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Adderall Addiction and Abuse

Adderall AddicitionIn the face of rising college tuition costs and heightened competition for scholarships, many teenagers turn to prescription stimulants like Adderall to improve academic performance and secure a spot at their dream college. Adderall and other amphetamines are known as “brain boosters” and “study drugs” because students think that the drugs help improve cognition. However, this belief is only a rumor. While Adderall doesn’t make a person smarter, it does cause symptoms like hallucinations, epilepsy, psychosis, and malnutrition. Prolonged use of the drug can lead to an Adderall addiction and its associated risks.

Contrary to what many teens — and even some parents — belief about abusing Adderall, amphetamine is a highly addictive drug. Although prescription stimulants are usually safe for those they are prescribed to, people who use Adderall without medical assistance to get high or fuel all-night study sessions are at risk of developing an addiction. Due to the likelihood of Adderall addiction, the U.S. government designated Adderall to the same drug classification as cocaine and methamphetamine.

Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant with powerful addictive properties. You can become addicted to Adderall if you take it for an extended period, in large doses. Although the drug is often prescribed to treat disorders such as attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy in children and teenagers, using it for longer than prescribed is not advised. Unchecked use and abuse of this drug will ultimately lead to potentially fatal consequences.

Adderall increases levels of dopamine in the brain, inducing euphoria, alertness, and razor-sharp focus. This is why it is commonly abused by students and those looking to enhance performance at work.

If you find yourself or a loved one struggling to quit using Adderall, you can get help. Treatment is available to help you kick the habit and live a healthy life again. You can find experts with experience treating abuse and addiction, who can help you take the right steps towards recovery.

What Is Adderall?

Adderall is a brand name prescription amphetamine. This type of drug stimulates the brain to overproduce certain chemicals like dopamine, which can affect a person’s mood, motor activity, and alertness.

Adderall abuse in college and high school is common because many believe that taking these study drugs to lead to achieving higher grades. This myth persists because of two of the most common Adderall side effects — insomnia and lack of appetite. Without a need to eat or sleep, students stay up all night cramming for exams or writing papers.

The story of amphetamine misuse began in 1887 when Romanian chemist Lazar Edeleanu first synthesized the drug. In the 1930s, American biochemist Gordon Alles discovered the stimulant effects of the drug and created Benzedrine, a decongestant inhaler. In the years following Benzedrine’s creation, doctors also prescribed Benzedrine to treat depression, narcolepsy, and nausea caused by pregnancy.

During World War II, both the Axis and the Allies used amphetamines to keep their troops awake and energized. It was remarketed once again in the 1950s, this time targeting housewives looking to slim down and boost their mood. Amphetamine misuse became common in the 1960s when overall drug usage rates rose across the United States. Shire Pharmaceuticals released Adderall on the market in 1996 as a drug intended to treat ADHD and narcolepsy.

Adderall comes in two forms: tablet and extended-release capsule. The tablet form administers the amphetamine quickly. The extended-release capsule takes longer to break down, distributing amphetamine throughout the day. In both cases, the number of milligrams in the pill is written on it. Adderall abuse typically happens through oral consumption, but some individuals chew the tablets, or crush and snort them, to quickly achieve an Adderall high.

Although Adderall is the brand name for amphetamine, colloquially, the drug is known by many other names. Drug dealers, teenagers, and other individuals who misuse the drug use slang for Adderall to avoid suspicion. Common street names for Adderall include:

  • Addy
  • Bennies
  • Copilots
  • Pep Pills
  • Uppers
  • Speed
  • Study Buddies
  • Smart Pills
  • Wake-Ups

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) considers Adderall to have such a high potential for addiction that it is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance. Other Schedule II drugs include Vicodin, cocaine, OxyContin, and Ritalin. According to the DEA, Schedule II drugs are considered dangerous because they have a high potential for abuse and severe drug dependence. Because Adderall has medical legitimacy, it is only legal for individuals with a prescription.

Other names for Adderall

There is an extended release version of the drug known as Adderall XR. Adderall is also identified by a number of slang names used on the streets. Being widely abused by teenagers and young adults, these street names are more commonly used in this demography and in schools.

They include: Bennies, Pep pills, Speed, Eye-openers, Wake-ups, Red Dexies, Red pep, Blue pill, Black beauties, Copilots and Beans.

