Adderall addiction is a serious problem in the United States. Adderall is a prescription stimulant used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but it’s increasingly being abused by college students and others who want to improve their academic performance, get high, or lose weight. Adderall addiction can have serious consequences, including heart problems and seizures.
Fortunately, there are treatments for Adderall addiction available. These include detoxification, behavioral therapy, and medication-assisted treatment. The most effective treatment depends on you and your individual situation.
What Does Adderall Treat?
Adderall is a well-known stimulant used to treat people over the age of three who have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and people who are at least 12 years old who have narcolepsy. When taken as directed, Adderall can help with:
- Impulse control
If you’re prescribed Adderall, your physician will start you on the lowest effective dose. It’s possible to build a tolerance to Adderall, so it may not work the same for you over time. You will gradually receive higher doses of Adderall, depending on how you respond to it.
Adderall is often abused, especially by young people seeking an Adderall high or wanting to stay awake while cramming for exams. The widespread use of Adderall by Millennials in the early 2000s was so much so that they got pegged “Generation Adderall.” It continues to be a popular drug of abuse.
Concerning Adderall Statistics
The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that in 2022, 2.3% of 8th graders, 2.9% of 10th graders, and 3.4% of 12th graders misused Adderall. One study found that over a 6-year period, Adderall abuse in adults increased by 67% and emergency room visits increased by 156%. Even more concerning is the Adderall overdose deaths now being tied to counterfeit pills bought illegally that are laced with deadly fentanyl.
What Is Adderall?
Adderall is a combination stimulant with two active ingredients:
- Amphetamine – A stimulant that forces the brain to speed up certain functions. It can make you feel more focused and awake.
- Dextroamphetamine – A drug similar in structure to amphetamine that blocks the reuptake of dopamine, which produces feelings of happiness and pleasure. Dextroamphetamine also contributes to concentration and focus.
There are two types of Adderall:
- Immediate-release – Usually taken every four to six hours, two to three times daily
- Extended-release (Adderall XR) – Taken in the morning and lasts the whole day
What Are Side Effects Of Adderall?
Even when taken as directed, Adderall side effects may include:
- Decrease in appetite
Less common Adderall side effects may include:
- Vision problems
- Slowed height and weight growth in children
Is Adderall Addictive?
Yes. It’s very possible to become addicted to Adderall and other stimulants. Adderall abuse can rapidly lead to Adderall addiction. That’s because the drug works on the reward center of your brain.
You can become psychologically addicted to the effects of Adderall, just like any other drug that produces a desired state. You can also become physically dependent on Adderall. Abusing Adderall can cause imbalances in brain chemicals. Your brain begins to depend on Adderall to make certain chemicals, so when you stop using it, you may experience withdrawal.
What Is Adderall Withdrawal Like?
Quitting Adderall can be difficult physically and psychologically. Adderall withdrawal is more intense if you’ve been abusing the drug. When you stop taking Adderall, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as:
- Body pains
- Increased appetite
- Vivid dreams and nightmares
- Adderall cravings
Adderall withdrawal can last for weeks or longer. The intensity of your symptoms depends on how long you’ve been taking Adderall and how much you’ve been taking. Quitting Adderall suddenly can cause severe withdrawal symptoms, so it’s important to speak with a healthcare professional before quitting the drug.
Former Adderall abusers sometimes describe withdrawal as like the world is caving in. Many people feel profound sadness and anxiety, along with physical symptoms like headache, nausea, and vomiting. Others report feeling extreme fatigue, plus changes in appetite and weight. Hallucinations and delusions are also possible during protracted withdrawal. Because of the intense cravings for the drug and severe withdrawal symptoms, many people who try to quit using Adderall on their own quickly relapse. This is another reason Adderall withdrawal should always be medically supervised.
Learn more about what it’s like to withdraw from Adderall.
Am I Addicted to Adderall?
Adderall abuse may begin 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. Some people abuse Adderall because they want to lose weight. This is because one of Adderall’s side effects is loss of appetite.
Once you’ve begun using Adderall for those effects, it’s hard to imagine maintaining your success or keeping up with your goals without it. This can lead you to continue taking the drug.
A key indicator of Adderall addiction is continuing to abuse it despite negative effects on your health and life.
Signs and symptoms of Adderall addiction include:
- 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 obtaining more Adderall
- Mixing Adderall with other substances of abuse, like alcohol
- Taking a larger dose than your doctor prescribed
- Taking Adderall that was prescribed to someone else
- Taking Adderall to get high
- Doctor shopping to get more of the drug
Long-term effects of Adderall abuse include:
- Anger problems
If you stop taking Adderall cold turkey, you may experience withdrawal symptoms. This can propel the Adderall abuse cycle. Learn more about the signs of Adderall abuse here.
Who’s at Risk for Adderall Addiction?
Anyone is at risk for Adderall addiction, but some groups of people may be at increased risk. These may include people who:
- Have a history of substance abuse
- Struggle with mental health disorders
- Want to increase their productivity
- Want to perform better academically
- Are under a lot of stress
- Want to improve their athletic performance
- Want to lose weight
- Want to stay awake longer or feel more “up” when drinking alcohol
Can You Overdose On Adderall?
You can overdose on Adderall if you take more than prescribed. Doctors typically prescribe 5 mg to 60 mg of Adderall daily for ADHD or narcolepsy. Higher doses put you at risk of overdose.
Adderall overdose symptoms may include:
- Abnormal heart rate
- High body temperatures
- Fast, shallow breathing
Your risk of an Adderall overdose increases when you take Adderall and alcohol together, or Adderall and other substances. Everyone responds to stimulants differently. A dose that might not cause problems for one person could cause an overdose in another.
How Do You Treat Adderall Addiction?
