All too common, Adderall is often utilized by college students, young professionals, or athletes to increase alertness and productivity. This medication even has a reputation among many youth as being a helpful study aid by boosting energy, increasing focus, and improving stamina. To many young professionals and college students, utilizing this drug seems like the best option for late-night cramming for exams or boosting energy to be more productive after work hours. As a consequence, Adderall is increasingly being abused on college campuses, with the possibility of even reaching an epidemic-size drug crisis if the numbers continue to rise. However, while many people think Adderall is relatively harmless, especially because it is prescribed by doctors to children with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), the unfortunate reality is that Adderall is extremely dangerous to the user, especially when taken more than prescribed or used recreationally. In fact, this medication’s addictive nature has a similar stimulant effect as methamphetamine. As such, Adderall’s extremely potent stimulant effect can even lead to potentially deathly side-effects to the user.
With such risks at hand, it is vital that before one indulge in Adderall for reasons other than prescribed by a doctor, that they understand the implications and long-term side-effects that Adderall addiction can cause them and the withdrawal symptoms experienced when detoxing off Adderall. Furthermore, if Adderall addiction is already at play, finding the right treatment facility that can help you safely detox off Adderall is essential in securing successful long-term sobriety.
Long Term Effects of Adderall Addiction
Adderall increases the dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the central nervous system. Dopamine, the “feel good” neurotransmitter in the brain, creates a pleasure/rewarding sensation to the user. Norepinephrine, on the other hand, affects how the brain responds to external stimuli, particularly how well it pays attention and how fast it responds to the environment. With the increase in both of these neurotransmitters, the user is at increased risk of developing an addiction. As previously mentioned, many people assume Adderall is safe because it’s often taken by children with ADHD. However, this could not be further from the truth, especially when Adderall is abused recreationally. Adderall is an amphetamine and amphetamines are highly addictive substances. As such, side-effects of abusing such drugs can be extremely dangerous to the user. Overdose can lead to heart attack, stroke, and liver failure. Furthermore, if taken with other substances, like alcohol, the user’s chance of fatality significantly increases.
Initially, Adderall has short-term side-effects such as:
- Dry mouth
- Digestive issues
- Loss of appetite
- Breathing difficulties
- Loss of motivation
- Disturbed sleeping patterns
- Racing heart
If abused long-term, Adderall can cause the brain chemical’s equilibrium to be severely disrupted. Some more severe long-term side effects of abusing Adderall include:
- Manic episodes
- Severe weight loss
- Chronic respiratory distress
- Vision problems
- Skin problems (hives, rashes, blisters)
- Heart attack
- High blood pressure
- Unprovoked and uncharacteristic aggressiveness
- Death from overdose or combining it with other substances, like alcohol or opioids
Because an untreated addiction to Adderall is life-threatening, it is essential that it needs to be approached as a serious matter. As such, if you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction to Adderall, seeking professional medical help immediately is necessary in order to prevent these life-threatening conditions from occurring.
Withdrawal Symptoms and side effects from Long Term Adderall Addiction
Using Adderall for prolonged periods of time can cause a dependence on the medication, as the brain stops functioning normally and loses its ability to manufacture neurotransmitters independently. This forces the user to take more Adderall in order to feel “functional”. Unfortunately, as the user increases dosage on Adderall, withdrawal symptoms from detoxing off Adderall become more intense, and possibly severe. Some common withdrawal symptoms experienced from detoxing off Adderall include:
- Depression, irritability, or mood swings
- Difficulty sleeping/insomnia
- Stomach cramps
- Feeling intoxicated or hungover
Withdrawal symptoms typically show up a day or two after the last dosage of Adderall was taken and may last a few days to several weeks depending on the severity of the addiction (how much was abused and for how long). Other factors such as: your genetic composition, health history, and family’s history of addiction can determine how intense withdrawal symptoms are experienced. Because withdrawal symptoms can be intense or even severe to the user, it is vital that one does not try to detox off Adderall “cold turkey” or independently from the help of a trained medical professional. Furthermore, psychological withdrawal symptoms, including depression and mood swings may last significantly longer. As such, it is imperative that one seek the help of a therapist that specializes in addiction while detoxing, especially if there are thoughts of suicide at hand.
Getting Help with the Withdrawal Symptoms from Long-Term Adderall Addiction
Because Adderall abuse is extremely dangerous to the user, it is vital that the user seek the help of a medical professional or inpatient/intensive outpatient drug rehab when deciding to detox off the medication. Going to an inpatient/intensive outpatient drug facility will ensure that the user safely detoxes off Adderall in order to avoid any potentially severe withdrawal symptoms. Attending an inpatient drug rehab facility is typically the best route for someone with a history of abusing drugs or a severe addiction to Adderall because it provides a safe, temptation-free environment without the distractions and influences of the outside world. Furthermore, attending a drug rehab facility with addiction-specialist therapists on staff and 12-step meeting programs will provide the user the greatest chance of successful long-term sobriety by getting to the root of the reason why Adderall was being abused in the first place. This is especially helpful to ensure that once leaving treatment, the same, unhealthy coping mechanisms are not utilized and healthier, new coping mechanisms are instilled.
The time to get help is now. Please do not delay seeking treatment if you or a loved one suffers from an addiction to Adderall. The sooner treatment is sought, the sooner the path to recovery can begin. Reach out today and a friendly enrollment advisor can guide you to the drug-free life you’ve always dreamed about.