Drug and Alcohol

Adderall Addiction: Symptoms & Signs of Prescription Amphetamine Addiction

Adderall addiction is an increasingly common form of stimulant addiction. Learn the signs of Adderall abuse and how this "study drug" is anything but.

Adderall Addiction: Symptoms & Signs of Prescription Amphetamine Addiction

Table of Contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

March 10, 2023

The Edge Treatment Center

Adderall is a very popular prescription drug stimulant that medical professionals and physicians give to cure those who are struggling to manage the symptoms of ADHD (Attention Deficiency/Hyperactivity Disorder), narcolepsy, and other sleep-related disorders. Unfortunately, these central nervous system stimulants are very addictive, and amphetamine abuse can lead to severe side effects, including insomnia, stroke, and even death.

It's entirely possible to abuse and get addicted to prescription drugs like Adderall. Some college students experiment with Adderall and other ADHD meds as "study drugs" for the perceived edge it gives them during exams and study times. It doesn't; the only thing Adderall abuse gives anyone is an addiction to Adderall.

Drug addiction is one of the most worrying health concerns in the United States of America. With as many as 50% of the American population using an illicit drug once in their lifetime, addiction is a leading concern for the government and society.

By the Numbers:

According to National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, as many as 614,000 teens between the age of 12–17 has been hooked up to Adderall and misused it for nonmedical reasons at least once in their lifetime. There have been almost 1,500 emergency room visits yearly due to overdose and fatal side effects of Adderall abuse.

What Is Adderall Addiction?

Adderall is an addictive prescription central nervous stimulant that consists of a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It produces a similar effect to that of methamphetamine drugs. It is a potent stimulant that affects the brain and nerves.

Due to its powerful addictive nature and easy accessibility, Adderall has immense potential for abuse and addiction. Doctors often prescribe this prescription medication to patients struggling with ADHD. Apart from that, depression and narcolepsy are also the reason for its use.

A study found that Adderall ranks 24th among the most prescribed drug in the United States of America. With almost 25 million prescriptions of this medication, there is a high possibility that millions are already abusing and being addicted to it. Not everyone who uses Adderall is at risk of addiction. But those who regularly misuse it without a prescription are bound to get dependent on it, and the risk rises automatically.

Over time, the chronic usage of Adderall will cause the body to develop tolerance to it, and soon it will become impossible to function properly without it. 

Adderall, like other stimulants, works by increasing the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine. Its high concentration in the central nervous system creates a rewarding effect. Where norepinephrine regulates the brain response towards external stimuli and affects the attention and speeding process, dopamine is a feel-good chemical that perceives pleasure and rewards. The unnatural release of these chemicals makes the user continue using the drug and achieve the desire to feel euphoria again.

Adderall comes in two forms: IR or immediate-release tablets and XR or extended-release tablets. Both of these tablets are readily available across all drug stores and pharmacies in the US. There is also an extended-release tablet known as Mydayis. It lasts for about 16 hours after use. This type of Adderall tablet, however, is sold by the brand name, while the other two are sold as generic drugs. Its intended purpose is the treatment of ADHD, but many also use them for better athletic performance, losing weight, increasing memory, decreasing appetite, and enhancing cognitive abilities.

Surprisingly, Adderall is also known as a study drug because many students ingest it to get help and increase their attention span, productivity, and organization. It also helps them in staying awake and not fall asleep, which is the only real effect of Adderall abuse. No study has ever found Adderall aided performances in tests. 

Is Adderall Addiction Treatable?

Who Is At Risk for An Adderall Addiction?

Even though many people responsibly use this drug, many people are at risk of falling into the depth of Adderall addiction. This is one such drug that is not only misused by the youth but also by older adults. From students to the elderly, Adderall has been abused for various purposes. As a result, many individuals are at high risk of using such drugs.

Individuals who are at risk of developing Adderall addiction:

  • ADHD patients are the prominent group of people who might abuse this drug. Adderall is used to treat the symptoms of AHDH, and there is a high possibility that these patients take more than the required dosage.

  • Students tend to abuse Adderall to enhance their concentration while studying for exams and other similar events. The medication increases the attention span, and there is a possibility of having a boost because of the drug.

  • Athletes are also at high risk of developing Adderall addiction. In order to get a boost in their athletic performance, many states and national-level sports personalities use this drug. 

Ways to Abuse Adderall:

  • Purchasing the drug for recreational use from an illegal source.

  • Taking more doses than what is prescribed by the medical professional. 

  • Adderall is available in tablet form, and its approved ingestion technique is by swallowing from the mouth. However, many Adderall abusers snort it, which is an unapproved method of consuming it.

  • Using it to study or to stay awake also counts as abuse.

  • Using someone else's medication and consuming it.

What Are Some Adderall Addiction Signs?

