Primarily prescribed for the treatment of ADHD, Adderall is also one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs. From 2002 to 2006, the sale of Adderall increased more than 3,000%. By 2010, more than 18 million Adderall prescriptions were in circulation. Millions of patients have experienced an improvement in their ability to remain alert and focused after taking Adderall as prescribed by their doctor.
Nevertheless, the presence of so many legal Adderall prescriptions increases the opportunity for people who do not have a related medical need to abuse the drug. Because Adderall is a stimulant, those who abuse the prescription drug are commonly students, corporate professionals, and shift workers who are looking to stay awake for late or long hours. People who abuse Adderall are often able to hide the dangerous habit relatively easily. Therefore, it can be difficult for employers, university staff, friends, and family to detect abuse early. Nevertheless, there are telltale signs that may indicate the presence of an Adderall addiction.
Identifying Adderall Abuse
For parents, friends, or others who are close to an individual who may be abusing Adderall, having the knowledge to visibly identify the drug can be helpful in detecting the problem early on. In tablet form, Adderall can typically be purchased in the form of a white/off-white, blue, or peach-colored hard pill. Capsules, which are usually blue, yellow, or orange, are also available. Surprisingly, people who do not have ADHD or a condition for which doctors typically prescribe Adderall do not experience cognitive enhancement when using the drug. In fact, studies indicate students who typically abuse Adderall often have lower grades than those who do not abuse the drug.
Standard side effects of using Adderall may afflict patients who use the drug as prescribed by a doctor as well as those who use the drug illegally or in a way that deviates from their doctors’ instructions. Common side effects may include any of the following:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loss of appetite
- Upper abdominal pain
- Easily becoming angered
- Easily becoming agitated or annoyed
It is important to note that the presence of Adderall side effects is not automatically indicative of abuse or addiction. However, people who do not use Adderall as prescribed or under a doctor’s guidance may be more likely to experience adverse effects.
Taking too much Adderall or consuming the drug by snorting, injecting, or other non-standard means of administration increases the likelihood of overdose. Combining Adderall with alcohol or other drugs can also increase the likelihood of overdose. Symptoms of overdose may range from mild to severe. Mild symptoms may include:
- Rapid breathing
- Stomach pain
Depending on the individual’s sensitivity to the drug and the amount of Adderall taken, side effects may be severe. A severe overdose may include:
- Fever exceeding 106.7 Fahrenheit
- Elevated blood pressure
- Heart attack
- Muscle breakdown
Treatment for Adderall Addiction
In general, the two main approaches to substance use disorder treatment and recovery are medication-assisted treatment and psychotherapy. Both approaches can be combined and offered within the same inpatient or outpatient program. Because the FDA currently has not approved specific medication for the treatment of Adderall addiction, medication-assisted programs are mostly reserved for the treatment of opioids. Therefore, Adderall addiction treatment is typically based largely on psychotherapy.
Before beginning a rehab curriculum, clients must detox off drugs and alcohol. People who have more severe Adderall habits may be referred to a medical detox program. Some treatment centers offer medical detox onsite, so patients may detox at the same location at which they will complete their treatment programs. Medical detox allows the patient to receive the mental, spiritual, moral, and medical support they need to get through the withdrawal phase without relapsing.
Withdrawal occurs when a person has become physically dependent on Adderall, and he or she suddenly stops abusing the drug. A person may experience withdrawal even if he or she has not become fully addicted to Adderall. Adderall withdrawal symptoms may include any of the following:
- Drug cravings
- Extreme hunger
- Thoughts of self-harm
- Panic attacks
- Inability to improve mood
In some cases, quitting Adderall cold turkey without medical supervision can be dangerous. Medical detox facilities are often able to provide medication to minimize certain withdrawal symptoms to make the process more comfortable for the individual.
Inpatient Treatment for Adderall Addiction
Addiction specialists typically recommend people who have abused Adderall long-term or those who otherwise have a very severe addiction complete a residential or an inpatient program. During an inpatient program, participants attend therapy sessions, take part in other activities to support their recoveries, and reside onsite at the treatment center. Residential treatment centers provide nutritious meals, supervision, exercise opportunities, and the structured environment that many people need when they are making an effort to overcome substance use.
