Adderall is prescription stimulant given for ADHD treatment. While not everyone who is prescribed or takes Adderall will become addicted to it, it is actually very chemically similar to meth. Just like with any other potent substance, using Adderall regularly will cause the user to develop a tolerance and need to increase how much they self medicate. It has become popular as a “study drug” on college campuses, though most users do not actually need it – which leads to abuse. This is where the addiction begins. Eventually, the user becomes unable to function normally without Adderall. Like other stimulants, Adderall produces unnaturally high levels of dopamine, causing the user to crave more. Once the body has developed a dependency, the user may find it impossible to think clearly or concentrate without taking more Adderall. The brain becomes so foggy that it is difficult to focus on anything. Like any other substance, there is even unpleasant withdrawal involved. As with any other addiction, professional treatment is the BEST WAY to break the cycle.
Signs of Adderall Addiction:
- Difficulty concentrating without Adderall
- Needing higher doses to feel normal
- Weight loss
- Lack of sleep
- Taking Adderall without having a prescription for it
A Gateway Drug
Adderall has a strong possibility of addiction, due to being a potent stimulant. Unfortunately, because of the current issues and epidemics surrounding use, the DEA is limiting production of Adderall, leading to a major shortage of the medication. This has a ripple effect on many men and women. Individuals who actually need Adderall are not able to obtain it through their pharmacy as normal, or the prices have gone way up. This is leading them toward trying to find it on the streets, which runs the risk of pressed pills cut with harmful narcotics. That spirals them into a dependency and addiction issue that can cause traumatic effect. Some people are giving up Adderall altogether in favor of street meth which is cheaper, stronger and easier to obtain.
Like with any addiction, Adderall users experience painful withdrawal when they discontinue use. Typically, the withdrawal takes about a day or so to show up. Most users experience the same sort of fogginess and sickening feeling as a hangover. Mood changes and irritability are very common, as is depression. Because it is a stimulant, it is likely to experience both extreme fatigue and inability to sleep simultaneously. Essentially, your body crashes from the high.
Due to these terrible feelings of withdrawal, many substance abuse victims continue to use. Anything to reduce the pain and feel what they consider to be normal. This prolongs recovery period and increases physical and mental dependency. Typically, the longer that a person uses, the worse that the withdrawal will be.
Sometimes, the effects of Adderall use are so severe that the user will rush themselves to the hospital’s emergency room. Patients state that their heart is racing, or beating out of their chest. They feel like they are on fast forward. Some even worry that they are going to die from how intense the feelings are.
Long Term Use of Adderall
Long term use of Adderall can lead to a serious mental illness called anhedonia, which is an inability to feel pleasure.
Experts say that individuals who chronically overuse Adderall complain about boredom. Many times, it isn’t so much that they have nothing to do, but that they do not enjoy or feel pleasure in what they used to because they need Adderall to feel stimulation. This is anhedonia at work.
This experience can be described as an empty existence. During anhedonia, the Adderall user will crave the euphoric high that the drug gives them more strongly than ever. This is an extremely dangerous period during which many Adderall abusers continue the cycle of using, crashing and repeating. This could potentially also lead to dangerous overdose.
Breaking the Cycle with Adderall Addiction Treatment
During drug addiction rehab, with the help of abstinence and with medical and psychological support, eventually anhedonia disappears—usually within two to ten weeks. Quality treatment programs, like Sound Recovery, also have the advantage of protecting the user against cues or reminders of past highs that make return to Adderall so tempting during a period of boredom.
Even after the worst of the withdrawal is over, there can be moments of intense Adderall craving, just like with any other stimulant. Adderall users tend to have very poor memories of the negative effects of their addiction – the physical, emotional, and social downsides — and remarkably strong memories of the euphoric moments. The bad memories, which make relapsing to Adderall less likely, usually will return after the craving period subsides. Part of a quality treatment program is helping men and women who have chosen a life of recovery to learn to survive the craving and reinforce the reasons why quitting is so important.
Compared to cravings for other drugs and substances, cravings for Adderall seem more strongly tied to external influences such as your mood, scenes, particular people or events, times of the year, problems with other people, or various objects associated with Adderall use. For the majority of users, these associations are nothing fancy or out of the ordinary: driving past a particular place, bumping into the neighborhood dealer that you used to obtain from, even watching an actor use Adderall in a movie has been reported to trigger powerful craving.
For this reason, recovery therapy for Adderall addiction is imperative. Therapy uses techniques to reduce and eliminate the power of these triggering factors. Most importantly, the Adderall abuser has chosen the path of recovery.
The truth about recovery is this: there are millions of people in the world who have abused alcohol and drugs. These millions now live full and satisfying lives without needing or wanting the vices that nearly destroyed them. They live their lives without one moment of wishing they could return to a life of unhealthy, negative decisions. Without for one moment feeling self-pity for themselves because they’re “not like other people” when it comes to chemicals. This includes a lot of people who had hit bottom so deeply that no one could imagine they could ever get up. Even some of your favorite idols or celebrities have needed help. It can include you. You can be one of the many people who have been saved from the pain of addiction.
It will take time and work – more than any other achievement you’ve ever met.
There will be moments when it may not seem worth it – where it may hurt too much.
There will be pain – but this is nothing compared to the pain of being physically and emotionally dependent on drugs or alcohol. The pain and destruction this can cause you and your loved ones is immense.
Through a life of recovery, you will see that there is simply no alternative. Success, happiness and wellness in a life of sobriety is possible and achievable. There is hope. You are not alone. We are here to help.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an Adderall addiction, please reach out to us at (877)-RECOVERY or 877-732-6837. Our team of addiction specialists make themselves available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Because We Care.