There are a variety of ways to treat Adderall addiction. Treatment generally involves a combination of behavioral therapy, medication, and support groups. Behavioral therapies help you learn to resist the temptation to use drugs and manage cravings. Medications can reduce symptoms of withdrawal and reduce the risk of relapse. Support groups provide peer support and can be helpful in staying abstinent.
Medical Detox: What Is Adderall Detox Like?
Detoxing from Adderall can be difficult, as the drug has a high potential for abuse and addiction. During detox, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as:
Medically supervised detox can help you manage these symptoms and reduce your risk of relapse. Depending how long you’ve been abusing Adderall as well as if you’re using other substances, medical detox may be necessary. This usually means spending two or three days in a medical detox center with 24/7 care.
Adderall detox may include tapers and medications to ease withdrawal symptoms. Tapers involve decreasing Adderall doses in safe increments. Detoxing from Adderall should always be done with the help of medical professionals, so it’s safe and as comfortable as possible.
Drug Rehab: What Is Inpatient Treatment for Adderall Like?
Substance abuse is a symptom of something bigger. You may be abusing drugs and alcohol to cope with past trauma, mental health issues, relationship problems, or other challenges. You must address the reasons you’re abusing Adderall to help prevent the urge to use again.
Inpatient treatment for Adderall is when you go to a hospital or addiction treatment center to get help. You stay there until you feel ready to transition to outpatient care. Inpatient drug rehab centers like Footprints to Recovery offer comprehensive treatment programs that can support long-term recovery. Most inpatient programs last 30 days, though some may be shorter or longer. It’s important to find a program that gives you the time you need to recover from your addiction.
Inpatient drug rehab centers offer a variety of treatment methods, from 12-step programs to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). You will spend much of your day in group therapy with others in treatment. You will also see an individual therapist regularly to hone in on your specific issues.
Outpatient Rehab: What Is Outpatient Treatment for Adderall Like?
There are different levels of outpatient care for people with Adderall addiction.
- The first level is a partial hospitalization program (PHP). In a PHP you attend treatment all day at a treatment facility but live at home or in a sober living residence. Treatment offerings are similar to what’s offered in a residential program: group therapy, individual therapy, and holistic approaches like art therapy and yoga.
- The second level is an intensive outpatient program (IOP), which is when you go to an addiction treatment center part-time. Most intensive outpatient programs meet three or five days a week for about three hours each time. IOPs are mainly group-therapy-based with occasional individual therapy sessions.
- The third and final level is an outpatient programs, which is when you go to a treatment facility from one to three hours a week.
What Therapies Treat Adderall Addiction?
There are a variety of therapies that can help treat Adderall addiction. These therapies can be divided into three categories: behavioral, pharmacological, and social support. Behavioral therapies help you learn to resist the temptation to use drugs and manage cravings. Pharmacological therapies reduce symptoms of withdrawal and relapse. Social support provides peer support and can be helpful in maintaining abstinence.
Here are examples of therapies that might be used in Adderall addiction treatment:
Individual therapy is a one-on-one session between you and your therapist. It’s a time for you to talk about your addiction, your triggers, and the things that led you to drug rehab. You will also work on coping mechanisms and relapse-prevention strategies. Individual therapy is a key part of addiction treatment and can help you stay sober long-term.
In group therapy you will meet with other people who are struggling with addiction. This is a time to share your stories, learn from others, and offer support to one another. Group therapy can spark new insight and help you feel less alone in your recovery.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that helps you identify and change the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to your addiction. CBT is a short-term treatment that can be very effective in treating addiction.
Family therapy is a chance for you to repair damaged relationships and improve communication within your family. Family therapy can help heal the past and present so you can move forward into the future. It also teaches your loved ones how they can best support you in recovery.
Some treatment centers use alternative approaches like yoga, art therapy, psychodrama, adventure therapy, and others. These types of therapies can help you express emotions you may struggle to put into words. They can also be forms of self-care and help you relax and de-stress.
Co-Occurring Disorders Treatment
Anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders are at the root of many addictions. When you enter a treatment program, medical professionals will assess whether you have a mental illness that contributes to your substance abuse. This is called a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders. They will help you manage mental illness symptoms with therapy and medications, if clinically appropriate. Treating an Adderall addiction and an underlying mental health condition together is crucial for long-term recovery.
Twelve-step groups and 12-step alternatives like SMART Recovery are important parts of long-term recovery. Peers in sobriety can provide support and keep you accountable in your recovery journey.
There’s still important relapse prevention work to do after addiction treatment. Aftercare planning is critical to long-term recovery. Aftercare may involve a combination of:
- Therapy sessions
- Support group meetings
- Other practices that support a healthy lifestyle
Does Insurance Cover Adderall Addiction Treatment?
Addiction is a serious problem that requires professional treatment. Unfortunately, many people who need treatment can’t afford to pay for it out-of-pocket. This is where insurance companies come in. Insurance companies cover addiction treatment in a variety of ways. Some policies will reimburse you for the cost of drug or alcohol rehab after you have completed the program. Others will pay for part or all of your treatment costs. Still others will cover certain types of addiction treatment, like inpatient rehab or outpatient care.
If you’d like help navigating your insurance benefits for Adderall rehab, call our recovery specialists. They will work directly with your insurance company to determine your benefits and out-of-pocket costs.
Get Adderall Addiction Treatment
Many people need specialized treatment to stop abusing Adderall. At Footprints to Recovery we offer residential and outpatient treatment for Adderall addiction, as well as partial hospitalization treatment. Programs are evidence-based and engaging. We create an individualized treatment plan so your experience is effective and relevant to your life and preferences. Our addiction experts can help you get better and live a fulfilling life without Adderall. Contact our recovery center today.