One of the glaring signs of Adderall abuse and addiction is physical dependence. If you feel very uncomfortable and have intense cravings that you can't resist but to take the drug, then it is a strong probability that you might struggle with addiction.

Initially, a person may feel good, and the drug can produce many short-term benefits, but soon the user's body will start to tolerate it. Adderall is a potent drug that is very addictive, and in no time, one can get addicted to it. When we talk about the common signs of Adderall addiction, some of them are mentioned below.

Signs of Adderall Addiction

  • Injecting or snorting the drug

  • Mixing and combining Adderall with other drugs to increase the euphoric effect

  • Lagging behind in work or study front due to Adderall abuse

  • Spending time obtaining Adderall

  • Struggling to meet personal expectations and professional deadlines. This is a warning sign that Adderall addiction is taking over your life

  • Sudden mood swings where you exhibit strong feelings of restlessness, aggression, exhaustion, and mania

  • Needing a higher dose than before to achieve the same high

  • Thinking and feeling about cutting back but is not able to do it.

  • Spending a lot of money in purchasing the drug

  • Inability to stay alert and aware of the surroundings

  • Will feel the symptoms of withdrawal whenever you stop the drug

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Common Adderall Addiction Symptoms

The addiction potential of Adderall is so high that many times the users do not even realize that they have started abusing the drug. The distance between abuse and addiction is not that wide; it does not take much time for addiction to develop fully. However, the addiction potential is hazardous among young users and teens. Some common symptoms of Adderall addiction are mentioned below.

Common Adderall addiction symptoms:

  • Behavioral Symptoms: This includes increased social habits, becoming more talkative than usual, feeling invincible and good about oneself, nervousness, restlessness, anxiety, panic, spending more time at drug stores, etc.

  • Physical Symptoms: This includes dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, headache, hoarseness, reduced appetite, digestive issues, upset stomach, fatigue, change in sexual drive, shortness of breath, increased heartbeat, trouble while sleeping, etc.

After abusing Adderall for an extended period, our body will become physically dependent. Physical dependence means that the next time you do not take the dose of the medication, you will experience various physical effects, because of which you will have to continue misusing the Adderal. This dependence on the drug is due to the developed addiction to the drug. 

Common Adderall addiction withdrawal symptoms:

Most addicted individuals experience withdrawal symptoms like intense craving for the drug, feeling nausea and vomiting, depression, anxiety, disturbance in sleeping pattern and unable to fall asleep, trouble remembering things, memory impairment, insomnia followed by hypersomnia, drug-addled dreams, anhedonia i.e losing interest in interesting and pleasurable things, intense hunger, etc. These symptoms make it very hard for the user to quit Adderal. 

What Are Adderall Addiction Side Effects?

As mentioned before, Adderall is a highly dangerous drug that is misused because of its many long-term and short-term side effects. These effects range from mild to severe and can even turn fatal too. Let us now discuss both of these effects in detail.

  • Short-term effects of Adderall addiction: These include tremors, paranoia, trouble sleeping, opening up of breathing passage, a sudden increase in heart rate, sudden decrease of blood flow, feeling energized and invigorated, heart palpitation, mood swings and feeling irritated, disrupted heart rhythms, and having cardiac issues.

  • Long-term effects of Adderall addiction: The long-term effects will be experienced when a user suffers from chronic addiction. These effects will include increasingly erratic behavior, malnutrition, paranoia, abnormal level of blood pressure, psychological disorders, vitamin deficiencies, irregular beating of the heart, and chances of a heart attack.

How to Overcome Adderall Addiction

If you want to get your life back and get out of the vicious cycle of Adderall addiction, the first step should always be accepting and talking about it. Addiction causes many to isolate themselves and corner themselves away from those who will love to help them.

So, acceptance and breaking the taboo of conversation are very crucial. Next, seeking help from a good drug rehab center is a must. For those new to this, drug rehab is a facility designed to help people who struggle with alcohol and drug addiction. They have a variety of programs to treat addiction. This includes:

If the severity of your Adderall addiction is greater, then it is better to get residential treatment. Here is a secure and protected environment; one can easily recuperate and get treated at their own pace. In outpatient treatment, the patient is free to receive treatment from rehab while staying at home.

Lastly, dual diagnosis treatment is mainly for patients suffering from an underlying physical or mental health condition while addicted to any drug. Good drug rehab will help patients improve and make changes at their own pace and time. 

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Do you have more questions about Adderall addiction? Reach out.

Leave Adderall Addiction Behind Today with The Edge Treatment Center

Adderall addiction can lead to worse things, including harder drugs and drug overdose. Why take the risks? At The Edge Treatment Center, our evidence-based approach to Adderall addiction will help you leave stimulant abuse behind for good.

If you want to learn more about amphetamine addiction, Adderall abuse, and how they're treatable, reach out to The Edge Treatment Center today.

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