Adderall Abuse and Addiction

Adderall is a popular medication prescribed to treat attention-deficit disorder/attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD). In fact, Adderall has become so common that there’s a pretty good chance that if you haven’t taken it yourself, you know at least one person who has.

Unfortunately, because of how common it is, Adderall is often abused. Some people take more than is medically directed as their body grows more and more dependent on the drug. Others take it recreationally for a multitude of reasons. As a result, Adderall addiction has become more and more common, thus a need for Adderall addiction treatment. How do you know if you or a loved one are suffering from an Adderall addiction? Read below to learn more about Adderall addiction as well as the options you have when it comes to Adderall recovery.

Adderall is a prescription stimulant and consists of a combination of amphetamine dextroamphetamine. It’s used primarily to treat those who suffer from ADD or ADHD. It has also been shown to help with some cases of certain sleep disorders, as well as depression.

Adderall is designed to affect the central nervous system and helps speed up and heighten certain bodily functions. It can help the person who is taking it better focus on whatever activity they are doing. Because it helps with focus and attention span, it is routinely used and abused by people who are not medically prescribed the medication. It can also be viewed as an appetite suppressant, adding to its appeal as a recreational drug of abuse.

Adderall can be abused in many different ways, all of which can increase the chances of an addiction developing. Some common ways in which Adderall can be abused include:

  • Taking the medication in a way other than it’s medically directed
  • Taking a higher dose than prescribed
  • Crushing up the pills and snorting them
  • Taking it more often than prescribed
  • Obtaining and taking it without the proper prescription

What Are Some Signs of Adderall Abuse?

With society’s focus on constant production, people have turned to using Adderall outside of the need for ADHD or narcolepsy treatment. Younger people, in particular, are using Adderall to aid in their education efforts resulting in more young people becoming addicted. When someone is abusing the drug they can display one or several of the below signs:

  • Aggression
  • Anxiety
  • Dry mouth
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Social withdrawal
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss

What Are Adderall’s Effects on the Body and Brain?

While you might think that taking Adderall is helping you, that’s not always the case. Sure, you might be able to study longer for that mid-term or drive through the night without having to stop, but at what cost?

Physical and psychological symptoms of Adderall use and abuse can begin to show up quickly after use. That’s because Adderall triggers the release of dopamine and other neurotransmitters that signals to the brain that it likes it and wants more. While Adderall can be viewed as therapeutic for those who need it since it slows the brain down, for those who take it recreationally, it is essentially like being on speed.


Prolonged use of Adderall, especially in high doses, can cause significant changes to the brain, even brain damage. That’s because over time, Adderall can actually change how your brain produces neurotransmitters like serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. The more often Adderall is taken, the more ingrained these changes become. As a result, the brain will build a tolerance which results in more and more of the drug needing to be taken to achieve the desired results.

Below are some of the short term and long term effects that taking Adderall can have on your mind and body.

Short-Term Effects

  • Hyperactivity
  • Being more talkative than normal
  • Feeling more social
  • Increased concentration and a desire to work
  • Thinking about things more than usual
  • Impatience
  • Worry
  • Nervousness
  • Anxiety
  • The illusion of wellness

Long-Term Effects

  • Stomach issues
  • Headaches
  • Decreased energy
  • Significant weight loss
  • Significant emotional changes
  • Heart issues
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack

What Are the Symptoms of Adderall Withdrawal?

Like most addictions, stopping the use of Adderall once you have become addicted to it can be difficult. The signs and symptoms of withdrawal can be harsh enough so that they prevent the user from wanting to go through with stopping just so they can avoid these symptoms. The withdrawal will also be more dangerous the more addicted you have become to your substance of choice.

Symptoms of Adderall withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty Sleeping
  • Nausea
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Vomiting

Teens and Adderall Abuse

Adderall abuse and addiction are far more prevalent in teens and young adults than in any other age group. Part of the reason for this is that it can help them study longer and focus better when it comes to school and getting good grades. Another reason is because of the ease with which teens and young adults can get Adderall.

Teens and young adults are prescribed Adderall at a significantly higher rate than any other age group. As a result, it’s easy for teens and young adults to get their hands on it because either they have a prescription or know at least one person who does.

According to studies, around 2.5 million teens and young adults reported misusing prescription amphetamine products like Adderall. Not only that, but those who took Adderall recreationally were three times as likely to use marijuana, five times more likely to misuse prescription painkillers, and eight times more likely to use cocaine.

What Are The Treatment Options for Adderall Addiction?

As a result of the severity of withdrawal symptoms that are associated with Adderall, it can be very difficult to quit on your own. It can also be dangerous as well. That’s why, if you want to stop taking Adderall and are in need of Adderall addiction treatment, the best option is to seek professional help.


The first step when it comes to Adderall addiction recovery is to rid your body of the Adderall and any other harmful substances that might also be in it. The best way to do this is by detoxing. The detox process can take anywhere from one week to several weeks depending on the extremity of the addiction.

Due to the potentially extreme side effects that come with detoxing, it’s crucial that the detox process be done under the constant care and supervision of trained, medical professionals. Attempting to self-detox can be extremely dangerous and even life-threatening. Detox should be completed at either a hospital, a dedicated detox facility, or a treatment center that also offers detox services and treatment.


Once detox has been successfully completed, you can then enter a treatment program to address your Adderall addiction. Based on your needs and the recommendation of your treatment professional you will either begin inpatient or outpatient treatment. During treatment, you will undergo a variety of therapy sessions and treatments in order to essentially reprogram your brain so it doesn’t need Adderall anymore.

Behavioral therapy has been proven to be very effective in treating those who suffer from an Adderall addiction, especially those with a long history of Adderall abuse. Some examples of popular behavioral therapy options include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Contingency management or motivational incentives
  • Therapeutic communities such as sober living homes and halfway houses
  • Community-based recovery groups such as AA, NA, and other 12-step programs

Are You In Need of Adderall Addiction Treatment?

Nearly 50% of everyone 12 and older who have used Adderall at least once obtained it without a prescription. Unfortunately, many of those people will begin to develop a serious Adderall addiction overtime, thus needed Adderall addiction treatment. 

If you or someone you know is suffering from an Adderall addiction, reach out to us. At Rock Recovery Center, it’s our mission to help you get clean and sober so you can start enjoying your life again. Contact us to learn Adderall addiction treatment programs and how you can get on the road to Adderall recovery.

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