Last Updated July 30, 2020


Adderall helps treat individuals with narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). When used incorrectly, though, it can lead to abuse and Adderall addiction. The substance is a stimulant that uses amphetamine and dextroamphetamine to alter the chemicals in the brain and help people gain mental focus.

The goal of Adderall is to help patients gain behavioral control, increased attention levels, and mental focus. Misuse of the drug occurs because it can also create a euphoric and stimulating effect. When used correctly for ADHD or narcolepsy, this combination of drugs can be extremely helpful. For those abusing it, though, serious harm can occur. 

If you or a family member has an Adderall addiction or you fear they may be abusing the drug, it’s important to seek out help. Over time, quality of life can go into decline due to the misuse of the substance. At Transformations Treatment Center, we offer a program that can help you stop use, overcome withdrawal, and get started on a path to a better life. 

Adderall Addiction Symptoms

Even when taken properly, Adderall will have effects on your brain and body over time. These are often positive effects that attain the initial intended goal of the prescription. One of the main Adderall addiction symptoms, though, is when the same dosage no longer works for you. This means you’ve developed a tolerance and will need more of the drug for the same effect. 

Another sign that you’ve become dependent on the substance is if you experience withdrawal symptoms when not taking it. These can worsen over time since it can take about three days for Adderall to leave your system. If you haven’t stopped taking the drug long enough to experience withdrawal, the following symptoms are also indicative of an Adderall addiction: 

  • Having the desire to reduce use but being unable to do so. 
  • Continued use even after it’s caused harm (e.g. legal, relationships, etc.). 
  • An inability to meet work responsibilities without Adderall. 
  • Taking more of the drug or for longer than prescribed. 
  • The inability to feel alert without use. 
  • Neglecting other important or necessary responsibilities in favor of taking the substance.
  • Spending a lot of money or time trying to obtain, use or recover from use.

Those with previous substance abuse disorders are more likely to develop an Adderall addiction. This can be particularly dangerous if certain drugs are combined with the stimulant. Using it with alcohol, for instance, can result in heart problems, behavioral issues, and alcohol poisoning since Adderall dulls the symptoms of drunkenness. 

Abusing this substance can also make you aggressive, paranoid or potentially result in hallucinations. Even the more common side effects of the drug – such as stomach pain, weight loss, uncontrollable shaking and headaches – can seriously interfere with your life. The withdrawal symptoms from attempting to stop – listed below – can also be serious:

  • Depression and suicidal thoughts. 
  • Irritability. 
  • Intense nightmares. 
  • Oversleeping and insomnia. 
  • Increased appetite. 
  • Difficulty concentrating. 
  • Body aches.

Whether you began taking the drug with or without a prescription, the symptoms of Adderall addiction can be dangerous. The physical ailments can be minor or serious, but the overall effect on your life will be significant. At Transformations Treatment Center, we offer programs for detox and continued treatment. Don’t suffer alone in silence. 

Signs of Adderall Addiction

While prescriptions for Adderall haven’t increased over the years, rates of non-medical use and misuse of the drug have risen. Individuals with substance abuse disorders typically try to hide them from others, but the studies prove that more people are taking the drug without having received a prescription. 

This means recognizing whether a family member has developed an Adderall addiction can be difficult. It’s unlikely that they’ll outright admit to using the substance, and even if they do, their claim will probably be that they don’t have a problem. That’s why recognizing the following signs is so imperative to getting loved ones the help they need. 

  • Behavioral changes – such as aggressiveness. 
  • Decline in personal hygiene. 
  • Suddenly experiencing monetary difficulties. 
  • Socially withdrawn. 
  • Long periods of time spent sleeping. 
  • Excessive or quick weight loss. 
  • Incomplete thoughts or memory loss. 
  • Frequently being overly talkative. 
  • Unusual excitability. 
  • Finishing prescriptions sooner than expected. 
  • Manic behavior or disorientation. 
  • Frequently taking pills. 
  • Problems in personal relationships. 
  • Impulsivity. 
  • Secretive behavior. 

It’s important to recognize that Adderall addiction is not the same as abuse. Abuse can occur without an individual experiencing physical dependence. Unfortunately, it’s a slippery slope that all too often leads to a full-on addiction. This becomes an even bigger issue since some individuals will pretend to have ADHD to get a legitimate doctor’s prescription. 

Regardless of whether your loved one has a prescription or not, it’s imperative that you watch for these symptoms of abuse. If you need additional help learning how to talk to a friend or family member about potential misuse, use our Family Member Support Guide to learn strategies for moving forward. 

