What is Adderall?
Adderall is prescription stimulant given for ADHD management. Because it is quite chemically similar to meth, it presents risks for addiction and even more risk for abuse. For people who actually need Adderall, it is a helpful medication. For those who don’t, it can be highly dangerous. Just like with any other powerful drug, using Adderall regularly will cause the user to develop a tolerance and need to increase how much they self medicate. It has become popular as a “study drug” on college campuses, though most users do not actually need it – which leads to abuse. This is where the addiction starts. Eventually, the user becomes unable to function normally without Adderall. Like other stimulants, Adderall produces unnaturally high levels of dopamine, causing the user to crave more. Once the body has developed a dependency, the user may find it impossible to think clearly or concentrate without taking Adderall. The brain becomes so foggy that it is difficult to focus on anything. Like any other narcotic, there is even painful withdrawal involved. As it goes with an addiction, professional treatment is the BEST WAY to break the cycle.
Signs of Adderall Addiction:
- Difficulty concentrating without Adderall
- Needing higher amounts to feel normal
- Weight loss
- Lack of sleep
- Taking Adderall without having a prescription for it
A Gateway Drug
Adderall is a strong stimulant, with a high possibility of addiction. Unfortunately, because of current issues and epidemics surrounding misuse, the DEA is limiting production of Adderall, leading to a major shortage of the medication. This has a ripple effect on many men and women. Individuals who actually need Adderall are not able to obtain it through their pharmacy as they usually would, or the prices have gone way up. This is leading them toward trying to find it on the streets, which runs the risk of pressed pills cut with harmful narcotics such as meth. That spirals them into a dependency and addiction issue that can cause traumatic effect. Some people are giving up on Adderall altogether in favor of street meth which is cheaper, stronger and easier to obtain.
Similar to illicit narcotics, Adderall users experience harsh withdrawal symptoms when they try to discontinue use without help. Typically, the withdrawal takes about a day or so to present itself. Most users experience the same sort of fogginess and debilitating feeling as a hangover. Mood swings and irritability are very common, as is depression. Because it is a stimulant, it is likely to be extremely exhausted but have insomnia at the same time. Essentially, your body crashes from the high.
Due to the terrible feelings of withdrawal, many Adderall abusers will relapse immediately if they attempt to quit cold turkey. Anything to get rid of the pain and feel what they consider to be normal. This prolongs recovery period and increases physical and mental dependency. Typically, the longer that a person uses, the worse that the withdrawal will be.
Sometimes, the effects of Adderall use are so severe that the user will rush themselves to the hospital’s emergency room. Victims say that their heart is racing, or beating out of their chest. They feel like they are on fast forward. Some even worry that they are going to die from how intense the feelings are.
Long Term Use of Adderall
Long term use of Adderall can lead to a serious mental illness called anhedonia – an inability to feel pleasure.
Experts say that individuals who chronically overuse Adderall complain about boredom. Many times, it isn’t that they have nothing to do, but that they do not enjoy or feel pleasure in what they used to because they need Adderall to feel stimulation. This is textbook anhedonia.
This experience can be described as a feeling of emptiness. During anhedonia, the Adderall user will crave the euphoric high that the stimulant gives them worse than ever. This is an extremely dangerous period during which many Adderall addicts continue the cycle of using, crashing and repeating. This could potentially also lead to dangerous overdose.
Breaking the Cycle: Adderall Abuse Treatment
During substance abuse treatment, with the help of abstinence and with medical and psychological support, eventually anhedonia disappears—usually within two to ten weeks. Quality drug addiction treatment programs, like the ones here at Chapter 5 Recovery, also have the advantage of protecting the user against cues or reminders of past highs that make return to Adderall so tempting during a period of boredom.
Even after the worst of the withdrawal has subsided, there can be moments of intense Adderall craving, just like with other stimulants. Adderall users tend to have poor memories of the negative effects of their addiction – the physical, emotional, and social downsides — and remarkably strong memories of the pleasure. The bad memories, which make relapsing to Adderall less likely, usually will return after the craving period subsides. Part of a quality treatment program is helping men and women who have chosen a life of recovery to learn to survive the craving and reinforce the reasons why quitting is so important.
Compared to cravings for other drugs and substances, cravings for Adderall seem more strongly tied to external influences such as your mood, setting, particular people or events, times of the year, problems with other people, or various other memories associated with Adderall use. For the majority of abusers, these associations are nothing fancy or out of the normal: driving past a particular place, bumping into the neighborhood dealer that you used to buy from, even watching an actor use Adderall in a movie has been reported to trigger powerful craving.
For this reason, recovery-minded therapy for Adderall abuse is absolutely mandatory. Therapy uses techniques to reduce and eliminate the power of these triggering factors. Most importantly, the Adderall abuser has chosen the path of recovery.
The truth about recovery is this: there are millions of people in the world who have misused alcohol and drugs. These millions now live full and satisfying lives without needing or wanting the vices that nearly destroyed them. They live their lives without wishing they could return to a life of destructive decisions. Without for one moment feeling self-pity for themselves because they’re “not like other people” when it comes to substance use. This includes a lot of people who had hit bottom so deeply that no one could imagine they could ever get up. Even some of your favorite idols or celebrities have needed help. It can include you. You can be one of the many people who have been saved from the pain of addiction.
It will take time and work – more than any other achievement you’ve ever met.
There will be moments when it may not seem worth it – where it may hurt too much.
There will be pain – but this is nothing compared to the pain of being physically and emotionally dependent on drugs or alcohol. The pain and destruction this can cause you and your loved ones is immense.
Through a life of recovery, you will see that there is simply no alternative. Success, happiness and wellness in a life of sobriety is possible and achievable. There is hope. You are not alone. We are here to help.
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