Adderall Abuse Can Be Difficult to Notice
One of the most easily accessed prescription medications is Adderall. Although it’s traditionally used to help symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, it’s increasingly been misused. Recognizing that you or someone you know has an addiction to Adderall is key to starting your journey toward recovery. At Granite Recovery Centers, we want to make sure that you have all of the support that you need. Here’s what you need to know about signs and symptoms of Adderall abuse.
How Does Adderall Affect the Body?
Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant. Because it’s primarily used to treat those with ADHD, the drug is designed to help patients focus and improve their concentration. It does so by boosting certain chemicals in the brain. When those chemicals are activated, the patient is able to focus better.
It also has an impact on your heart rate. With higher blood pressure, you may start to feel anxious or nervous. Those who do not suffer from ADHD may feel those feelings more acutely.
Besides helping to treat ADHD, it’s also been used to help narcolepsy. Because your brain is kept active, it’s harder for it to shut down and make you fall asleep. That also means that those who use Adderall and don’t suffer from narcolepsy may then suffer from insomnia.
Adderall can also affect states of drunkenness. If you abuse alcohol and Adderall, the Adderall is going to amplify the effects of the alcohol, so you’re going to experience intense feelings of drunkenness. Even performing simple tasks can be difficult when these two drugs are combined.
Because Adderall has an effect on everything from your brain to your digestive system, it’s easy to become addicted to it. If you stop using it, then you may start to feel unwell. This can create an endless cycle that’s difficult to break.
General Signs of Prescription Medication Addiction
There are a few general signs that can indicate that you or someone you know has an addiction to Adderall. One of the first is being unable to stop taking Adderall even though you’re aware that it’s causing you behavioral and physical problems. At this stage, you may think that recovery is impossible since you may believe that your body can’t survive without the drug.
Another general sign that you’re addicted to Adderall is if you make life decisions based on the drug. For example, even though you know that you need to work, you may choose to skip it in order to get Adderall. Or you may know that you need to pick someone up, but you choose instead to attend a party where you know that the drug is being used. When the drug takes center stage in your life, then you’re addicted.
A third general sign of prescription medication addiction is needing to take higher doses of the drug in order to get high. There are a few reasons why doctors only allow their patients to take small doses of Adderall. The first is efficacy. Higher dosages don’t always mean that the drug is going to work better.
The second reason is that doctors are aware that the body builds up a tolerance against Adderall. Because Adderall reworks some of your brain’s chemistry, the brain becomes reliant on it. Doctors try to avoid that by only allowing a certain amount of Adderall to interfere with your brain at a time.
Abuse means you’re using Adderall as much as you can. Unfortunately, it also means that you’re quickly heading to a point where you won’t be able to get enough of a high from the drug. That could lead to an overdose. Adderall also affects your heart rate. This means that you may also suffer a heart attack either while you’re passed out or during your high.
The last general sign of prescription addiction is that you suffer from withdrawal symptoms when you stop using Adderall. It’s common to feel slight or severe withdrawal symptoms when using Adderall. Even those who use it properly as per their doctor’s instructions may feel slight symptoms of withdrawal when they forget their dose. As someone who is addicted to Adderall, you may suffer from those symptoms more severely.
Who Can Become Addicted to Adderall?
There are many people who take the prescription as prescribed who are healthy and not at risk. However, there are those who may become dependent on Adderall for their focus and sense of well-being. These individuals may seek to acquire more Adderall on top of their prescribed medication.
There are also those who do not suffer from ADHD or narcolepsy and desire the high that Adderall can give. These individuals acquire the medication through other means.
These individuals also likely take the drug in different ways. They may choose to inject the drug into a vein in order to receive a more potent high. Others may snort it like cocaine in order to make the drug act faster on their brain.
Physical and Psychological Effects of Adderall After Use
There are a few signs and symptoms of being under the influence of Adderall. Because it interacts with dopamine, one of the key neurotransmitters responsible for feelings of wellness and happiness, the high can stimulate feelings of joy and invulnerability. Some of the physical signs and feelings that you may experience under an Adderall high include:
- A desire to be productive
- Feeling healthy and sound
- Increased socialness
- Feeling motivated and optimistic about life
- Increased thinking
- Increased talking
The signs are potent enough that anyone will likely notice them. If you’re at a party and you notice someone with these signs, then it may be because they’re under the influence of Adderall or another prescription medication.
Because Adderall boosts your brain activity and helps you gain some energy, you feel more motivated to be productive. That might mean doing your homework or going to work. It can also make you feel good about yourself and the situation you’re in. However, it can increase your energy or desire to be productive to the point where you’re actually hyperactive and pushing yourself a little too far. You may find yourself being unable to stop talking. The conversation may even be nonsensical.
Eventually, you may start to feel impatient. Things aren’t happening quickly enough. Those feelings can then transform into nervousness or anxiety. This is when your heart rate is starting to increase a little too much. It triggers the feeling of fear or apprehension. Noticing these signs in yourself or at a party can help you understand when someone needs your help.
