According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, Adderall is the combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine and is used to treat symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults and children 3 years of age and older. Adderall is among a list of other drugs known as “study drugs” popular among high school and college students looking for increased focus and ultimately a higher GPA. When used inappropriately, Adderall can be highly addictive and without careful monitoring by your doctor, abuse and addiction can have adverse effects.
What are the Symptoms of Adderall Abuse?
Adderall abuse will manifest itself in a number of different physical and psychological symptoms that without intervention, may have devastating effects on the body and mind. Physical side effects of Adderall can emerge shortly after use. Adderall prompts the release of dopamine and other neurotransmitters in the brain. Prescribed users get a therapeutic benefit from it, but recreational users who abuse this stimulant can get a high. These are some substantial side-effects of the drug right after using it, such as:
- The illusion of wellness
- A desire to work
- Feeling social
- Getting insights about the meaning of life
- A sensation of excitement or being hyperactive
- Being talkative
- Thinking about things more than usual
- A feeling of impatience, worry, nervousness, and anxiety
These symptoms would be noticeable to someone in the immediate environment of an abuser. However, it is often the case that those who care most about the abuser are not present to see the effects of Adderall abuse. Therefore, it is important to also know the short-term effects of Adderall, which can linger long enough to be perceptible to friends, family, colleagues and classmates. Some of those include:
- Sleep difficulties (falling asleep or staying asleep)
- Shaking uncontrollably in an area of the body, such as a leg
- Changes in one’s level of sexual interest
- Dry mouth
- Weight loss or malnutrition
These symptoms can also reveal certain behavioral problems of Adderall abuse to concerned loved ones. Because Adderall is a prescription drug, it is common for individuals to “doctor shop” to get a high volume of it. These individuals will also typically use different pharmacies to fill the prescriptions to avoid detection. A concerned individual may find prescription bottles from different or unfamiliar doctors and pharmacies—this is one significant sign of abuse. There are other behavioral signs of Adderall abuse regarding the way a person pays for the drug. To fund the abuse, a person may spend their resources, including income from work, money in a savings accounts, and cash advances available through credit cards. There may also be a noticeable change in the person’s social life, and they may become disconnected. Adderall abuse can lead a person to withdraw from friends and family, and become socially isolated. Conversely, when the person does interact with others, Adderall or other drug abuse might be the uniting factor. Using drugs can make a person spend a lot of time alone, but also contrarily draw them out to use drugs in a group. The new people who come into a person’s life may exhibit some of the symptoms discussed above.
Prescriptions are not the only avenue to obtain this medication. Adderall can also be purchased on the street or through friends, family, coworkers, or classmates.
Is Adderall Overdose Possible?
It is believed by some that taking prescription drugs like Adderall is safer than “street drugs” like heroin or cocaine. This is only true when the prescriptions are taken for conditions warranting the medication and according to the directions of a medical doctor. Taking Adderall recreationally for non-medical reasons can be just as dangerous as drugs like cocaine or heroin. Therefore, it is very possible to overdose on a drug like Adderall. Common signs and symptoms of an Adderall overdose include:
- Rapid, irregular heartbeat
- Irregular, shallow breathing
- Hyperthermia, or dangerously high body temperature
- High blood pressure
- Stroke or heart attack
- Extreme paranoia
- Violence toward oneself or others
Treatment of Adderall Abuse
Adderall abuse may not be the same for every individual, so treatment should be unique to each person suffering from the addiction. The best treatment methods may be determined with comprehensive evaluations and assessments completed by a doctor prior to the entrance into a treatment program. A drug screening is often performed as well, to help medical providers better understand which course of action may be the best choice.
The first stage of addiction treatment is usually detox. To accomplish detox, the individual’s Adderall dosage may be slowly lowered over a set schedule to help curb the inevitable side effects of withdrawal that stopping the drug suddenly may cause. Although there are no specific medications approved for the treatment of stimulant addiction, the use of antidepressants, anti-anxiety, or other mood-stabilizing medications may be employed during an individual’s detox and treatment period for Adderall withdrawal, as they can serve to curtail some of the significant psychological symptoms of withdrawal.