Adderall abuse has become a nationwide problem in recent years. The social aspect of the drug combined with perceptions are it being effective for studying and academic performance, creates a false sense of normalcy in abusing it. This has led to high rates of Adderall abuse, especially among young people and on college campuses.
Watching a loved one suffer from Adderall abuse is difficult. However, there are ways to help. Through sober living and proper support, Adderall addicts can find balance again with the help of New Life House. If you know or suspect your son is abusing this drug, here’s what you need to know.
What Is Adderall?
Adderall is a pharmaceutical drug designed to help those with ADHD focus. In the past few decades, it has become the center of a very serious recreational drug problem among youth. The drug has powerful benefits to offer when properly prescribed and taken by ADHD sufferers.
Adderall is a mixture of two stimulants: dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. It is often sold under a generic name and prescribed to those who suffer from ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. This medication is designed to balance the patient’s neurotransmitters. The intended results are to improve focus, attention, control, and concentration.
Unfortunately, the drug is more often than not abused. This abuse is especially high among students. Young people use the drug recreationally in order to focus. Some students take it to become more productive during studying hours and class. It can also be abused because of its effect of decreased appetite and increased metabolism in order to lose weight. Finally, it’s also often seen abused as a party drug. When mixed with alcohol, it allows the user to consume more alcohol without becoming tired.
Adderall is consistently habit-forming. It holds a high potential for abuse. The reasons that young people abuse the drug also put them at risk of dangerous side effects.
Dangers and Side Effects of Adderall
When used correctly by the ADHD patient, Adderall enables higher levels of focus, concentration, and control.
Adderall side effects include:
- Appetite decrease
- Weight loss
- Dry mouth
- Trouble sleeping
When Adderall is abused, side effects such as personality changes, insomnia, and even psychosis may occur. Drug abuse means taking Adderall at improper, high doses or by someone not prescribed.
As with any other serious drug, Adderall can create habits and promote addictive, drug-seeking behavior. With prolonged use, serious health risks, addiction, dependence, and withdrawal all may occur.
If someone you love needs support to get through an Adderall addiction, call New Life House at (888) 357-7577.
Is Adderall Addictive?
Adderall has been one of the most widely prescribed ADHD medications since its first release in the US back in 1996. Besides Adderall, there are similar medications such as Concerta and Ritalin. All of these fall within a class of drugs known as CNS, Central Nervous System Stimulants. This class of drugs shares many similar psychological effects that ecstasy, cocaine, and even caffeine cause.
Due to its high risk of off-label use, Adderall is a Schedule II drug in the US. This means it has a high potential for abuse. It can potentially lead to severe dependence, both physically and psychologically.
Many ADHD sufferers receive their medication properly through prescriptions written by psychiatrists. However, it is all too easy to obtain these pills from the black market. They are quite easy to find amongst teenagers, young adults, and on college campuses. This black market distribution stems from the high demand for the drug among partiers and students alike.
The grips of Adderall addiction can be severe, both physically and psychologically. An individual abusing the medication may experience the following:
Adderall does not create the same kind of physical addiction as alcohol or opiates. However, there are neurological effects. With addiction, the drug often leaves users craving more as their tolerance begins to grow.
As soon as Adderall crosses into the bloodstream and reaches the brain, it stimulates an immediate neurotransmitter response. It stimulates dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. Each of these plays a vital role in everyday life:
- Dopamine. This is the brain’s primary pleasure system messenger. It brings a sense of euphoria and well-being after taking Adderall. This amphetamine drug causes something like a “dopaminergic” response. This is a far larger response than one would get from natural pleasures like sex or food. This causes a return pattern to form in the user, who will crave that same “high.” This progresses further addiction.
- Epinephrine and Norepinephrine. These are two closely related transmitters. They are both powerful at activating our sympathetic nervous system. This controls a person’s fight or flight response. Adderall stimulates these pathways. The effects are feelings of alertness, clarity, mental acuity, and creativity. There are also physical effects such as an increase in both blood pressure and heart rate. As well, there is a decreased drive to sleep. It’s common to experience a lack of energy after ceasing the medication following prolonged use. It also causes the user to perceive a higher personal capability with the drug. This can lead to addictive tendencies.
There can also be a deep psychological dependence on Adderall. Personal reasons can affect individuals and their addictive tendencies. There’s a common perception among users that the medication enhances their life one way or another.