Side Effects of Adderall Use
Like all prescription medications, Adderall has its share of side effects. Understanding what they are can also help you determine if you’re taking too much. Some of the side effects of taking Adderall include:
- Dry mouth
- Problems falling or staying asleep
- Decreased sexual interest
- Tremors in the limbs
- Weight loss
Some of these symptoms may be made worse because of the amount of Adderall that was taken. They may also feel like signs of withdrawal. Because they’re so unpleasant, you may choose to take more Adderall in order to get back the feelings that you had before. However, this will only make the problem worse. You may experience even more intense side effects afterward. It’s important to understand these signs because it can help you determine if someone took too much Adderall.
One other side effect that is rare is hallucinations. Some users of Adderall have reported seeing or hearing things that aren’t there. This can be dangerous. If you start hallucinating while taking Adderall, then you should seek help immediately. Other more serious side effects of using Adderall include:
- Chest pain
- Fast heart rate
- Feeling faint
- Changes in vision
- Slowed or slurred speech
- Numbness in arms or legs
- Difficulty swallowing
- Shortness of breath
- Hoarse voice
- Muscular or verbal tics
- Blistering skin
- Peeling skin
- Swelling of eyes, tongue, throat, or face
These are all serious side effects that should indicate that you need to seek medical help immediately. Some of them may even be a sign that you’re experiencing an overdose. Because heart attacks can occur from using Adderall, if you experience numbness, chest pains, or shortness of breath, then it may indicate that you’re about to suffer from one, and you need to call 911 immediately.
Because there isn’t much research available on the long-term effects of Adderall on the body, it’s important to see how the short-term effects can affect the body’s systems. If the short-term effects are this serious, then the long-term effects may be even worse.
Those who are addicted to Adderall may find that they increasingly start to experience these negative symptoms. As the drug has an impact on your brain chemistry, it can also take its toll on your body.
Behavioral Signs and Symptoms of Adderall Abuse
There aren’t just physical signs that you may be addicted to Adderall. Your behavior can also indicate that there’s a problem. Part of that behavior may be linked to how Adderall is taken. Those who inject Adderall into their bodies, for example, are going to need the correct kind of paraphernalia in order to do so.
They’ll need a syringe, a spoon that can be heated, and a belt or some other type of device that can be used to tighten their arm. This helps them find a vein. Because Adderall is taken in a pill, it has to be melted down to a liquid form. This is done with the spoon. Then the user is able to inject it into their vein.
You may notice the required paraphernalia around their room. You may also want to look for puncture wounds where the needles are injected. Serious abusers may have numerous puncture wounds and may need to seek other veins to use.
The other popular way to take Adderall is by crushing the pills and snorting them like cocaine. In this instance, the person using the drug will need something to crush the pills with and something to channel the powder up their nose as they inhale it, like a drinking straw that has been cut into smaller pieces.
You can tell that someone is snorting Adderall because they’ll likely damage their nasal cavity in the process. Nasal cavities are designed to release fluid. Large particles that are forced up the cavity to the brain can damage the cavity as they migrate upwards.
Besides the way in which the drug is taken, you can also spot Adderall abuse through how it’s being bought. Some may use their funds from work in order to pay for their habit. Others may be forced to use money that’s supposed to be for something else. College students, for example, may use their tuition money to buy Adderall. Some may use their money that’s reserved for books to buy the drug instead.
Noticing a lack of self-care is also a staple of drug addiction. As the addicted person becomes lost in their highs, other functions like grooming no longer become important. As the drug ravages the body, it may also be more difficult to perform these functions.
Finally, it can impact their relationships. Adderall abusers will place their addiction over everyone else. You may notice that they stop hanging out with people or attending quiet get-togethers.
Recovery Is Possible Through Granite Recovery Centers
While you might feel hopeless and like there is no way to get off Adderall safely, this isn’t the case. You just need to use our detox program, where you’ll be given non-addictive medications that can help make the withdrawal experience easier. In addition, our detox program offers the support of therapists and medical professionals that you need to make it through to the other side.
It’s possible to overcome Adderall abuse. At Granite Recovery Centers, we have the support and resources that you need to detox safely. We can help you find the right therapy program that works best for your needs. At our center, you’re treated like a member of the family. It’s difficult to stop your addiction on your own. With us at your back, you don’t have to go through it alone.
Granite Recovery Centers also offers an alumni program. This is a program designed for those who have reached sobriety through our center. We know the challenges that you face in the outside world, and we can help you retain your sobriety.
Our alumni program brings together recovered patients and allows them to enjoy fun activities like bowling and laser tag together. The community is supportive of one another and shows that a lot of fun can be had without the use of drugs and alcohol. Our alumni program may offer you the group of supportive friends that you’ve been missing.
Substance use disorder doesn’t have to control your life anymore. You can take back your life today — all you have to do is give us a call.