Adderall is a drug prescribed by doctors primarily to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It can also be prescribed for narcolepsy. It’s the brand name for a 3:1 formulation of dextroamphetamine to levoamphetamine; the generic name for it is amphetamine salts.
Amphetamines are a type of stimulant. A stimulant is a drug that speeds up the body’s central nervous system (CNS). In the case of Adderall, it works by increasing the amounts of specific neurotransmitters in the brain. Specifically, it increases the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, neurotransmitters that govern feelings of reward, motivation, and alertness.
When someone takes Adderall, they can expect effects like:
- Enhanced focus and concentration
- Increased alertness and wakefulness
- Improved cognitive function
- Higher energy
- Feelings of euphoria
It’s for these reasons people tend to use Adderall recreationally. Adderall is especially popular among college students, who use it as a study drug for exams. The abuse of Adderall on college campuses is so rampant, with one study indicating that up to 20% of all college students abuse Adderall at some point.
Adderall is widely supported by medical professionals when used as intended. However, it’s also open to abuse with addiction and overdose possible. It’s for these above reasons that federal authorities have recently begun to more tightly control the production of Adderall, leading to the ongoing Adderall shortage.
In this article, we’ll go over Adderall side effects, explain Adderall overdoses, and Adderall withdrawal symptoms. We’ll also explore treatment options at South Coast Behavioral Health.
There are various physical and mental side effects to Adderall abuse.
Physical side effects of Adderall abuse include:
- Loss of appetite
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- Dry mouth
- Nausea and upset stomach
- Headaches and dizziness
- Sexual dysfunction
- Excessive sweating
Psychological side effects of Adderall abuse include:
- Mood swings
In rare cases, psychosis can be a side effect of Adderall abuse. Especially with high doses or long-term abuse, people abusing Adderall can experience hallucinations, delusions, or other signs of psychosis.
Long-term Adderall abuse can lead to physical and psychological dependence, which can manifest as withdrawal symptoms when the drug is stopped, including fatigue, depression, and disturbed sleep. It can also lead to a substance use disorder, a serious condition characterized by continued use of the drug despite negative consequences, inability to stop using the drug, and a preoccupation with obtaining and using the drug.
It’s important to remember that the misuse of prescription medications, even if they’re prescribed to you, can lead to serious health problems. Always take medication as directed by a healthcare provider, and reach out to a healthcare provider if you think you may have a problem with medication misuse or addiction.
Yes, it’s possible to overdose on Adderall.
Adderall can be addictive when abused. That addictive potential can lead people to take more and more, which can make an Adderall overdose more likely.
Symptoms of an Adderall overdose can include:
- Rapid breathing
- Panic attacks
- Muscle pains or weakness
- Dark-colored urine
- Rhythm disturbances of the heart
If you suspect someone is experiencing an Adderall overdose, it’s crucial to seek medical attention immediately. Contact the National Poison Center at 800-222-1222 and await further instructions.
Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms Explained
However, like many drugs, Adderall can become habit-forming and lead to dependence or addiction. When a person who has been using Adderall regularly and over a long period of time stops taking the drug, they can experience withdrawal symptoms.
Here are some common withdrawal symptoms associated with discontinuing Adderall:
- Fatigue — Adderall is a stimulant that can provide increased energy, so when a person stops taking it, they can experience extreme tiredness or fatigue.
- Depression — This can occur because Adderall affects the brain’s dopamine system, which is involved in mood regulation. When someone stops taking the drug, they may experience low moods or feelings of depression.
- Increased appetite — While using Adderall, many people experience a decreased appetite. When they stop taking the drug, their appetite can return and even increase
- Insomnia or hypersomnia — Some people may experience sleep disturbances, such as having difficulty sleeping (insomnia) or sleeping too much (hypersomnia).
- Vivid or unpleasant dreams — Changes in the quality or content of dreams is also a common withdrawal symptom.
- Psychomotor retardation or agitation — This means a person could experience slowing down of thought and a reduction of physical movements or, conversely, they may become more agitated.
- Anxiety — As with depression, the changes in the brain’s chemical balance can lead to increased feelings of anxiety during withdrawal.
- Poor concentration — Because Adderall is often used to improve focus, stopping can result in difficulties with concentration and attention.
How Severe Are Symptoms?
The severity and duration of Adderall withdrawal symptoms can vary widely depending on several factors, including the length of time a person has been using the drug, the dose they were taking, their overall mental and physical health, and individual biological factors.
If you or someone else is experiencing withdrawal symptoms from Adderall, it’s important to seek professional help. Many people find that a combination of medical support and therapy can be effective in managing withdrawal and preventing relapse.
Adderall addiction is a serious issue that can impact one’s physical health, mental well-being, relationships, and daily life activities. If you or a loved one is suffering from the effects of Adderall addiction, South Coast Behavioral Health can help.
Before beginning treatment with us, you’ll go through our comprehensive medical detox program here in Southern California. We offer gender-specific detoxes for men and women in Irvine and Huntington Beach, respectively.
After successfully completing medical detox, you’ll transition to residential treatment, also known as inpatient treatment. Our Southern California residential treatment program offers highly structured environments and experts in treating addiction to stimulants like Adderall.
There, you’ll receive medically-assisted treatment and dual diagnosis treatment to deal with any cravings or co-occurring mental health issues you may be battling. In addition to individual and group counseling, you’ll also have access to leisure activities and family support services.
A step down from inpatient care but with more structure than conventional outpatient programs, a partial hospitalization program offers a good balance for those looking to ease back into normal life.
Clients undergoing Partial Hospitalization in Newport Beach can receive care five to seven days a week for a number of hours each day. When therapy sessions end, clients can go back to their sober living home in the evening.
This way, they can recover without putting their daily lives on hold, receiving intense therapeutic interventions like group and individual therapy, skills development, and medication management as necessary.
Clients undergoing Intensive Outpatient Treatment in Newport Beach participate in intensive therapy sessions, meeting three to five days a week, with each session lasting three hours. This level of care is a step down from partial hospitalization, requiring less time commitment.
IOPs offer participants the ability to continue their employment or academic obligations, receiving support and therapy as needed, as they prepare to reenter society.