What is Adderall?
Adderall is a prescription drug containing two components (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine). It belongs to a class of medications called central nervous system (CNS) stimulants. It is mainly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy (sleep disorder) . Adderall is highly addictive when taken at levels higher than a doctor’s prescribed. Adderall addiction can harm the body, imbalance the mind, and destroy relationships. Misuse of psychoactive drugs like Adderall can lead to addiction.
According to the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) , Adderall is a Schedule II controlled substance because it can lead to dependence or abuse. Adderall is addictive mainly because of its stimulant qualities. The medication works by increasing dopamine, a ‘feel-good’ hormone, and norepinephrine levels in the brain. People can get used to these “highs” over time and feel dependent on the drug. One of the significant Adderall side effects is addiction.
In addition, taking prescription drugs like Adderall and combining them with alcohol poses a great risk. Not only is mixing Adderall and alcohol bad, but it’s also deadly. Whether an Adderall overdose happens accidentally or on purpose, it can lead to death. Adderall by itself carries an increased risk for heart problems, such as a rapid heart rate and high blood pressure . But, add alcohol into the equation, and the risk factor for these side effects skyrockets.
Adderall Addiction Signs and Symptoms of Abuse
When an individual takes Adderall, particularly if they’re not prescribed the drug or take a higher dose than what they’re prescribed, it gives them a sense of well-being and makes them very energetic. After taking Adderall, individuals will often feel as if they’re confident and empowered, and they will become very chatty. If someone is talking rapidly or more than usual, this can be an indicator they are on Adderall.
People who are on Adderall may experience physical symptoms including a headache, dry mouth, a hoarse voice, nausea, digestive problems, and diarrhea or constipation. It’s also known to reduce or eliminate the user’s appetite, which is actually one reason people use it. Moreover, a big red flag for regularly using Adderall is rapid weight loss.
Because Adderall is a stimulant, it also intrudes on sleep schedules, so the person consuming it may be staying awake for days at a time and then “crashing” and sleeping for extended periods. When someone is on Adderall and then comes off the drug, they will often begin to seem lethargic and depressed. They may not be interested in doing anything, and they tend to be disassociated from the people and events around them.
While many of the signs mentioned above are simply signs of using the drug, there are also common Adderall addiction signs of someone being addicted to Adderall instead of just using it recreationally. Adderall addiction signs can include physiological and psychological dependence on the drug.
When individuals become addicted to the feeling of being high on Adderall, they will begin to feel as if they require it to feel alert and productive. Conversely, when someone addicted to this drug doesn’t take it, it can lead them to feel foggy or tired.
Adderall Addiction Signs and Symptoms – Physical
As Adderall addiction develops, some users smoke or snort the crushed pills for a faster effect. Usually, individuals who start to use higher than needed doses of these drugs are unaware of the negative effect of drug use on their lives. Adderall’s euphoric effects cause someone to overestimate their own performance and to neglect the negative response of others.
The following are some of the Adderall addiction signs that may be experienced right after Adderall abuse:
- Weight loss
- A decline in personal hygiene
- Lack of appetite
- Dry mouth
- Upset stomach
- Pounding heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Reduced sex drive
- Peeling skin
- Pounding heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Reduced sex drive
- Chest pain
- Sleeping difficulties
Adderall Addiction Signs and Symptoms – Behavioral
The Adderall addiction signs and symptoms discussed above can get the attention of an affected individual, but there will usually also be behavioral signs and symptoms of Adderall abuse and addiction. The fact that Adderall is a prescription drug means that someone can “doctor shop” to get a high volume of it. People abusing the drug will often go to different drugstores to fill the prescriptions to avoid detection. Friends and family members of the individual may find prescription bottles from different doctors and pharmacies; this is one significant tipoff of abuse.
Individuals who misuse Adderall will likely begin to display “drug-seeking” behaviors. These can include:
- “Doctor shopping,” or going to several different pharmacies to try to fill Adderall prescriptions
- Spending a significant amount of time and money to get the drug
- Avoiding life’s responsibilities
- Noticeably lowering their level of self-care or grooming
- Becoming socially withdrawn or secretive
- Manipulating, crushing, or snorting Adderall to increase or hasten its effects
Adderall addiction Signs and Symptoms – Psychological
The longer a person abuses the drug, the higher the chance of experiencing Adderall’s side effects, some of which are permanent and irreversible.
Neurotoxicity is a symptom of Adderall abuse. It is psychosis and schizophrenia-like symptoms of paranoid delusions and hallucinations (a persistent mental illness requiring a lifetime of treatment).
The following list includes the most significant psychological side effects from extended misuse:
- Memory loss
- Incomplete thoughts
- Suicidal thoughts
Adderall Addiction Warning Signs
Adderall activates the brain’s “reward” system by increasing the chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine. That can make a person euphoric, a feeling of pleasure and happiness. If someone misuses Adderall, taking it for a long time may lead to tolerance or dependency. That means they will need to use more and more of the drug to get the same “high” effect. Or if the person stops or cuts back abruptly, they may get withdrawal symptoms such as trouble sleeping, extreme tiredness, or depression.