One major way the US has seen this played out is in the college campus scene. It’s a known fact that education has become highly competitive. This performance-enhancing drug attracts those looking for an extra edge. The drug has become largely de-stigmatized in these areas for the sake of efficiency and productivity. This makes addiction even more common. Students often report not being able to keep up or reach their potential without the drug. This misconception brings addiction into more than just their academic lives.
People are using this drug for more than just getting work done. As mentioned above, there’s a dopaminergic response. This response brings about a sense of general wellbeing and excessive confidence. Those suffering from social anxiety or depression may find relief from these things through Adderall. What they fail to realize is that it is a temporary fix. It may alleviate feelings of inadequacy but masks and exacerbates the real problems that are the root of these feelings.
With so many reasons why one may become addicted to Adderall, it’s easier to understand how this epidemic came around in the first place. Usually, there are a number of concurrent factors that play a role in the issue. The sad truth is that it can start the beginning of a long road of drug addiction.
The good news is there is no shortage of help and resources available for Adderall abuse. Call New Life House if someone you know needs help.
How Is Adderall Abused?
Adderall abuse is an increasingly serious problem in today’s society. As such, it’s become important to understand how exactly the drug is abused. You need to know what the signs of abuse are and how to help someone who may be suffering from an Adderall addiction.
Taken correctly as prescribed, a patient will ingest Adderall once or twice a day in small doses. An addict will take the drug more frequently, at higher doses. They may resort to alternative methods of consumption such as snorting or even injecting. When taken in these improper ways, there are health risks. These include emotional dependence, physical dependence, tolerance, and withdrawal. In the worst scenarios, there may be overdose and death.
Health Risks Associated with Adderall Abuse
- When Taken for Weight Loss. The amphetamines in Adderall will increase metabolism while decreasing appetite. This causes the individual to lose weight, sometimes to an unhealthy degree. It can also cause an irregular heartbeat in the user. Cardiac arrest is another risk when the drug is taken at doses that are too high.
- When Taken as a Study Aid. This abuse is common among college students. They abuse the drug to focus longer and harder. The black-market sale of Adderall is high both in high schools and colleges. Those who take it for studying are often unaware of the associated health risks. They may not realize they are forming a habit.
- When Taken as a Party Drug. The party drug effect occurs when users take it to be able to drink more alcohol without getting tired. The amphetamines in the Adderall simply disguise the level of alcohol intoxication. This enables them to drink much more. The health risks associated here are alcohol poisoning, irregular heartbeat, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and heightened temperature.
Some common symptoms of Adderall abuse include:
- High tolerance
- Dilated pupils
- Nausea and vomiting
- Skin disorders
- Decreased need for sleep
- Decreased appetite
- Weight loss
- Changes in sexual drive
- Mood swings
Adderall abuse is a serious problem. If you know someone who is showing several of these symptoms, it may be time to reach out and get them help. Always seek professional help for addiction – we can give your loved one the help they need.
What Is the Link Between Adderall & College Students?
Abuse of stimulants like Adderall is common on college campuses. Adderall is perhaps the most popular form of prescription drug abuse on college campuses.
These drugs excite the central nervous system. They produce a flood of neurotransmitters that trick the body into feeling euphoric, capable, social, focused, and energized. All of these aspects of the drug make it popular among those in school.
In a competitive educational space, students may feel like they need these performance hackers. They abuse the drug to keep up with their schedules, remain social, and earn good grades. They justify this behavior by saying it’s what allows them to balance a heavy course load, work, and maintain life organization.
The false sense of security and ability that Adderall provides leads to addictive behavior. Users will experience an energy crash and feel unable to reach their potential without it. This leads to drug-seeking behavior. If it goes on too long, it can bring them face to face with addiction.
The improper use of this drug by young people on college campuses can lead to health effects. Some concerning effects include heart issues, severe weight loss, increased blood pressure, and more.
Socially Acceptable Drugs
Adderall has become one of the most de-stigmatized recreational drugs. Young people think it is socially acceptable to take the drug for the sake of being productive. This culture of acceptance of the drug encourages addictive behavior and furthers the problem.
Does someone you know struggle with the Adderall culture on a college campus? You can find them help at New Life House by reaching out at (888) 357-7577.
How Can I Tell If My Child Is Abusing Adderall?
When Adderall is abused, it’s taken without a prescription. Often, users will ingest it at doses, frequencies, or in ways that are not recommended. Because it is a Schedule II controlled substance, there’s a high risk of addiction. This drug abuse problem is especially rampant among college students today.
Consistent misuse and abuse of Adderall can lead to serious and lasting issues. The user may experience irritability, insomnia, rashes, and major personality changes. The most serious risk is psychosis.
