Adderall is notoriously used on college campuses to boost focus, cram information in short periods of time, and get high. Often referred to as the “study drug,” some of its users feel it gives them a superhuman ability to learn.
Some students purchase the drugs illegally, while others get prescriptions from their primary care physicians. Adderall can be extremely useful for those who take it as prescribed, which is the only way it should be taken.
Unfortunately, the medication is usually distributed by friends or family members to people who aren’t diagnosed with relevant disorders. This increasingly severe problem can create real problems for these users.
Adderall is typically used in the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. It can transform those with ADHD and give them the ability to focus. It is less likely to show addictive traits in those who use it as prescribed.
It should be noted that no single person is exempt from addiction. When used as prescribed, Adderall can have fewer negative side effects than many other prescription drugs.
In 2016, John Hopkins University released a report highlighting that Adderall misuse peaks in college-aged people (18 to 25 years old).
This misuse has caused emergency room visits associated with Adderall to sharply rise in young adults. Meanwhile, the number of prescriptions has actually dropped. It’s becoming an increasing problem that users are offering their friends Adderall.
Since there isn’t much information about the long-term health effects from these drugs, education needs to increase that shows there is an adverse impact. While it does increase focus, it causes sleep disruptions and cardiovascular effects, such as high blood pressure and stroke.
What Is Adderall?
Adderall is the prescription name for dextroamphetamine-amphetamine, which should only be able to take legally with a prescription. It is a powerful central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that affects chemicals in the brain and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control. Adderall can create effects such as increased concentration, high energy, euphoria, and self-confidence. It causes intense, long-lasting effects, but the primary objective is to increase concentration in people with focus problems.
However, the side effects can lead to abuse, which can become habit-forming.
People who have a history of drug abuse are more likely to become addicted to Adderall. Those who use the drug as prescribed and for its intended purpose (such as work and school) will be more likely to avoid building a tolerance.
But those using it for the high often take the drug in larger doses than a doctor would prescribe, which can develop into a substance use disorder.
Adderall is supposed to be taken orally, but those who abuse the drug often snort it, which can have fatal consequences. When the drug is consumed as intended, it is slowly broken down and evenly distributed into your system. When it is snorted, it leads to a more rapid onset, which can cause an overdose that results in brain damage, coma, or even death.
What Are The Effects Of Adderall?
Adderall can affect those who take it in very different ways. For example, someone with ADHD will likely experience calming effects that allow them to concentrate, whereas someone without this disorder is energized by the effects.
Here are some common effects you can expect from Adderall:
- Sleeping problems are very common in people who take it because it works as a stimulant.
- Improved attention span: Adderall allows those with related chemical deficiencies to benefit from an enhanced attention span. Shortness of breath is a severe side effect of Adderall, and you must contact your primary care physician immediately if you’re experiencing it. Dry mouth is a common side effect, and it’s caused by reduced production of saliva in your mouth.
- Slowed growth is a problem in children who consume the drug as their bodies are still developing. It should be monitored by a doctor to ensure they’re on-course for normal growth.
Safe Dosage Of Adderall
The dose each patient is prescribed will vary depending on many factors. Some of which may include the person’s specific needs, age, and the condition the medication is prescribed. Here are some examples of how Adderall is distributed:
- An adult who is treated for narcolepsy is typically prescribed 10 milligrams per day. Their dosage can be increased later in treatment as they acclimate to the medication in their body. Not everyone will react the same to Adderall, and starting with a smaller dose will decrease the chances of adverse effects.
- A child aged six through 12 that is treated for narcolepsy will be administered even less. A child should expect a dose of five milligrams per day, which can be increased later in treatment. Children older than 12 will start taking 10 milligrams per day. Treating anyone under the age of six with Adderall is strongly advised against.
- Kids aged three through five that are treating with ADD are prescribed 2.5 milligrams once a day. Children six or older will start with five milligrams once or twice a day. Adderall is not recommended for kids younger than three years old.
- Children between the ages of six and 12 that are treated for ADHD with extended-release tablets will start using five to 10 milligrams per day, which can be increased in the future. Young adults between the ages of 13 and 17 will begin taking 10-milligram extended-release tablets per day, which can also increase based on results. Adderall extended-release is not recommended to treat ADHD in children younger than six years old.
How Addictive Is Adderall
While Adderall is viewed as a safe alternative to treating certain disorders, misusing the medication can lead to addiction. Young adults who experience a high from Adderall report feeling energized, alert, and productive. After prolonged Adderall abuse, someone will start to develop a tolerance for the substance. What this means is that they need higher doses to experience the same effects. If this continues, the pattern of Adderall abuse, which means increasing the dosage, can lead to dependence and addiction.
Signs Of Adderall Abuse
Since this drug is most commonly prescribed to young adults, there is a higher likelihood of abuse. If you feel that you or your loved one is abusing Adderall, there are warning signs. Even if it is being used medicinally, there is a possibility that a substance use disorder can develop. However, there is treatment available, so you must contact your doctor to weigh your options.
These are the signs of Adderall abuse:
- Consuming the drug any other way than orally (such as snorting it)
- Taking a higher dose than the doctor prescribed
- Shopping for doctors
- Consuming it for any other reason than a medical need (such as staying awake or cramming)
- Consuming more frequently than prescribed
- Obtaining the medication through any means other than a pharmacy
There are other long-term signs and symptoms of Adderall abuse, which include:
- Slowed speech
- Weakness or numbness in arms or legs
- Aggressive behavior
As with any disease, early detection is the key to saving lives. If you or a loved one is exhibiting any of the signs listed above, you must seriously consider treatment. Short-term drug abuse may not yield many negative effects, but over time, it can create long-term health issues that are irreversible.
Adderall Rehab Procedure
There are many steps in the continuum of care for Adderall addiction (and addiction in general). Addiction to Adderall can be challenging to identify because the drug is prescribed by a doctor. Those who consume it don’t believe they can become addicted to it, but that’s entirely untrue. Stimulant addiction can be very serious; experts have released warnings about an emerging stimulant epidemic. Therefore, it is important not to fall victim to statistics.
The first and most arduous step of treatment is often NCBI. Stimulant withdrawal is not nearly as dangerous as withdrawal from drugs, such as benzodiazepines, but it is still recommended that you go through the entire continuum of care. The presence of trained medical professionals allows for an easier transition into a stable state of mind.
Once you start detoxing, you’ll go through an assessment phase, where you’ll give a detailed history of the severity of your drug abuse. For three to seven days, you will be placed in detox under 24-hour supervision, and you could be given other medications to alleviate your worst symptoms. You will then be moved into the next stage of care.
During the assessment phase, your treatment professionals will help you decide the next step that’s best for you. It’s important to understand that treatment is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and a customized approach is the only way to achieve success.
If the staff has deemed you a low risk, you could be placed in intensive outpatient (IOP) or outpatient care. However, if they decide you need more care based on a multitude of criteria, you could be placed in residential treatment.
No matter which stage of care you’re placed in, you will receive therapy designed to help you overcome behaviors that trigger addiction. Then you’ll learn how to deal with these triggers and get to the root of your addiction. Some of the therapies you could attend are:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
Adderall Abuse Statistics
- 76% acquired it from a friend with a prescription.
- 1 in 10 high school students have admitted to abusing a study drug.
- 90% of full-time college students who used Adderall non-medically in the past year were binge drinkers.