In our fast-paced society, stimulants like Adderall can be very appealing to people wanting to up their performance level. A combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, the drug increases heart rate and the production of neurotransmitters like dopamine. Adderall is known for heightening one’s ability to focus, feel alert, and be productive. But if you take Adderall without really needing it, you run into problems. Since it’s easy to build up a tolerance, many people find themselves quicklybecoming addicted to it. They crave the same high but need a higher dosage to attain it. Adderall abuse can be very difficult to recover from, and usually requires professional help.
Spotting an Adderall Addiction
Prescriptions for stimulants like Adderall have been on the rise for many years: according to the DEA, they increased nearly 40 percent between 2007 and 2011, and have been continuing to rise ever since. Adderall is normally prescribed to treat people with ADHD or narcolepsy, and someone using Adderall for recreational purposes will suffer health risks. Former addicts, college students and professionals in high-pressure environments are particularly vulnerable to Adderall abuse.
Because the drug helps them study and perform well, it can be tricky to spot an addiction at first. Sometimes it initially looks like the person is actually doing better than ever. Still, as with any addiction, there are signs to look out for. You might notice your loved one has lost a lot of weight in a short period of time, appears markedly happier, and seems more productive for no visible reason. Another clear warning sign is if they’re obtaining Adderall from anywhere other than a doctor, or if they are getting multiple prescriptions from multiple physicians.
Consequences of Adderall Addiction
Adderall abuse can escalate very quickly because it’s so easy to develop a tolerance to the high. Soon people need a larger dose to feel the same high, often resorting to snorting Adderall to increase potency. This is very dangerous, especially for people with a heart condition, an alcohol problem, mental illness, or high blood pressure. Withdrawal symptoms of Adderall present another challenge: in between dosages, users can feel extremely fatigued, unmotivated, and depressed, sleeping for days on end in between periods of manic highs.
There are many serious life consequences from prolonged use of Adderall. Your loved one might exhibit erratic and scary behavior: in addition to becoming violent, paranoid, and quick to anger, they can also suffer from delusions and severe moodiness. For family members and friends, a prolonged Adderall addiction causes the user to shut off from reality and relationships. And while withholding the drug might seem like the only solution, this can lead to severe ramifications, including psychotic breakdowns or even suicide.
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The Importance of Treatment
Because Adderall abuse can escalate so quickly, it’s never too early to seek treatment. The path to recovering from Adderall is somewhat similar to that of cocaine or other stimulants. It can be very difficult to recover outside of a dedicated treatment center due to the uncomfortable onset of withdrawal symptoms. Most people want to take Adderall as soon as they start experiencing the comedown. Detoxing in a compassionate, medically supervised space greatly increases the chance of success.
Like any addiction, Adderall abuse almost always coincides with deeper issues or co-occurring disorders that someone is dealing with, such as depression, anxiety, or self-harm. Treating the addiction requires that the root problems be identified and addressed. Using a tailored combination of holistic and evidence-based approaches—such as group and individual therapy, experiential therapy, exercise, and spiritual workshops—can be a path to healing. If you think someone you know is suffering from an Adderall addiction, seek help today.