Can You Overdose on Adderall?

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What Does Adderall Do?

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.

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    What Are the Side Effects of Adderall Abuse?

    While medications like Adderall can help people with ADHD avoid developing a substance use disorder and prevent relapse in recovery, they aren’t without risk. Many wonder if too much Adderall can make them sick. Additionally, those who lack an ADHD diagnosis may misuse Adderall, which can lead to side effects.

    As with all psychoactive drugs, there are various physical and mental side effects to Adderall abuse.

    Physical side effects of Adderall abuse include:

    • Insomnia
    • 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:

    • Anxiety
    • Mood swings
    • Aggression
    • Paranoia

    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.

    Can You Overdose on Adderall?

    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:

    • Restlessness
    • Rapid breathing
    • Confusion
    • Aggression
    • Hallucinations
    • Panic attacks
    • Fever
    • Muscle pains or weakness
    • Dark-colored urine
    • Fatigue
    • Rhythm disturbances of the heart
    • Seizures
    • Fainting
    • Coma

    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 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 are also common withdrawal symptoms.
    • Psychomotor retardation or agitation —  This means a person could experience a 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.

    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. A detox program at a recovery center can help. Treatment programs for stimulant abuse are one of the best ways to overcome a substance use disorder and move on to a brighter future. A rehab center like South Coast Behavioral Health is here to help with Adderall addiction and abuse. 

    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.

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      Can Adderall Help In Recovery for People With ADHD?

      For individuals in recovery, managing the symptoms of ADHD is paramount. Uncontrolled ADHD symptoms can lead to difficulties in sticking to treatment plans, maintaining sobriety, and avoiding triggers that could lead to relapse. By effectively managing these symptoms, Adderall and other ADHD medications can help reduce the risk of relapse as a form of self-medication—a common pitfall for many struggling with the dual diagnosis of substance use disorder and ADHD.

      When used under strict medical supervision as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes therapy and support groups, Adderall can be an effective tool in aiding individuals with ADHD on their path to recovery from substance use disorders.

      Adderall Addiction Treatment at South Coast Behavioral Health

      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.

      Residential Treatment in Costa Mesa, Irvine, and Huntington Beach

      After 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.

      Partial Hospitalization in Newport Beach

      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 several 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.

      Intensive Outpatient Treatment in Newport Beach

      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.

      Start Today

      If you or a loved one are struggling with Adderall addiction but wonder how long addiction treatment takes or have other questions, call us at 866-881-1184 or contact us here. Our highly qualified staff will be happy to help give you an idea of what to expect from your addiction recovery timeline, help verify your insurance, and assist with any other questions you may have.

      Pierce Willans
      Kelly McIntyre
      Medically Reviewed by Kelly McIntyre, MS, LMFT
      Read More About addiction Treatment & Recovery
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