Clients who require medical attention may receive the support they need onsite, or the treatment center staff may arrange for program participants to receive medical attention offsite. The duration of an inpatient treatment program may range from several weeks to several months. In some cases, a client requires the stability of sleeping in his or her home environment. In other cases, clients may have work, school, or childcare responsibilities that prohibit them from residing at a treatment facility for several weeks. For these clients, there are alternative program structures.
Intensive Outpatient Treatment and Hybrid Programs
Patients who have legitimate conflicts that prevent them from residing at the treatment center are referred to outpatient treatment. Rehab centers generally require clients to have a stable, supportive, drug-free home environment for patients they refer to outpatient treatment at the very beginning of their recoveries. Intensive and hybrid outpatient programs combine the structure and supervision of an inpatient program with the flexibility of outpatient treatment.
Unlike residential rehab programs, which provide everything the client needs onsite, intensive outpatient programs require the client to commute to the treatment center daily to receive services the entire day and to return home to sleep at night. Outpatient is best for clients who have the motivation and the commitment to commute to the treatment center as required. In some cases, clients for whom outpatient treatment is appropriate may be provided transportation by the treatment center or by a third-party non-profit or service provider.
Holistic Treatment Therapies for Adderall Addiction
More treatment centers have begun to incorporate holistic therapies alongside traditional treatment modalities such as the 12-step model. Holistic therapies provide additional mental and spiritual support as clients work through their individual programs. Rehab centers also often offer activities like sports, gym sessions, and yoga to support clients’ physical health and fitness. Art therapy, music, and writing exercises provide creative outlets through which program participants may express themselves.
Adderall Treatment Programs for All Income Levels
Students and people who otherwise might have limited incomes should not let concerns about financial cost discourage them from seeking treatment for Adderall abuse. Treatment is available to people who have low income or no income. State governments and non-profits operate programs at no cost to individuals who do not have insurance and who are unable to pay for Adderall rehab out of pocket. Free, low-cost, and self-pay Adderall treatment facilities offer proven treatment and generally provide high-quality care. Deciding which rehab program may work best for you is a highly individual, personal choice that you should make after speaking with at least one recovery specialist and inquiring about programs that may be the best fit.
Dual Diagnosis and Adderall Treatment
In some cases, an individual may have an underlying mental health condition that requires treatment in order to allow the patient to have a more thorough recovery. People who have chronic episodes of depression or anxiety may use drugs like alcohol to help them feel more energized or to focus on the tasks that their jobs or studies require.
Treating addiction without addressing a co-occurring mental illness ultimately leaves the individual to find other ways to self-medicate whenever the underlying mental health condition reemerges. Granite Recovery Centers offers dual diagnosis programs to provide resources to individuals who require medication and therapy to treat the mental health condition that may make the person more inclined to abuse Adderall.
If you believe you or your loved one may have a mental health condition that is a contributing factor to Adderall abuse, request information about dual diagnosis treatment when speaking to an addiction specialist. People who have undiagnosed conditions may finally receive the diagnosis and medical attention they may have unknowingly needed all along before the addiction began.
Granite Recovery Centers
Based in New Hampshire, Granite Recovery Centers has been transforming lives for more than 10 years. Alcohol- and drug-dependent adults from all over New England travel to Granite Recovery Centers’ facilities to experience a proven comprehensive 12 step-based curriculum, dedicated staff and clinicians who care, and recovery settings that are located in tranquil surroundings. Our clients are also generally encouraged to participate in the holistic therapies that we offer to support a healthy mind, body, and spirit.
In addition to outpatient and primary inpatient programs, we offer onsite detox, medically assisted treatment, sober living environments, extended care, and intensive outpatient counseling. Our growing community of alumni continues to bear witness to the effectiveness of our treatment modalities. After graduating from one of our primary treatment programs, we will connect you with the resources and the like-minded, supportive community you need to encourage you as you continue to walk your personal path of post-treatment recovery. If you or someone you know is considering enrolling in a treatment program for Adderall abuse, contact one of our compassionate addiction specialists to learn more.