Adderall Addiction Treatment and Recovery

Adderall is a well-known stimulant medication that is used to treat people who have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). When taken as directed, it can help people concentrate better, control their impulses, and keep them alert. It can also be prescribed for people who have narcolepsy so they can stay awake during the day. Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that causes a person to suddenly fall asleep or have difficulty staying awake.

As helpful as Adderall can be for conditions like ADHD and narcolepsy, it’s also one of the most commonly abused stimulants on the market. In June 2010, the Huffington Post called Adderall “the most abused prescription drug in America.” Learn more about how Adderall addiction develops and how you can get treatment for it. 

What is Adderall?

Adderall is a combination stimulant comprised of two active ingredients:

  • Amphetamine. Amphetamine is a stimulant that forces the brain to speed up certain functions, and it can make you feel more focused and awake. Though its use is legal when it’s prescribed and medically supervised, it has a high potential for abuse. 
  • Dextroamphetamine. This is similar in structure to amphetamine and blocks the reuptake of dopamine, which produces feelings of happiness and pleasure. This contributes to concentration and focusing abilities.

Adderall treats ADHD in children as young as 3 years old, and it can be used in adults as well. It can also treat narcolepsy in people who are at least 12 years old. Doctors will start you at the lowest possible effective dose. You can build a tolerance to Adderall, so it may not work the same over time. You will gradually receive higher doses, depending on how you respond to Adderall.

There are two formulations of Adderall:

  • Immediate-release is usually taken every four to six hours, two to three times daily.
  • Extended-release (Adderall XR): is taken in the morning and lasts the whole day.

Side effects of regular Adderall use include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Moodiness
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • Stomach issues
  • Depression

These side effects aren’t severe and they will most likely go away over time. Men may also experience erectile dysfunction (ED) when taking Adderall. To avoid this, you can ask your doctor for a lower dose that can handle ADHD effectively while not causing ED. You should also avoid taking Adderall before intercourse.

Sleep and Adderall Use

Adderall is also known to cause sleep issues in teenagers with ADHD. This is because of the concentration issues that affect them can also make it difficult for them to fall and stay asleep.

It’s up to you and your doctor to make sure your child or teenager gets enough sleep. Ensure that your child takes Adderall at an appropriate time. A proper dosage allows your child to concentrate during school hours and focus enough to study at night but still allows them to relax enough to fall asleep.

Can You Be Addicted to Adderall?

Adderall abuse can rapidly lead to dependency and even addiction. The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health reported that between 2006 and 2011, a rising number of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 abused Adderall. In addition, recreational use of Adderall rose 67 percent. Most of these people illegally obtained Adderall from friends or family.

Experimentation with Adderall may start as a one-time choice, but the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that misuse of prescription medication has risen steadily between 1999 and 2016.

Is Adderall Safe?

Adderall is safe when it’s prescribed and taken at the right dosage. However, if it’s consistently taken by people who don’t need it at the wrong dosage, it has a high potential for abuse. People who abuse Adderall usually obtain it from family or friends who have a prescription. Between 2006 and 2011, visits to the emergency room involving Adderall abuse rose 156 percent.

Signs and Symptoms of Adderall Abuse

The following are common signs that you are abusing the medication:

  • Becoming anxious once Adderall’s effects begin to wear off
  • Crushing Adderall so you can snort it and feel its effects more quickly
  • Chewing Adderall pills
  • Spending significant time and money in an effort to obtain more Adderall
  • Combining Adderall with other substances of abuse, including alcohol
  • Taking Adderall in higher or more frequent doses than your doctor has instructed
  • Taking Adderall that has been prescribed to someone else
  • Taking Adderall for pleasure (to get high).

Not everyone who abuses Adderall conforms to the typical “doctor shopper” stereotype or visits dangerous drug dealers in order to get their hands on it. 

adderrall addiction treatment information

Risks of Adderall Abuse

Healthline says that teens and young adults trying to do well in competitive environments are at high risk of Adderall abuse.