What is Adderall used for?

As well as being prescribed to treat ADHD and narcolepsy, Adderall is often used (and abused) by people trying to boost their performance. This mainly involves students and workers who have exams or deadlines to face. The drug easily induces insomnia and loss of appetite in people without ADHD, which gives them more sleepless hours to work or prepare for exams.

The drug is also abused by recreational drug users, because of the feelings of euphoria and overexcitement that it induces.

Proper and Safe Adderall Dosage

Dosage amounts vary based on the patient’s age, specific needs, and the condition for which the Adderall is prescribed. Examples of how the medication can be distributed can be:

  • Adults being treated for narcolepsy are usually prescribed 10 mg per day, with the possibility of increases in dosage happening later in treatment.
  • Children ages 6–12 being treated for narcolepsy usually take 5 mg per day, with the possibility of a dosage increase. Children older than 12 begin taking 10 mg per day. Adderall is not recommended to treat narcolepsy in children younger than six years old.
  • Adults being treated for ADHD usually take 20 mg of the medication per day.
  • Children ages 3–5 being treated for ADD are usually prescribed 2.5 mg in a tablet form once a day. Children age 6 and older begin taking 5 mg tablets once or twice per day. Adderall tablets are not recommended to treat ADHD in children younger than 3 years old.
  • Children ages 6–12 being treated for ADHD with extended-release capsules begin taking 5–10 mg per day, with the possibility of an increase in dosage. Children ages 13–17 begin taking 10 mg extended-release capsules per day, also with the possibility of an increase. Adderall extended-release capsules are not recommended to treat ADHD in children younger than 6 years old.

Is Adderall Addictive?

You can easily become addicted to Adderall if you don’t use it as per a doctor’s prescription. Its effects on your brain will lead you to repeatedly use the drug to enjoy longer hours of increased wakefulness, self-confidence, euphoria and alertness. Over time, your brain will depend on Adderall for dopamine production, which will cause adverse health symptoms once you stop using or cut back on your regular dosage.

There are various circumstances that can lead you to abuse Adderall. These include:

Environmental factors

Your chances of abusing Adderall will usually depend on the environment that surrounds you. Being exposed to community violence or having an unstable life at home may increase your likelihood of abusing this drug.


If you circulate with friends or relatives that use Adderall, you may be influenced to take the drug somewhere along the line.


This is perhaps one of the main reasons for abusing Adderall and falling into the trap of addiction. Sometimes, you have a deadline to meet, an exam to prepare for and pressure to get higher grades at school or fulfill more tasks at work. When faced with these issues, it’s easy to see Adderall as the answer. This is because the drug can extend your natural human abilities by tampering with your brain. However, long-term use will only do more harm than good.

What Is Adderall Addiction?

Doctors prescribe Adderall as a treatment for ADHD, which is a common disorder among children. It can also be used to treat narcolepsy, obesity, and some severe cases of depression in which other medications do not work.

Adderall abuse occurs when a person takes the drug without a prescription, or when a person with a prescription intentionally takes a much higher dose than their prescription. Adderall addiction occurs when a person develops a physiological or chemical dependence on the drug.

Adderall addiction is unlikely to occur in those who strictly use the drug under prescription. However, for those that use the drug illicitly for the ‘high’ it induces or to boost productivity and performance, addiction is indeed a possibility.

After taking large doses of Adderall for a while to enhance effectiveness and energy, your brain will gradually become accustomed to the prominent presence of the drug and cut back on its own production of dopamine (leaving that task to Adderall). At some point, more and more of the drug will be needed to recreate the same feelings. At this point, you’re said to have developed tolerance.

From there, decreasing your intake or abruptly quitting the drug will lead to negative health symptoms, which will result in a compulsive need to take Adderall to fend off these symptoms.

Methods of Adderall usage

Adderall on prescription usually comes in tablet form, for oral ingestion. Tablets come in different release forms and comprise a range of doses from 5 to 30 milligrams. The release forms of Adderall include two extended-release versions and immediate-release tablets. Adderall XR is the shorter extended-release version of 12 hours. Users who want to experience the effects faster often crush the tablets or empty the capsules and snort the drug. This will speed up the feelings induced by Adderall, as it travels to the bloodstream faster.

Who Abuses Adderall?