Adderall Addiction Statistics

Because of the perceived lower stigmatization of Adderall use, there is less data available regarding the abuse of the drug. Statistics are increasingly being kept, however, due to an alarming rise in hospitalizations related to misuse. While 16 million Americans take prescription stimulants every year, the numbers related specifically to Adderall paint a bleak picture:

  • Non-prescribed Adderall use by young adults increased by 67 percent in a five-year period. 
  • During the same five-year period, associated ER visits increased by 156 percent. 
  • 60 percent of non-medical Adderall abuse in ages above 12 occurs among 18 to 25-year-olds. 
  • One-in-five college students abuse Adderall or other prescription stimulants. 
  • Adderall is the most popularly abused prescription stimulant – followed by Ritalin and Vyvanse.  
  • 56 percent of college students say Adderall and other stimulants are easy to get. 
  • 67 percent of young adults abusing prescription stimulants are in college. 
  • Children who die suddenly are 7.4 times more likely to have been taking prescribed stimulants. 

These statistics show that – while Adderall addiction may not be as deadly as other drug abuse – it can still have significant and detrimental effects. At one point, Canada even pulled sales of the extended-release (XR) form of the medication due to numerous deaths. Adderall and other stimulants are much more than just a study aid – their use can destroy lives. 

If you have a loved one who won’t admit they have a problem, it may be necessary to stage an intervention. These Adderall addiction statistics can help you prepare what you’re going to say, but reaching out to a trained professional for help planning the intervention is ideal. If you need help with this or any other treatment/recovery issues, Transformations Treatment Center can help. 

Treatment of Adderall Addiction

Regardless of how or why you began taking Adderall, treatment may be necessary once you notice signs of addiction or dependence. Any treatment plan should be custom-tailored to the individual being treated. Those who suffer withdrawal symptoms, for instance, may need to go through medically-monitored detoxification prior to beginning other treatments. 

Even among those who need detoxification, the process varies immensely. There are numerous factors that can affect how long a full detox takes. The following elements have the highest effect:

  • How long a person has been taking the drug. 
  • Typical dosage for the person. 
  • Medical background – including size, gender, etc.
  • How often (e.g. twice a day) the drug is used. 
  • Was Adderall or Adderall XR taken? 

Unlike detox involving other drugs, withdrawal symptoms with Adderall addiction aren’t likely to be fatal. They’re typically unpleasant, however, and this can result in a person taking the drug again to stave off side effects. This creates a cycle where a person finds it difficult to quit even when they realize they have a substance abuse disorder. 

Once detox is complete and you’re drug-free, it’s then important to focus on the underlying issues behind the Adderall addiction. In many cases, for instance, there are common co-occurring disorders that could have made an individual more susceptible to abuse. If these issues are not addressed, the chance for relapse is very high. 

Adderall Addiction Recovery

Getting past withdrawal and detox is only the first step in overcoming an addiction to Adderall. The treatment programs utilized during recovery are numerous, and just like detoxification, the process can differ among each individual. At Transformations Treatment Center, our professionals take a holistic approach to address the numerous ways addiction affects your life. 

This holistic approach includes a focus on your mind, body, and even your family life. This is far too often overlooked in traditional treatment programs, but your family can be a huge part of continued recovery. Your unique situation will be assessed so that an individualized recovery plan can be created for you. 

The following are just a few of the methods used at Transformations Treatment Center:

  • Outpatient (OP) and intensive outpatient (IOP) programs. 
  • Experiential services (e.g. Adventure therapy, recreation).
  • Partial hospitalization (PHP). 
  • Group therapy. 
  • Serenity Lounge.
  • Mental health services.

All these services are focused on giving you the best possible chance of overcoming Adderall addiction and any underlying conditions that may contribute to abuse. Even after rehab has finished, though, recovery doesn’t stop. Most people with prior addictions constantly fight relapse, so the professionals at Transformations stay connected with an aftercare program. 

Don’t Suffer Alone

While Adderall may be a legal prescription medication, it is commonly abused. Even those who garner benefits from its initial use can face dependency issues that seriously affect their lives. If this has happened to you or a loved one, Transformations Treatment Center is here to help.

All treatments provided by our professionals are based in scientific research and proven practices. Our overall goal is to help you get everything back on track, and this means leading a healthy life free of Adderall addiction. Contact us today to learn how our first-rate facilities and certified staff of professionals can help. 

 

References

Medical News Today

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321542#symptoms-and-side-effects

John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

https://www.jhsph.edu/news/news-releases/2016/adderall-misuse-rising-among-young-adults.html

National Institute on Drug Abuse

https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/2018/04/five-million-american-adults-misusing-prescription-stimulants

  1. United States Drug Enforcement Administration. Drug Scheduling.
    https://www.dea.gov/drug-scheduling
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