Symptoms of Adderall Addiction

Adderall, a central nervous system stimulant, is a type of prescription medication that is often used in the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Made from a combination of amphetamine and dextoamphetamine, this drug is designed to restore the natural balance of neurotransmitters in the brain. When consumed, Adderall may increase one’s ability to focus, pay attention, and in some cases may even be able to control certain behaviors. However, because Adderall can be habit-forming it should only be taken directly as prescribed by a medical professional.

Unfortunately, Adderall is widely abused because many individuals like the effects that result from consumption of this drug. Since Adderall can increase concentration and improve cognition, many college-aged individuals have been known to use this drug to perform better in class. Additionally, many individuals have turned to Adderall as a type of diet pill because it has been known to cause weight loss. However, because Adderall abuse can result in a number of negative side effects, it is extremely dangerous to use this drug in any other way than intended by the prescribing physician. If abuse occurs, it’s important to know there are treatment options available.

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Statistics

Adderall is one of the most commonly prescribed medications in the United States, where about 6.4 million young people have been diagnosed with ADHD.

According to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 6.4 % of fulltime college students between the ages of 18 and 22 used Adderall in a nonmedical way in the past 12 months. Additionally, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the number of patients seen in the emergency room stimulant-related health concerns, involving drugs like Adderall, was highest among adults between the ages of 21 and 24.

Causes and Risk Factors for Adderall Abuse

There are many different factors that make it more likely that an individual will begin to abuse Adderall and will subsequently develop and Adderall addiction. The following are among the most common influences and risk factors for Adderall abuse and addiction:

Genetic: The results of multiple research studies have suggested the presence of a genetic influence on the development of substance abuse and addiction, such as Adderall abuse problems. Those who have first-degree relatives who struggle with addiction to drugs and/or alcohol are at an increased risk for developing similar problems as well.

Environmental: The development of Adderall abuse and addiction can be the result of a variety of environmental influences in addition to the presence of a genetic predisposition. Those who grow up surrounded by substance abuse and have easy access to drugs like Adderall are more likely to develop substance abuse problems when compared to those who did not grow up in such an environment.

Risk Factors:

  • Family history of substance abuse and addiction
  • Family history of mental illness
  • Personal history of mental illness
  • Impulsive personality
  • Exposure to violence
  • Living in an unstable home environment
  • Associating with others who abuse Adderall

Signs and Symptoms of Adderall Abuse

Adderall abuse and addiction can make itself known in a variety of ways. Some of the most common signs and symptoms that may indicate an individual is abusing or is addicted to Adderall include:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Dramatic behavioral changes
  • Social isolation
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Rambling speech
  • Threatens others
  • Failure to fulfill major obligations at work or at home
  • Inability to experience pleasure
  • Restlessness

Physical symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Tinnitus (ringing of the ears)
  • Blurred vision
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Dry mouth
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stomach pain
  • Shaking
  • Weight loss
  • Seizures

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Paranoid ideation
  • Auditory hallucinations
  • Tactile hallucinations
  • Transient ideas
  • Increased concentration
  • Psychotic episodes
  • Hyper-alertness

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Intense anxiety
  • Unprovoked anger or aggression
  • Extreme agitation and impatience
  • Hostility
If you feel that you are in crisis, or are having thoughts about hurting yourself or others, please call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room immediately.

Effects of Adderall Abuse

The abuse of Adderall can result in a rather lengthy list of both short and long-term effects that can significantly impact an individual’s life. These negative effects can be long-lasting and in some circumstances can result in a fatal outcome. Some of the most commonly observed effects include:

  • Engagement in illicit activities
  • Interaction with law enforcement
  • Development of various medical conditions
  • Weight loss and malnutrition
  • Development of mental health issues
  • Neurocognitive impairment
  • Hypertension
  • Confusion
  • Headaches
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Stroke
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Psychosis
  • Death

Co-Occurring Disorders

Adderall abuse often occurs alongside additional substance use disorders, especially sedatives, which are often used to combat the insomnia, nervousness, and other unpleasant sides effects associated with Adderall abuse. It is also not uncommon for other mental health disorders to be present as well. The following are some of the more common co-occurring disorders among those who abuse Adderall:

  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Depressive disorders
  • Panic/anxiety disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)

Effects of Withdrawal and Overdose

Effects of Adderall withdrawal: Any amphetamine, including Adderall, has the ability to cause withdrawal symptoms when an individual, who has been abusing this drug for a prolonged period of time, abruptly stops taking it. The following are among the more common symptoms of Adderall withdrawal:

  • Tiredness
  • Panic attacks
  • Mood swings
  • Extreme hunger
  • Depression
  • Nightmares
  • Strong cravings
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Irritability
  • Poor concentration
  • Slow reflexes
  • Paranoia

Effects of Adderall overdose: When not taken as prescribed by a medical physician, Adderall can be a very dangerous drug. Should an individual take too much of this medication an overdose is the likely result. The following signs may indicated an Adderall overdose and the need for immediate medical attention:

  • Restlessness
  • Tremors and muscles twitches
  • Rapid breathing
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Panic
  • Aggressiveness
  • Fever and other flu like symptoms
  • Uneven heartbeat
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fainting
  • Seizure
  • Coma
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