While Adderall is typically prescribed for individuals struggling with ADHD, the drug is mostly misused amongst college students. Students use the drug in order to stay awake and focus on finishing assignments. The drug is commonly passed around on college campuses. The National Center for Health Research has found that a majority of students who misuse the drug are white and are enrolled in college with a GPA under 3.0. Students refer to Adderall as a “study drug” and there’s a common misconception that the drug will allow students to gain knowledge and receive better grades

Signs and Symptoms of Adderall Addiction

Adderall addiction can manifest in a number of ways. Each person can experience different symptoms depending on the severity of the addiction, but some common symptoms include:

  • Weight loss
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Paranoia
  • Accelerated talking
  • Decline in personal hygiene
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Chest pain

Health risks of Adderall addiction

Adderall is often wrongly considered a safe drug, as it is a prescription medication and can be given to children. You might take the drug with well-meaning intentions, without understanding the adverse effects it can cause to your health. If you haven’t used Adderall for long, please stop. However, if you have abused the drug, it’s advised that you seek medical help immediately.

Some of the dangerous effects the drug can cause include headaches, restlessness, and dizziness. You may also experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Irregular breathing
  • Increased irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Trouble with cognitive function
  • Stomach troubles
  • Racing or pounding heart
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Verbal or motor tics
  • Skin problems

Severe effects of the drug include muscle damage, psychosis and extreme depression that may result in suicidal thoughts.

Short-term effects of Adderall

During short-term use under prescription, Adderall will produce positive effects if you’re suffering from ADHD or narcolepsy. It does this by boosting chemicals in the brain such as norepinephrine and dopamine. These chemicals will boost your alertness and attention span, and only make you sleep as little as necessary. The drug will also help increase blood flow to the muscles. These effects will make you feel energized and invigorated during this period.

However, there are short-term negative effects associated with the drug, even when taken under prescription. These effects include insomnia, feelings of restlessness, loss of appetite and weight loss, as well as possible cardiac problems.

Long-term effects of Adderall

Extended use of Adderall can result in severe health complications, especially when the drug is used in large doses and abused over a prolonged period. Because Adderall spikes the production of neurochemicals in the brain, long-term effects of Adderall abuse can include hostility, depression and paranoia.

Heavy use of the drug for a long time will certainly lead to dependence and addiction. The effects will likely include hallucinations, cardiovascular problems, tremors, panic attacks, suicidal ideation and psychosis.

Over time, the pleasurable effects the drug gave you initially may begin to reverse as a result of tolerance. This could lead you to take larger doses, which in turn might result in overdose. If you notice any of these symptoms and have fallen foul of addiction, consult a healthcare professional before you quit using Adderall, as withdrawal complications may arise otherwise.

Co-occurring disorders

tabletsCo-occurring disorders are common in Adderall addiction. Widely known as dual diagnosis, these disorders are mental illnesses that present themselves alongside your substance abuse. They make addiction difficult to treat and may tempt you back to using the drug if not properly addressed.

If you were prescribed Adderall to treat ADHD and went on to abuse the drug, symptoms of ADHD will occur simultaneously alongside your Adderall abuse.

On the other hand, if you abused Adderall to boost performance without having a prior mental illness, your addiction may cause psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety and psychosis.

In both cases, dual diagnosis is said to be present.

Teen Adderall abuse and addiction

Adderall abuse and addiction is common amongst teenagers. This is because they mostly see it as a sure-fire means to getting high grades and inducing self-confidence. Sometimes, it’s hard to meet the demands of school and there’s a perceived need to spend longer studying. Adderall provides a solution, as it shuts down the body’s hunger sensors for a while and nullifies the need for sleep.

Some youngsters solely use Adderall to get ‘high’ and experience the euphoric effects. This may stem from use at teenage parties and similar hangouts. Some teenagers abuse Adderall having been prescribed it. They sometimes want a stronger ‘high’ than the prescription dosage induces, so seek ways to ‘up’ their usage as a result.

Relationship between Adderall and other substances

Adderall affects the central nervous system like other stimulants and illicit drugs. However, its effect on the brain may differ from that of other substances. When taken alongside other stimulants, you will run the risk of severe, immediate side-effects, along with powerful ‘highs’ and adverse withdrawal symptoms when you choose to quit.