Some major signs of potential Adderall abuse include:
- Diarrhea and constipation
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sex drive and performances changes
- Restlessness and insomnia
- Dry mouth
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Personality changes
If you suspect that someone you know is abusing the drug, you should confront the individual about their behavior immediately and seek help.
What Are Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms?
Chemically speaking, Adderall is similar in makeup to methamphetamine. This is a drug known on the street as crystal meth. Adderall’s effects are not as severe as methamphetamine. However, the withdrawal symptoms associated with the use of either drug are quite similar.
Here are the most commonly reported Adderall withdrawal symptoms:
1. Fatigue. Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of withdrawal from Adderall. Users will have trouble staying away and maintaining normal energy levels. Fatigue may last days and even months.
2. Disturbed Sleep. Adderall users often have trouble sleeping. This manifests differently for each person. Broken sleep patterns, sleeping more than usual, and frequent waking are commonly reported.
3. Insomnia. Due to both physical and psychological effects of withdrawal, insomnia is common as well. Anxiety and depression from suddenly ceasing taking the drug can further exacerbate the problem. Long-standing insomnia can then lead to more fatigue, creating a cycle.
4. Impaired Memory. An imbalance of the neurotransmitters can cause memory loss and impairment when withdrawing from Adderall.
5. Drug-Related Dreaming. Since users psychologically crave the drug during withdrawal, having dreams about it is not uncommon.
6. Excessive increase in Appetite. Without Adderall in the system, the CNS resorts back to its normal feelings of hunger. This can lead the body to overcompensate for the lack of proper nutrition from earlier times.
7. Anxiety. When abusers no longer have Adderall to enhance their performance, they often get anxiety. This may stem from feeling they are unable to function or perform without the drug due to their prior dependence.
8. Anhedonia. This is the condition of loss of interest in or pleasure from activities the user once enjoyed. Users become used to the increased secretions of pleasure-related neurotransmitters that the drug causes. Without that overstimulation, they can find it much harder to feel happy.
9. Depression. Another one of the most common symptoms is depression. This happens for anyone withdrawing from a substance. The physical disturbance in the brain chemistry from using and stopping such a drug can cause damage to the pleasure areas. This causes depression during withdrawal. Also, living without that induced sense of euphoria can cause people to feel general malaise.
10. Cravings. Of course, those withdrawing are expected to have some drug cravings. The brain will cause intense yearnings for the medication. This is because it knows usage will bring it back to that induced state it got so used to.
There are many other symptoms that can occur concurrently with these symptoms. But while withdrawal is difficult, it is temporary. It is worth it to break an addiction.
If someone you know is struggling with Adderall addiction or withdrawal, reach out to New Life House for help at (888) 357-7577.
How Can Someone Detox from Adderall?
If someone you know has an Adderall addiction, they can find help to detox and get sober.
Information about detox centers is available to everyone on the internet. However, you should be aware of a few things before you begin filtering through the options.
There are many different kinds of detox facilities. Some are public, and some are private. Some are housed, and some are outpatient. Some accept insurance, and some do not. Before settling on a detox option, take financial and pragmatic circumstances into consideration.
If finances are a problem, there are many state-funded detox centers or scholarship options available. You can find many of these with an online search. You can also look through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s database.
How Long Does the Detox Take?
Detoxing from Adderall begins with simply ceasing the use of the drug. Withdrawal is a part of detox, but it is temporary. It can take anywhere from two days to two weeks. This period may or may not require supervision. Before stopping the use of the drug, it’s important to consult with a medical professional. You want to ensure proper measures are taken for safety and the sake of an effective treatment.
Beyond the physical detox, there is a longer psychological aspect that cannot be overlooked. The recovering user will need to work on these issues for a long time after finding sobriety. There are many routes of support and many resources for both physical and psychological withdrawal.
A sober living situation may be something that will help on the road to recovery. If you have a loved one that may need this resource, contact New Life House.
How Can New Life House Help?
New Life House is a sober living facility. We serve young men struggling with addiction. We help them transition into life after addiction. Based in California, New Life House serves as a structured sober living community. We provide residents with the proper tools and support to find success. Our goal is to help recovering addicts lead a productive, happy life despite the challenges they may face along the way.
Getting readjusted to a normal life after coming out of an Adderall addiction can be tough. There isn’t always the proper support system available to help young recovering addicts get back on their feet. At New Life House, residents get around-the-clock support from trained professionals. We offer a structured living community with regular meetings and no distractions. Our program provides positive peer support and a chance to do the difficult internal work it takes to overcome addiction.