How to Identify Adderall Addiction
Adderall is a prescription drug for people with ADHD. It's also very addictive. Find out more about how to identify Adderall addiction by reading this article.
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In 2012, there were over 116,000 people admitted to rehab for amphetamine addiction. Adderall is one of the best-known prescription amphetamines in the US.
If you've ever felt like someone around you is acting strangely and you're not sure if the behavior is drug-related or not, just know that you're not alone. Drug abuse is a common problem in today's society, and it's becoming an increasingly difficult problem to identify.
Do you suspect that someone you know and love is dealing with an Adderall addiction? Read on to learn more about what Adderall addiction is and how to identify it.
What is Adderall?
Adderall is a prescription drug used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, commonly known as ADHD. It's a stimulant that impacts the central nervous system. Doctors can also use Adderall in some cases to help people who have sleep disorders. It is also occasionally used to treat the symptoms of severe depression.
Because Adderall can act as a stimulant, it will generally speed up and boost the other functions of the body as well.
When a doctor prescribes Adderall, they usually set a low dose, especially in the beginning. This helps the patient steer clear of the side effects that come with the medication.
Adderall helps people with ADHD feel more focused and energetic. These are usually the effects that make this medication desirable.
This is caused by increasing the levels of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is the chemical that makes the body feel good and creates a rewarding effect on the brain. Dopamine occurs naturally in your body as well, but drugs like Adderall create high levels of it, causing the user to want to come back for more.
While there are plenty of legitimate reasons to take Adderall, it's also easily abused by people who work long hours, party late, or try to cram before a test. And though side effects are easily avoided when taken in therapeutic doses, some people start to feel euphoric when they take it because they're not using safe doses.
Who Abuses Adderall?
During the 1990s and into the early 2000s, the diagnoses of ADHD skyrocketed. Along with that diagnoses, came the prescriptions of ADHD medication. Adderall prescriptions are often re-sold illegally or given to people by friends or family.
Over half of adults who abuse Adderall are between 18 and 25 years old. This is likely because of how useful some people find the drug during college years. It allows people to stay up and cram without needing to sleep.
Many people see that Adderall is prescribed by a doctor and assume that it's safe. But using Adderall at high levels at a continued rate leads to long-term side effects and a hard-to-break addiction.
Any time someone takes Adderall without a prescription or in a way not doctor directed, it's considered abuse.
People with eating disorders have also been found to use Adderall as a diet tool as well. It decreases appetite and increases metabolism, and those who use the medication to lose weight can depend on Adderall to help them maintain that weight.
This is especially worrisome because the effects of an unhealthy diet can make substance abuse side effects much worse.
People who want to lose weight, stay awake, study longer, and get high are prone to misusing this medication. Though it's usually targeted towards millennials, older adults can abuse this drug as well because it's seen as a way to help them accomplish more.
No one starts taking Adderall with the purpose of becoming addicted. This problem usually starts as a way to increase productivity or study for exams. People often even fake symptoms of ADHD to get their own prescription for his medication.
This is a start to Adderall addiction.
How is Adderall Taken
Adderall is usually taken by mouth in tablet or capsule form. Though people who abuse the drug have also been known to snort it. This provides an immediate and stronger effect of the drug.
Unfortunately, when someone snorts Adderall, they're adding additional risk factors to the list of side effects. They can seriously damage their nasal and sinus cavities and increases the likelihood of heart issues and overdose.
Common Signs of Adderall Use
As the number of people who misused Adderall started to grow, the number of ER visits increased as well. While Adderall doesn't kill as many people as alcohol or opioid abuse, high doses can be deadly. When mixed with stimulants or alcohol, the risk of overdose increases.
Here are some of the signs of Adderall use.
When people who aren't prescribed Adderall use it, or when people who are prescribed take more than they're supposed to, it gives them a sense of well being and provides a lot of energy. After taking this medication, people report feeling empowered and confident.
They also tend to get much more talkative. It can often seem like no matter how much or how fast they talk, they're never getting enough words out. If someone is talking rapidly or a lot more than they usually talk, this can be an indicator of Adderall use.
There are physical symptoms of Adderall use as well. Someone taking Adderall can experience a headache, dry mouth, voice hoarseness, nausea, and digestive issues like diarrhea or constipation.
It can also drastically reduce or completely eliminate a person's appetite, and this is one of the most common reasons people use Adderall. If someone is rapidly losing weight without making the proper dietary or lifestyle changes, this could also be an indicator that they are using Adderall.