When taken in combination with Adderall, depressants like benzodiazepines, alcohol, and marijuana can induce more adverse negative effects than they would cause if taken alone. Taking Adderall with alcohol also increases the risk of a fatal overdose.

There’s also a great risk when taking Adderall in combination with Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). MAOIs are antidepressants and produce adverse health effects such as seizures, hallucinations, increased blood pressure and increased heart rate when combined with Adderall.

Adderall overdose explained

Overdose will occur when you take more Adderall than your body can handle. This is the breaking point for your body in terms of Adderall abuse. You will be at risk of overdose if you:

  • Take Adderall without prescriptionAdderall overdose explained
  • Take Adderall for an extended period other than medically recommended
  • Take more than what has been prescribed
  • Abuse Adderall alongside other substances like marijuana, alcohol, or benzodiazepines

Overdose commonly occurs as a result of tolerance. When your body and brain grow desensitized to the effects of the drug, you’ll need a higher dose than before to replicate the desired effects. This trend will go on and likely result in an overdose.

Overdose could also easily occur when you relapse in the middle of your addiction treatment. This is why it is important to stick to treatment once you start (to ensure full recovery).

Adderall overdose can lead to physical symptoms such as fainting, fatigue, diarrhea, rapid heart rate, uncontrollable shaking, and fever as well as more serious effects such as loss of consciousness, seizures, and tremors. Psychological effects such as hallucinations, depression, panic, anxiety, and aggression are also common.

Adderall abuse and addiction facts and statistics

Reports from treatment centers and hospitals indicate an increasing use of Adderall in the USA today. Adderall is known as a ‘smart drug’, often taken to enhance cognitive ability. An estimated 10-15% of students in the USA (around 230,000 students) admit to using Adderall or other prescription drugs or alcohol to increase focus and concentration for longer study hours. The use of the drug is reportedly also rife amongst professionals looking to boost performance.

Choosing the Best Adderall Addiction Rehab Program

If you or a loved one is addicted to Adderall, you're not alone. Even though Adderall is legally available with a prescription, it is also an amphetamine, which makes it highly addictive. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 6.4 percent of full-time college students, for example, used Adderall non-medically in the past year. Non-medical Adderall use can lead to abuse and addiction. Fortunately, there are a number of Adderall rehab centers that can help. For assistance finding the best Adderall treatment centers, call us.

Inpatient Facilities vs. Outpatient Treatment

TreatmentAdderall addiction can disrupt personal relationships and career plans. If you're struggling with an Adderall addiction and try to stop suddenly, you may experience withdrawal symptoms, so proper treatment is important.

There are two types of Adderall rehab centers: inpatient and outpatient. Inpatient rehab centers provide room, board, and care. The length of stay varies but is generally long term. Inpatient Adderall rehab treatment centers vary in terms of amenities. Some are luxury centers, which have lush furnishings, recreational facilities, and professional chefs. Outpatient Adderall treatment centers provide treatment while the addict lives at home and continues many aspects of his or her day-to-day life.

Residential Rehab Facilities

Residential rehab centers allow Adderall addicts to focus exclusively on their recovery without the distractions of daily life. Before you seek out a residential treatment center, it is important to determine whether or not you're truly addicted. If you're addicted to Adderall, you will experience withdrawal symptoms when you're not using the drug. Withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Sadness
  • Restlessness
  • Oversleeping
  • Suicidal thoughts

If you don't experience withdrawal symptoms but are not comfortable with your Adderall use, you may still need professional assistance.

Tolerance vs. Adderall Dependence

Tolerance occurs when your body becomes used to a drug, such as Adderall, and you need increasingly larger amounts of Adderall to achieve the same effects. Adderall dependence is when you feel you can't function without the drug. Tolerance is a physical effect, while dependence can be both physical and psychological.

Privacy at Adderall Rehab

Adderall rehab centers are legally required to protect the privacy of those receiving treatment. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, treatment centers that violate privacy laws are subject to a fine of $500 for a first offense and up to $5,000 for any further offenses. Legally, rehab centers must keep records locked and limit access to these records. They are also not allowed to discuss patient information without the patient's consent.

"...treatment centers that violate privacy laws are subject to a fine of $500 for a first offense and up to $5,000 for any further offenses."


Whether or not you have a private room depends on which Adderall rehabilitation center you choose. Many luxury rehab centers offer private rooms.

