If you or someone you know has ADHD, you’ve likely been prescribed Adderall to help control symptoms. When this stimulant is appropriately used, as the doctor prescribes, it’s an excellent tool in curbing impulsive, hyperactive behavior and encouraging focus. But, just like many prescription medications that affect the central nervous system, Adderall abuse and addiction are possible.
You may think Adderall isn’t addictive because a doctor prescribes it. In other words, if a doctor told you it’s okay to take it, then it’s safe, right? Well, not necessarily. Adderall is classified as a schedule II controlled substance, meaning there is a high likelihood of Adderall abuse and addiction if misused.
Like any prescription stimulant, if you use Adderall more often than needed or use it without a prescription, there’s a good chance you’re on your way to addiction, if not there already.
Why Is Adderall Addictive?
People with ADHD tend to produce less dopamine, which is your body’s “feel good” hormone. Adderall affects your central nervous system (CNS) as a stimulant and stimulates it to create more dopamine. It also boosts your CNS to create more norepinephrine, which affects how your brain reacts to outside stimuli. Essentially, it helps you pay attention, respond appropriately, and feel calm.
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And if you have ADHD, you struggle in these areas. So Adderall is helpful for you. But, as you can imagine, any stimulant that causes your brain to release more “feel good” hormones has a good chance of being addictive.
Of course, you don’t start taking Adderall with the intent of becoming addicted. Adderall abuse and addiction typically begin with a prescription and evolve into something more. One of the reasons Adderall abuse occurs is because this particular prescription drug helps you focus and be incredibly productive.
In today’s fast-paced world, there can be a lot of pressure to perform well and even outperform in school, work, and sports. For that reason, one of the most common age groups guilty of Adderall abuse and addiction is college students, especially those in competitive colleges. According to a 2018 article published by the National Library of Medicine, approximately 20% of college students admit to abusing stimulants like Adderall.
Another factor contributing to how addictive Adderall is, is the fact that it is so readily available. Because it’s prescribed so often, if you really want it, you don’t have to look far to find it.
Spotting Adderall Addiction Symptoms
The time it takes to become addicted to Adderall depends on several factors, including age, weight, the amount used, frequency of use, and metabolism. For some, Adderall addiction can occur in a matter of days, while it may take others longer than that.
The crucial thing to note is that, due to the intense high it produces, Adderall abuse and addiction can occur very easily.
You may take it to focus on writing an important paper for school or preparing a career-changing presentation at work, assuming you’ll try it this once. But then you experience extreme levels of productivity, a rush of energy, and euphoria.
Only to feel exhausted and possibly even depressed when it wears off. So, to counteract that feeling, you take more. And the Adderall abuse cycle continues.
As with any drug, the more often you take it, the more you need to take it to feel the desired effects. This is when Adderall abuse turns into Adderall addiction.
However, sometimes Adderall addiction can be challenging to pinpoint. The best defense against becoming addicted is to know how to spot Adderall abuse and Adderall addiction symptoms.
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Adderall abuse symptoms include:
- using Adderall to get high
- snorting, injecting, or smoking Adderall pills
- using Adderall to keep up with work, school, or athletic performance
- taking someone else’s Adderall prescription
- purposely mixing Adderall with other drugs or alcohol for an increased high
Adderall addiction symptoms include:
- feeling agitated and anxious
- having an irregular heartbeat
- craving Adderall intensely
- decreased appetite
- taking dangerous risks to use or obtain Adderall
- inability to quit, despite adverse effects on your health, life, and relationships
It’s incredibly important to keep tabs on Adderall use, abuse, and addiction. If you don’t, it could lead to some pretty serious health problems, or even death. If any of the above symptoms of Adderall abuse or addiction ring true for yourself or someone you know, you need to seek professional help before it’s too late.
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Your Best Treatment Option for Adderall Addiction: Our San Diego IOP
Attempting to detox from Adderall on your own isn’t a good idea. Because it significantly affects your central nervous system, quitting cold turkey can lead to a major crash and extremely uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Medical detox is highly recommended when trying to kick your addiction.
One of the most effective treatments for Adderall addiction is outpatient detox, followed by an intensive outpatient program in San Diego (IOP). After you undergo a comprehensive intake evaluation, we’ll work with you to develop an ideal program to help you overcome your addiction to Adderall.
During a medical detox at our facility in Encinitas, CA, you’ll successfully eliminate the drug from your system under the careful observation and guidance of our experienced clinical team. And because our detox program is 100% outpatient, you’ll get the support you need with us during the day while allowing you to go home in the evening. Of course, outpatient detox is ideal if you have a solid support system at home.
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Once you complete your outpatient detox, you can ensure success by continuing treatment in our San Diego IOP, which also gives you the valuable help you need during the day while allowing you to go home to your family and life responsibilities in the evening.
Give us a call if you’re ready to kick your Adderall addiction in a safe, comfortable, and supportive environment. As one of the leading intensive outpatient programs in San Diego, you’ll be in competent, experienced care here at BOLD Health.