Sleep Schedule Disruption
Because Adderall is a stimulant, it changes a person's sleep schedule. If you notice someone is staying awake for long periods at a time and then crashing, or sleeping for extended times, this could be another sign of Adderall abuse. We'll talk more about true Adderall crash later.
People who take Adderall and then attempt to come down from the drug often report feeling depression and lethargy. These people might not want to do anything and seem to detach from everything around them easily.
When people become addicted to the way Adderall makes them feel, they start to require it to feel productive. When they stop taking it, they can start to feel tired and foggy, leading to those feelings of depression and disinterest.
The signs we listed above are the common warning signs of people who take Adderall. These can be people who take it because they're prescribed or the people who take it because they like the way they feel when they're on it.
It's safe to say that people who snort Adderall are suffering from an addiction, not a prescription or casual use. People who snort the drug can develop nasal issues like difficulty breathing through their nose or the development of multi-colored mucus from the residue that gets stuck in their nostrils and drips out.
However, there are other signs as well. These signs are used to determine whether or not a person is psychologically or physiologically addicted to the drug.
Some of the side effects of Adderall addiction are:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Developing a motor tic
- Weakness or numbing of arms, legs, hands, and feet
- Blurred vision
- Facial swelling
If you notice someone you love spending a lot of money on Adderall while being unable to complete their work or assignments without it, it's a sure bet that they're addicted.
If someone you know uses Adderall despite any negative effects and consequences that come along with it, and need to take more and more to feel its effect, it's a good sign that they need to get help.
People who combine this drug with others risk making the side effects worse. Using Adderall along with alcohol or cocaine, or using sedatives or marijuana to help with sleep can be extremely dangerous.
The basic written instruction for every prescription medication will warn against taking medication along with alcohol. Most physicians will also advise against using any prescription medication with alcohol.
Most people who drink alcohol while abusing Adderall do so in order to lessen the way the stimulant makes them feel. But when people do this, they become much more likely to suffer from alcohol poisoning.
Using alcohol and Adderall together can also lead to increased irrational thinking and poor judgment. It can cause your cardiovascular system to become extremely stressed, causing hypertension and an increased risk of stroke.
If someone combines Adderall and alcohol over a long period of time, they can have serious cognitive issues that show how damaged the central nervous system is. They can show up as problems concentrating, an issue learning, loss of memory, and inability to solve complex problems.
Adderall's Long-Term Effects
While there are signs of using Adderall once or twice that are easily visible to people, like excitability and talkativeness, there are also long-term effects of Adderall abuse that you might be able to notice.
These effects become more dangerous and include things like weakness or numbness in hands, arms, feet, and legs. People have reported chest pain, vision issues, the peeling or blistering of their skin, and mental problems.
Some of the mental issues that people report are mania, paranoia, and even seizures.
When people use Adderall heavily, they will start to experience withdrawal if they don't continue to take it on an ongoing basis. This can cause chemical imbalances in the brain.
Signs that someone is experiencing Adderall withdrawal include:
- Lack of energy
- Panic attacks
- Extreme hunger
- Suicidal thoughts
As with most drugs, there are plenty of indicators that can show up in someone's lifestyle. As your loved one becomes more dependant on Adderall to function, you will likely notice that it becomes their priority.
It stops being a way to get ahead in school and work and leads to them losing interest in those things instead, and starts to cause their performance to decline. Adderall use can also cause relationship issues, bad health, and legal or financial issues.
There are versions of Adderall that are designed to release over a period of time, but this doesn't mean that the effects won't ever wear off.
When Adderall finally starts to fade, the user can start to feel intense feelings of withdrawal. This is also known as Adderall Crash. During an Adderall Crash, people feel the opposite of the way they did when they were taking the medication.
If a person comes off of Adderall quickly, they'll start to experience:
- Appetite increase
- Vivid, unpleasant dreams
These symptoms can be eased or completely avoided by going off of Adderall in a steady, controlled way.
Dealing with Adderall Addiction
Because Adderall seems to have such a socially accepted effect, people don't see how harmful it can be. Others assume that because, for a while, this medication can help you focus and be more productive and lose weight, there cant be a problem in using it. But this couldn't be further from the truth.
If you have identified any of the warning signs in someone you know and love, consult with an addiction specialist to figure out what to do next.
If you or someone you love is struggling with Adderall addiction, please know that you aren't alone. There are resources out there for you. You can get help.
For more resources on fighting the war against addiction, please visit our blog today.