If you or a loved one has been struggling with the problematic use of Adderall or similar prescription amphetamines, there are a few things to consider before trying to stop. While long term abstinence from Adderall and other drugs of abuse is more than possible, there are immediate health risks involved in the detoxification process, and depending on your physical standing or severity of use, should be undergone in a medically supervised facility.
Whether you have been using adderall for months or years, there are a number of neurological and psychological effects that make an isolated detox something to be avoided. This article may help you find some of the proper channels to take in order to safely recover from Adderall abuse.
Physical Effects of Adderall
First, a little bit about the physical effects of Adderall. Like many common street drugs, Adderall has a strong effect on your central nervous system and is classified as a CNS stimulant. The drug, first introduced to the US market in 1996, is comprised of a patented blend of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine salts. To this day it is one of the most widely prescribed medications in the treatment of ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD(Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), but despite it’s proficiency in aiding those with cognitive disorders, its off-label use has skyrocketed over the years as increasing numbers have become privy to it’s recreational value.
Adderall works on the brain by primarily affecting the nucleus accumbens, which is largely responsible for the secretion and regulation of dopamine and serotonin, both of which play huge roles in regulating mood as well as addictive tendencies. Dopamine is a chemical that drives the reward system in the brain. Substances or activities that increase the production and secretion of dopamine, including food, sex, drugs, and other pleasurable activities, generally do so to reinforce behaviors pertinent to our well being.
Science tells us that that was the original function of the neurotransmitter, hence its reactivity to vital functions such as reproduction and nourishment. However, with the intention of chemically synthesized drugs such as adderall, which provoke a far larger dopaminergic response, we have been able to override the natural processes that drive our behavior, ultimately leading to detrimental behaviors like drug addiction or obesity.
The same can be said of serotonin, which performs a number of roles in the brain as well as the rest of the body. While it is a key player in the digestive process along with many other physiological processes, it’s profound effect on mood is what makes it such a major catalyst in the unhealthy behaviors that can arise from adderall abuse. Neurologically speaking, serotonin is responsible in part for the regulations of our mood, general feelings of well being, enhanced focus, and the propagation of pro-social behaviors.
Long-term Effects of Adderall
All of this is only to say that with the extended use of adderall, the brain begins to adapt to the constant influx of synthetic stimulants. Many of the systems in our body function optimally in an ideal state called homeostasis. When we consistently introduce a foreign substance that causes a significant impact on these vital systems, the body begins to compensate by changing its natural production or efficiency of certain systems. So, for instance, if a drug that stimulates the release of serotonin is ingested regularly over a long period of time, the body will responsively inhibit the natural secretion of the neurotransmitter.
When the constant supply of a drug to the brain is interrupted suddenly, it can present all sorts of imminent health problems, hence the reason why a supervised detox can be so important. To give you one more example of the severity of the detoxification process, consider alcohol, the single most commonly abused drug in America. Alcohol is a GABA agonist, meaning it stimulates the secretion of GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that aids in sleep and relaxation by decreasing the electrical impulses in the brain. Individuals who stop drinking after years of alcohol abuse will often experience grand mal seizures due the to processes described above.
So what do you need to know before seeking help to detoxify from adderall or other amphetamine based stimulants?
First of all, you should seek immediate medical consultation before choosing to quit any type of substance abruptly. Prior to making any kind of treatment decisions, you should visit your general practitioner or a specialist and inform them of your plan to cease the use of stimulants. Inform them of the amount you have been taking and how long you have been taking them.
If you have been taking any other substances in conjunction with the Adderall, make sure to inform your doctor of that as well. These interactions could make a significant difference in the course of actions chosen by your care provider. Depending on the severity of your use and a number of other variables such as age, weight and overall health standing, your doctor may recommend that you seek inpatient detox treatment.
Where can I find detox for Adderall?
Information about detoxification centers can be found across the internet, but there are a few things that you should know first. Although detox is a medical process supervised by medical professionals, there are various detox facilities, some private, some public and others housed within larger medical facilities. When searching for a detox programs, you should first consider whether or not you have insurance. If you do, you may want to get in touch with your insurance provider first to find a facility closest to you that will offer the best coverage.
Many inpatient detoxifications are located within your local hospitals and offer exceptional treatment in the cessation of drug use. Some facilities accept only private pay and are generally catered to a more comfortable detox process, but are often very expensive. If you are struggling but do not have insurance, there are also options. Many state funded facilities have detox centers. These can be found online with a simple search or through the SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) database, also found online.
How long does Adderall detox take?
Overall, the detox process can be done in anywhere from 2-14 days and sometimes may not require supervision at all. However, that decision should never be made without the consultation of a medical professional. It is imperative that proper measures be taken when the choice is made to get off addictive substances like adderall, but successful treatment is more than possible.
Beyond the physical addiction, there is also a large psychological component that should not be overlooked when trying to cease the use of adderall. There are many treatment modalities which will tend to both, information on which can also be acquired online or through your doctor. If you or someone you know is struggling with adderall addiction, please reach out as soon as possible to find help.
Last Updated on August 7, 2023