A person can cross from misusing Adderall to being addicted to it without even realizing it. Addiction means that a person can’t control the urge to take it. Another name for addiction is severe substance use disorder. If you or your loved one is taking Adderall, medically or recreationally, it is important to carefully monitor the person’s behaviors. Adderall addiction can be both physical and mental, and its symptoms subtle.
One of the most indicative signs of Adderall addiction is hyperactivity. If your loved one develops manic behaviors and has a continued need to keep busy, Adderall may be the culprit. Adderall use runs a user in a million different ways and often causes a person to forget about common activities such as sleeping and eating. Adderall addiction can leave the user to be hostile or aggravated as a result.
It’s sad that so many individuals fail to see the possibility of Adderall abuse and the harmful effects using this drug can have. If you have identified any of the warning signs of someone on Adderall, it’s important to consult an addiction specialist and try to strategize the best course of action.
Adderall Side Effects
Adderall is prescribed for individuals to treat mental disorders such as ADHD and sleep disorders such as narcolepsy, but many individuals take it without a prescription, due to the desired effects. As with every other drug, this medication can also cause several harmful side effects, both for non-prescription and prescription users. It’s crucial to know what these side effects are, for your safety. And of course, it’s best to take it only with a prescription and only in the prescribed dosage.
Short-term Adderall Side Effects
If you have any concerns or questions about the following harmful Adderall side effects, contact your health care provider:
- Circulatory issues (including finger numbness and discoloration)
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Dry mouth
- Stomach ache
- Back pain
- Flu-like symptoms
- Sleeping difficulties
- Mood swings
- Dry mouth
Long-Term Effects of Adderall
There are Adderall addiction signs that may be visible to people, such as the sense of excitability and talkativeness the individual shows. There are also long-term effects of Adderall abuse that may happen.
These can usually become even more harmful and can include numbness or weakness in extremities, vision problems, chest pain, peeling or blistering skin, and mental problems such as paranoia, mania, or seizures.
Eventually, with regular and use of Adderall, individuals will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms if they don’t take the medications, and ongoing use of Adderall can lead to chemical imbalances in the brain. Signs someone is experiencing withdrawal from Adderall may include irritability, lack of energy, anger, headaches, constipation, and insomnia.
As with many other substances, there are also lifestyle indicators that could point someone is on Adderall. As people’s dependency on this drug continues to increase, it might become their priority. What might have started as a way to excel in school or at work can actually lead the individual to renounce interest in these areas and display dropping performance. The abuse of Adderall can also lead to relationship crises, poor health overall, and financial and legal problems.
Recognizing An Adderall Addiction
It can be said that no one intends to become addicted to Adderall. Usually, the problem starts as a way of increasing productivity on a stressful day at work or studying for an important exam. Some people even fake the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to get their own prescription for the drug .
How to recognize if someone is addicted to Adderall:
- Not being able to finish work without Adderall
- Needing larger doses to feel the drug’s effects
- Neglecting other activities in favor of using Adderall
- Want to cut down on use but not have the ability to do so
- Being unable to feel alert without the drug
- Taking the drug despite knowledge of the harm it’s causing
- Spending a lot of time and money getting, using, and recovering from the drug
- Suffering withdrawal symptoms when not using Adderall
Adderall Withdrawal And Addiction Treatment
The Adderall withdrawal symptoms can make it hard for users to stop on their own. If a person is addicted to this drug quits “cold turkey,” they will experience symptoms that are basically the opposite of the drug’s effects. These symptoms can include loss of concentration, fatigue, and an unusually slow heartbeat.
In addition to Adderall side effects, there are also debilitating symptoms that result from the discontinuation of its use and a resulting withdrawal period:
- Low energy
- Inability to focus
- Dry mouth
- Body aches
- Mood swings
- Overwhelming anxiety/panic attacks
- Uncontrollable crying
- Short-term memory loss
- Intense cravings
Treatments for Adderall abuse and addiction are similar to those available for other prescription drugs at the rehab facility. Inpatient treatment can create an atmosphere free from the normal temptations that led a person to their prescription drug use disorder in the past.
A qualified treatment center can monitor a person addicted to Adderall through detox, ensuring withdrawal symptoms are safely managed. Adderall detox often includes a taper-down strategy. This helps gradually expel the drug from the body to reduce uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms such as depression and fatigue. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and 12-step meetings can also help.
Find the Right Treatment Plan at We Level Up NJ
The inpatient treatment approach works best as it aims to change the person’s behaviors. It also helps them establish social support systems and better methods of coping with stress. A person will likely show different Adderall addiction signs, and symptoms and it may be physical, behavioral, or psychological.
Unfortunately for those with dependency on Adderall, detox is an unavoidable first step of treatment towards recovery. Please, do not try to detox on your own. The detox process can be painful and risky without medical assistance. However, getting through the detox process is crucial for continued treatment.
We Level Up NJ provide proper care with round-the-clock medical staff to medically assist your recovery through our Adderall Treatment Program. So, reclaim your life, call us to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our counselors know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.
 NIH – https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=aff45863-ffe1-4d4f-8acf-c7081512a6c0
 FDA – https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2007/011522s040lbl.pdf
 NCBI – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3644523/
 SAMHSA – https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/report_3210/ShortReport-3210.pdf