Length of Inpatient Rehabilitation Programs

therapyThere is no set period of time for Adderall addiction treatment. A number of factors influence how long a patient needs treatment. According to the Alcohol Drug Abuse Help and Resource Center, the average length of stay in an inpatient treatment center is 28 days. If you or your loved one is struggling with withdrawal symptoms, a longer stay may be advisable. Sixty to 90 days or more isn't uncommon; these are considered long-term stays.

For more information on what type and length of treatment you or your loved one might need, call us day or night. Adderall rehab centers can help you determine which of these length-of-stay options is best for you or your loved one.

What Happens During Treatment?

There are multiple steps to effective Adderall addiction treatment:

  • Intake: The first step when you arrive at Adderall rehab centers in treatment is intake. This is when you meet with your care providers, who assess your treatment needs and options.
  • Detoxification from Adderall. The next step is getting Adderall out of your system. This can be a challenging time, and there is typically medical monitoring in the event of any side effects from withdrawal.
  • Addiction therapy. Once you or your loved one has been detoxified, you begin therapy. Most Adderall rehabilitation centers utilize several approaches to treatment, including individual and group therapy, Narcotics Anonymous meetings, classes, and activities.
  • Specialized care. Many addicts require specialized care, whether it's for another addiction, such as other drugs or alcohol, medical treatment for a physical or mental illness, or vocational training to find gainful employment after treatment.
  • Extended care and aftercare. Once your inpatient Adderall treatment is completed, your treatment team will make recommendations for aftercare. This may include counseling, NA meetings, and follow-up appointments.

Paying for Adderall Addiction Treatment

Adderall rehab centers vary significantly in price. Some Adderall treatment centers accept health insurance, but it varies based on whether the treatment center is public or private. If the best rehabilitation center doesn't accept insurance, they may be able to assist you with setting up financing to cover treatment costs.

Where to Get Treatment

One of the most important treatment decisions to make is whether to find a treatment center close to home or in a new location. Some find being in natural surroundings, such as in the mountains or near the ocean, to be therapeutic. Others prefer to be close to family.

I Want to Find an Executive or Luxury Rehab Center

If business-related issues are stopping you or someone you love from looking for help for a drug use issue or behavior-related addiction, executive rehabilitation centers may be what you need. By leveraging high-quality substance addiction and behavioral treatments with the flexibility of computer and mobile access, a business person can get assistance in comfort and seclusion.

Often, current illicit substance and behavior addiction treatment clinics grant the top-tier amenities one would expect to enjoy only in America's best hotels, with your comfort and health being the biggest priorities. From gym facilities and in-house massage therapy to housekeeping services and fine linens, you can get the highest-quality substance addiction and behavioral treatment for yourself or someone you love while enjoying rehab. If you need help determining the best-rated luxury treatment programs for Adderall addiction, dial our no-cost helpline right away.

Staying Sober

Once treatment ends, it's important to continue whatever treatment your care team recommends. This is a critical part of staying sober. You may also need to expand your circle of friends if many of your previous friends still abuse drugs.

Determining Treatment Readiness

The doctor diagnosed and treated a woman.It is also important to consider whether you or your loved one is ready for treatment. It can be difficult to acknowledge that you have a problem and that you need treatment. It may take several difficult conversations for the Adderall addict to feel that he or she is ready to begin treatment.

Learning About Your Options

In addition to reviewing treatment program options, you may also want to learn more about the various aspects of Adderall addiction treatment. Interventions, for example, can be a powerful tool for getting your loved one to begin treatment. Understanding more about the intake process, the detox process, and the differences between inpatient and outpatient treatment can also be helpful.

Some familiarity with different treatment methods can also help you or your loved one. Some programs are based on the 12-step model, which originated with Alcoholics Anonymous. There are also non-12-step group models, holistic programs -- which integrate alternative practices such as yoga -- and religious models, which incorporate the patient's faith.

Before you or your loved one completes treatment, you may also want to look into sober living options. These are group homes where you live with others who are also recovering addicts. You can live in the community and learn how to live a sober life together. You should also have a plan for aftercare and recovery.

It Is Never Too Late

Regardless of you or your loved one's level of Adderall addiction, it's not too late for treatment. Call us for advice and assistance on finding Adderall rehab centers.

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