Adderall abuse usually begins with the innocent intention to keep up with a stressful job, to stay up late to study for a test, or to do well in sports. Other risk factors for abusing Adderall are the desire to lose weight or the presence of an eating disorder. This is because one of Adderall’s side effects is the loss of appetite.

Once a person has begun using Adderall for the desired effects, it becomes hard to imagine being able to maintain without the drug. Therefore individuals continuously take the drug in order to keep up with work, school, or a particular image.

Also, if a person decides to stop taking Adderall, they will experience withdrawal symptoms including depression. This often makes it that much hard to stop taking Adderall without any professional help.

You shouldn’t take Adderall if you have a history of past drug or alcohol abuse. Avoid this medication if you have glaucoma, heart defects, high blood pressure, or an overactive thyroid.

Serious side effects of Adderall abuse that could worsen health conditions include:

  • Rapid breathing and heart rate
  • Rise in blood pressure
  • Increase in temperature
  • Seizures
  • Heart failure

Can You Overdose on Adderall?

Taking more Adderall than you’re prescribed can result in an overdose. Usual doses of Adderall for ADHD and narcolepsy are the following.

  • For teenagers: 10 mg per day
  • For adults: 20 mg per day for adults

Most doses fall between 5 mg and 60 mg per day. Taking more than this can result in excess Adderall in your system. The risk of overdose is heightened when people combine other substances, such as alcohol, with Adderall. Adderall dosages vary when taken them for ADHD and narcolepsy. 

Everyone responds to stimulants differently. A dose that might not cause problems for one person could cause an overdose in another. Never take more Adderall than you have been prescribed, and talk to your doctor if you feel your dose is no longer working.

Treatment for Adderall Addiction Recovery

You don’t have to wait until you developed an Adderall addiction to obtain treatment. Regular amphetamine use can foster dependency, which means you may feel you need this medication in larger and larger doses in order to function every day. The sooner you start recovery from Adderall abuse, the better.

Treatment for Adderall addiction has not been standardized, but it borrows adderrall addiction therapymethods that have proven successful for other substance use disorders. Here is what you can expect in your journey toward recovery when you enter rehab at Footprints:

  • Intake: A doctor or other addiction professional will ask questions about your use of Adderall. Explain how and when you take it, and how much you take. You will be asked about your medical history and whether you use other substances or medications, including supplements or vitamins. You can also expect to discuss whether or not you experience symptoms of withdrawal when you do not take Adderall.
  • Medical assessment: Doctors traditionally use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder criteria to diagnose a substance use disorder. You’ll be assessed for any other medical or mental health conditions.
  • Treatment planning: Your treatment team will devise a recovery plan for you. This plan is tailored to your individual situation, giving you treatment on multiple fronts to ensure you have the best chance for recovery.
  • Detox: Medical detox is a crucial first step in successfully managing addiction. Sometimes, it involves a tapered approach, whereas other times drug use is stopped abruptly. Detox is monitored 24/7 by medical professionals, and medications are used as needed.
  • Therapy: Therapy is the backbone of addiction recovery. Individual, group, and family therapy can help you change your habits, repair relationships, and meet others who are going through similar situations. 
  • Aftercare: Once formal treatment ends, the recovery process is not over. Aftercare planning is critical to long-term success in recovery. An aftercare plan may involve a combination of therapy sessions, support group meetings, exercise, and other practices that support a healthy lifestyle.

At Footprints, we offer basic and intensive outpatient treatment for Adderall addiction, as well as partial hospitalization treatment. Each of these forms of treatment allows you to live at home while attending sessions a few times a week.

Experience Adderall Addiction Treatment at Footprints

You don’t have to struggle with Adderall addiction by yourself. The medical professionals at Footprints can help free you from your dependency on Adderall and live your best life, sober and healthy. Our staff is full of licensed clinicians who know the ins and outs of addiction, and we have three locations in Colorado, Illinois, and New Jersey. Contact us today to see how we can get you on the right path to recovery.

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