Can Adderall Cause Psychosis and Paranoia?

It is true that Adderall use and abuse can cause symptoms of psychosis and paranoia—though, drug-induced psychosis is distinct from original psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia. But psychosis always poses dangerous and distressing side effects, and treatment is critical for both the psychotic symptoms and the drug addiction so the individual can reclaim their future.

Mason didn’t fit the stereotypical profile of an Adderall abuser. And that fact was important to him. It helped him to justify his dependence on the drug and continue the habit. As a stay-at-home father of four, he struggled to find the motivation and the commitment to the kids’ constant needs: for attention, for rides, for advice and encouragement, for entertainment, and for affection. And he felt that taking the stimulant helped him to get through the days.

But that meant Mason also had to struggle through the side effects of insomnia and headaches. And lately, his days had been getting worse with jitters and hardly any appetite. But it was when he started to experience delusions and paranoia surrounding the kids’ safety that his wife became concerned and contacted a doctor.

Regardless of the intentions behind its use, it is possible that Adderall can cause symptoms of psychosis and paranoia. Substance-induced psychosis is distinct from true psychotic disorders, but a clinical diagnosis is absolutely necessary to rule out the possibility of schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders. And it is the first step toward the best personalized treatment.

Can Adderall Use Cause Symptoms Such as Psychosis and Paranoia?

Drug-induced psychosis and paranoia can result from the use or abuse of many substances, including Adderall and other stimulants. This side effect can be dangerous for wide reasons because the individual isn’t grounded in reality. They may even experience hallucinations in the form of voices, sounds, sights, or physical feelings. They can become severely disoriented or paranoid without a real cause.

These psychotic episodes often arise with the use of Adderall or another substance and then subside once it wears off. But, in some cases, psychotic features may continue to show even long after a person has gone through detox and started on their recovery journey. The sooner someone can receive clinical attention and Adderall addiction treatment, the better chance they have to minimize symptoms and ensure long-term healing.

However, addiction complicates this positive prescription for recovery because it increases the risk of psychotic episodes. The heavier someone’s use of Adderall, the more likely they are to experience psychotic or paranoid side effects and the worse these symptoms may be. And there may be myriad reasons why someone might resist the recovery path, including a fear of withdrawal symptoms, attachment to the perceived benefits of Adderall use, and denial that there is a problem to begin with. But the long-term effects of Adderall use also include devastating physical risks on top of emotional and psychological distress. And treatment is vital.

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What to Expect from Treatment for Addiction and Adderall-Induced Psychosis

Just as Mason’s wife was able to do, it’s important to recognize the signs of Adderall abuse. This opens up the opportunity to interrupt destructive patterns and to bring some relief from the damaging side effects such as psychosis. But it’s also important that the detox and initial recovery progress safely and effectively.

When the drug wears off and yet the brain has become used to regular Adderall use, withdrawal symptoms can be very distressing and even dangerous. When a person’s level of dopamine falls and the drug does not intervene as the body is used to, they can suffer physical discomfort, insomnia, depression, anxiety, thoughts of suicide, and psychotic symptoms related to withdrawal. The only way to approach withdrawal safely is through a supervised medical detox program.

In the context of a comprehensive treatment center, an individual can undergo not only supported detoxification that is as comfortable as possible, but also a diagnosis by experienced clinicians. It is at this diagnosis stage that any co-occurring psychiatric disorders, as well as the severity of their addiction, can be identified and assessed. Because of these and other personal factors, each person’s treatment plan is unique. But, in any case, the treatment goals will include:

  1. Stabilizing symptoms of psychosis, withdrawal, and any other side effects of drug use or co-occurring disorders.
  2. Getting to the root of any underlying problems that provoke the individual to use Adderall or other substances.
  3. Developing coping strategies for dealing with stress, cravings, or other personal and interpersonal challenges.
  4. Developing an aftercare plan for the long-term recovery road following residential treatment.

If you know someone who is abusing Adderall or other substances, they could use the help of behavioral health specialists—and a caring friend or family member to help connect them with that invaluable care. As challenging as it can be to talk about addiction problems and to make these critical connections, their life is not what it could be in the grip of addiction. And they may be in danger of devastating side effects such as paranoia and psychosis. It’s time to find out more about the options available for intervention, detoxification, and holistic healing.

Alta Mira offers comprehensive treatment for people struggling with drug and alcohol addiction as well as co-occurring mental health disorders and process addictions. Contact us to learn more about our renowned Bay Area programs and how we can help you or your loved one start the journey toward lasting recovery.