BACKGROUND, SYMPTOMS & TREATMENT
Adderall is a prescription stimulant and is listed as a controlled substance. It boosts physical and mental performance and increases mood, confidence, productivity, focus and also suppresses appetite. Due to its effects, potency and easy accessibility, abuse and addiction rates are high. Read on to learn all about Adderall addiction.
ADDERALL – THE LEGAL DRUG OF CHOICE FOR MANY
Doctors prescribe Adderall to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. While it decreases the severe fatigue experienced by people with narcolepsy, it has the opposite effects of those with ADHD. People with ADHD have impairments with their dopamine and norepinephrine which Adderall treats, therefore helping to manage hyperactivity, impulsivity and attention difficulties.
Adderall addiction is classified as a stimulant use disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Edition 5 (DSM-5) by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).
Adderall is prescribed in the US so often that many people are not aware that it is actually highly addictive and can have long-term effects on the body and mind. And as ADHD diagnoses increase, so do prescriptions for Adderall. Studies show that Adderall was one of the most abused drugs in the U.S. in recent years.
FORMS OF ADDERALL
Adderall comes in two different forms – immediate-release (IR) and extended-release (XR). There is also a longer extended-release form called Mydayis that is meant to last for 16 hours. Prescribed doses range from 5 to 30 mg. Some people crush up the pills and snort them.
Street names for Adderall:
- Black Beauties
- Pep Pills
HOW DOES ADDERALL WORK?
Adderall works by increasing dopamine and norepinephrine in the central nervous system (CNS).
Norepinephrine increases alertness, arousal and attention and affects mood, memory and your sleep-wake cycle.
Dopamine creates rewarding effects and makes you feel good. Adderall produces unnaturally high levels of this ‘feel-good’ chemical, which is what makes this substance so addictive.
Eventually what happens is that the brain becomes dependent on the Adderall to stimulate alertness and productivity – without it people feel tired with mental fog and in severe cases people will not be able to feel pleasure with using the drug.
High doses of Adderall can lead to the production of high levels of a protein called ΔFosB. Once activated, the severity of addictive behaviours increases. Do note that people who take Adderall to treat ADHD may never develop an addiction as therapeutic doses don’t affect dopamine or increase production of this protein. A recent study showed that long-term use of Adderall for people with ADHD led to a reduced risk of alcohol and substance use disorders.
HOW DOES ADDERALL AFFECT THE BODY?
Like all stimulants, Adderall can affect the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, making the heart beat faster and raising blood pressure. Blood vessels constrict, causing a feeling of numbness in the extremities. It also causes you to breathe faster than usual. People with cardiovascular disease should not take Adderall.
SYMPTOMS & SIDE EFFECTS OF ADDERALL
The longer someone uses Adderall, the higher the chance they will experience side effects, many of which are permanent and irreversible. Some of the most common include:
- Sleep issues, excessive fatigue
- Decreased appetite
- Changes in mood, irritability
- Depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts
- High blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeat
- Blurred vision
- Speech problems
- Skin disorders
- Toxic psychosis
- Cardiac arrest
If you or a loved one are having issues with Adderall abuse, please get in touch with The Hills today. It isn’t easy to stop using stimulants on your own, professional treatment can help manage the psychological and physical aspects and help you on your journey to recovery.
ADDERALL DEPENDENCE vs. ADDERALL ADDICTION
Adderall addiction is a physical and/or psychological reliance on the drug that is accompanied by certain behaviours. Using the drug becomes a first priority and people will go to any length to get more when they run out, which they typically will if prescribed as they will be taking more than their recommended dose. Obsessive thoughts about Adderall and cravings are indicators of addiction.
Common signs of an Adderall addiction include:
- Needing to take more to feel the effects
- Wanting to cut down but never do
- Taking it despite knowing the harm it’s causing
- Needing it to feel alert – not being able to work or study without it
- Feeling tired and foggy without it
- Spending more money on it
- Suffering withdrawal symptoms when not using it
Symptoms of Adderall withdrawl is a strong indicator of addiction which make it hard for users to stop on their own. The withdrawal symptoms are unbearable for many people who should seek professional help in order to quit using successfully.
ADDERALL WITHDRAWL SYMPTOMS
Most Adderall users experience withdrawal symptoms within 24 hours of their last dose. Symptoms are very uncomfortable and can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on usage history.
Withdrawal symptoms include:
- Strong cravings
- Change in sleep patterns
- Increase in appetite
- Lack of energy
- Lack of motivation
- Lucid dreams
Abusing Adderall can lead to serious health problems and overdose. Signs of an Adderall overdose include:
- Chest pain
- Fast breathing
- Nausea or vomiting
WHAT IS TOXIC PSYCHOSIS?
This is when someone has a psychotic episode caused by substance use. The person may lose touch with reality and their ability to communicate and experience paranoia, hallucinations and delusions. Certain substances are known to cause toxic psychosis and Adderall is one of them.
ADDERALL AND OTHER SUBSTANCES
Some people combine Adderall with other drugs in an attempt to enhance the effects and others to relax if it’s preventing them from falling asleep. Mixing Adderall with other substances increases the risk of complications including cardiac arrest and overdose.
Some of the substances most commonly used with Adderall include:
One’s risk of alcohol poisoning is increased because Adderall’s alertness masks the effects of alcohol. Therefore, people on Adderall may not realise how much alcohol they consumed, leading to alcohol poisoning.
IS ADDERALL THE SAME AS METH?
Many people who are addicted to Adderall will turn to crystal meth when their supply runs out. The two drugs are nearly identical in chemical structure and some say the only major difference between crystal meth and Adderall is public perception.
There hasn’t been much research done but one recent study compared d-amphetamine (Adderall) with methamphetamine (meth). 13 regular meth users were given either a dose of meth, Adderall or a placebo. This was repeated over several days so each participant received multiple doses of each. Meth and Adderall caused such similar effects among participants, that even regular meth users couldn’t distinguish between the two.
WHO ABUSES ADDERALL?
Students and Professionals
Because Adderall makes people feel focused and they can stay awake for long periods of time, it’s used by students and working professionals to keep up with the demands of school and work.
Athletes may abuse Adderall to combat fatigue and enhance performance. Back in 2012, Adderall contributed to a record-breaking number of drug related suspensions in the National Football League.
People with Eating Disorders
People struggling with eating disorders or disordered eating habits may use Adderall to suppress appetite.
TREATMENT FOR ADDERALL ADDICTION
Treatment options vary depending on the severity of use as well as the person’s budget. There are many benefits in going to treatment in a destination country like Thailand. To learn more about how the program at The Hills Treatment Centre in Chiang Mai can help you, get in touch today.
Depending on the amount of Adderall being used, the team may want to provide medical supervision while they discontinue or tamper the drug from the system. Withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, depression, anxiety and fatigue can be monitored and managed with counselling and other services.
Inpatient treatment will provide you with a safe and supportive space to recover. Participating in various therapeutic sessions and activities will provide you the opportunity to learn skills to maintain sobriety. Identifying and addressing underlying mental health issues is important as well as co-occurring disorders are often present in people struggling with addiction. Length of stay varies but committing to at least a month is recommended. When you leave treatment you will be equipped with a robust aftercare plan so you will have ongoing support. Recovery is a journey and The Hills is here to help. Give them a call today to learn more.