prescription drug is withdrawal. This can occur when users becomes dependent on the drug and suffer from symptoms when they stop using it or decrease their dosages. Withdrawal can produce psychological and physical signs and symptoms, including:
- Anxiety or panic attacks
- Decreased confidence
- Withdrawal from social activities
- Desire to take the drug
Common Drug Combinations
Despite the ill effects that abusing Adderall and other prescription amphetamines can cause on their own, there are many users who combine it with other substances. Some do it to increase the effects of the drugs. If Adderall interferes with their sleep, others take additional substances along with Adderall to relax and sleep. Regardless of the reasons, combining this prescription drug with other substances can lead the user to overdose and other health complications such as heart failure, comas, and even death.
Using Adderall with other substances might counteract the effects of the other substance or intensify the effects of this other substance. Drugs and substances frequently combined with Adderall include marijuana, alcohol, and cocaine.
People who combine Adderall and alcohol increase their risks of developing alcohol poisoning. The sense of alertness triggered by the drug can conceal the effects of extreme intoxication from alcohol. People using such prescription drugs may not realize the amount of alcohol they have consumed and experience alcohol poisoning.
Adderall is a popular prescription amphetamine. In the U.S. alone, doctors issued 18 million prescriptions for Adderall in 2010. This is part of a larger trend. From 2002 to 2010, the number of prescriptions for childhood ADHD jumped 45 percent.
Many people are also using Adderall without a prescription. One study found that from 2006 to 2011, “non-prescribed use of Adderall by young adults went up by 67 percent and associated emergency room visits rose by 156 percent.”
Who Abuses Adderall?
People using Adderall could be susceptible to tolerance and addiction. Users taking the prescription drug to treat ADHD might be at risk of forming an addiction. The sad thing is, if users take the drug to treat their medical conditions, medical professionals might not acknowledge such dependence if they feel that the drug is producing therapeutic effects. Nevertheless, ADHD patients taking the prescription amphetamine could potentially abuse the drug.
Other people who have access to the prescription pill could also abuse it. These people include family members or friends of people taking the drug for medical conditions. People who are working or studying and feel they need an energy booster might also abuse Adderall. If you have a mental condition such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder and are using the drug, you might also have a tendency to abuse the prescription drug.
- Students and Professionals:Adderall is designed to stimulate the brain and central nervous system. It keeps the user focused and alert. It also enables the user to stay awake and alert for a particular periods of time. These effects of the prescription drug make it very attractive to students and professionals. A substantial number of Adderall abusers are college students and young adults.
- Athletes: Athletes are also susceptible to abusing the drug. In order to stay alert and to improve their performance during competitions, they might regularly take Adderall in increasingly large doses. It seems that abuse of this drug has been common in the National Football League (NFL), as the league suspended a number of players in 2012 and 2013 for using Adderall and other drugs.
- People with Eating Disorders: One of the side effects of using Adderall is appetite suppression. This is one of the reasons why people with eating problems abuse the drug. However, using the prescription drug for this reason is very risky. A person who has an eating disorder and is addicted to Adderall needs to be treated for both issues.
Treating an Adderall (Prescription Amphetamine) Addiction
Treating prescription amphetamine addiction to a drug such as Adderall requires learning how to live without the presence of the drug. The primary step to recovery from dependence, abuse, or addiction to the drug is handling withdrawal without setbacks or relapses.
Users might find it hard to quit because of withdrawal symptoms such as depression, exhaustion, and an inability to focus. To manage such symptoms of withdrawal, patients should seek help at qualified treatment and rehabilitation centers.
Users who are addicted to Adderall often undergo detoxification (detox). The detox process helps people by removing the drug from their systems. Medical professionals can use medication and therapy to lessen the effects of withdrawal such as fatigue and depression. When Adderall is flushed from the body, people undergo therapy and seek support from family and loved ones.
Such support is very important to prevent relapses and to maintain sobriety. It is also crucial to understand the main causes behind users’ addiction. Knowing these causes can to increase patients’ chances of achieving successful recoveries.
In addition, many treatment centers offer counseling. Counseling can be vital in tracing the academic, social, and professional sources of stress that may lead the user to abuse Adderall and other prescription drugs.
Treatment and rehabilitation centers have licensed therapists that assist people in addressing their emotions. Such centers also help their clients join sobriety groups that can provide additional support from people who have experienced many of the same things.
Treatments Offered in Rehab
Various rehabilitation and treatment facilities have their own ways of helping people overcome their addiction to Adderall. Each treatment center has its own strengths and specialties. That is why it is crucial to find a center that meets the needs of the individual client.
Inpatient rehabilitation centers provide a controlled environment free from factors that may trigger clients to use Adderall and other drugs again. During rehab, clients often follow a strict daily regimen. The schedule often consists of meal times, support groups, therapy, free time, family visits, group activities, and exercise. All of this activity is focused on the welfare and recovery of the client.
From a medical standpoint, treatment facilities aid clients by slowly decreasing the dosage of Adderall. This can be effective to lessen the effects of withdrawal. Centers that provide detoxification are equipped with physicians and licensed staff who work to avoid complications during the detoxification process. Other treatments in rehab facilities may include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), 12-step programs, and holistic treatments such as yoga and meditation.
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