Adderall is a prescription medication that is used to treat ADHD in children and adults. The medicine is a stimulant that produces dopamine, a chemical that the body produces naturally. Dopamine is a feel-good chemical that gives people a sense of well-being. While dopamine does occur naturally, Adderall produces the chemical in much larger amounts than usual. This over-production of dopamine can cause an addiction to the medicine.
Signs of Addiction
The signs of Adderall addiction include using the drug at a higher dose than your doctor has prescribed. When you take medications on a regular basis, your body begins to develop a tolerance to the medicine. Tolerance causes you to take larger doses of the medicine to feel the same sense of euphoria that you experience when you began taking the medicine. Other symptoms of Adderall addiction include:
- Hiding your Adderall use from friends and family
- Illegally obtaining the medicine
- Feeling physically tired or lethargic when you don’t take Adderall
- Feeling confused or mentally foggy without Adderall
- Being unable to stop taking Adderall, even when you want to stop
- Being unable to engage in your usual tasks without the drug
- Pretending you have ADHD to obtain the medicine
Adderall, and other prescribed stimulants, are usually safe when you take them in the prescribed doses. Snorting the medicine or taking large doses of it can cause serious health problems. For instance, long-term, regular use of Adderall can lead to malnutrition. Malnutrition occurs because the medicine suppresses your appetite,a side effect that often leads to unhealthy eating habits. More severe side effects are also possible.
The Side Effects
Like all prescription medicines, Adderall has side effects that are more notiable when you take large doses of the medicine, or when you take the medicine for a long time without consulting a physician. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, and an irregular heart beat are common side effects of using Adderall on a regular basis. Panic attacks, hallucinations and mood swings are also common with regular use.
Recreational use can also have dangerous side effects, especially when Adderall is combined with alcohol. Stimulants can hide the effects of alcohol, causing you to drink more than usual. Drinking more than usual can lead to a condition called alcohol poisoning, a potentially fatal condition that occurs when you drink a significant amount of alcohol in a short time. Alcohol poisoning can cause seizures, vomiting and can lead to coma.
Long-term use of Adderall can also cause depression, a mental disorder that is characterized by feelings of sadness, hopelessness or despair. You may not have any energy, or you may not be motivated to engage in activities that you once loved. Some people who abuse Adderall develop suicidal feelings. If you, or someone you love, has suicidal feelings, get help immediately. Doctors, counselors and drug rehab centers are available to assist you in overcoming addiction and finding treatment for any underlying medical disorders.
Professional treatment is the most effective way to overcome an addiction to Adderall or other prescription medications. Professional drug and alcohol rehab centers offers you the tools that you need to manage your addiction in a healthy way. Therapy is a common treatment method in addiction rehabs. You may meet with a therapist in one-on-one sessions, or you might participate in group therapy sessions to learn more about addiction.
Learning your triggers, or the situations that cause you to abuse the medication, is an important part of recovery. When you understand the situations and feelings that cause you to use drugs, you can develop coping skills to deal with your triggers without turning to drugs. If you have depression or anxiety as a result of long-term Adderall use, your drug rehab can help you find treatments for these underlying conditions.
First Steps to Recovery
The first step to overcoming an Adderall addiction is admitting you have a problem and asking for help. Addiction recovery is a process that often takes many months, and involves developing a support system that you can rely on when you are tempted to use the medicine. With the help of a professional rehabilitation center, you can find the support that you need for a successful recovery.