Adderall and Addiction
Adderall, a drug made from amphetamine, is a stimulant that doctors prescribe for patients with ADHD or narcolepsy. While those who legitimately need Adderall have almost no risk of developing an addiction to the drug, those who take it recreationally have a much higher risk.
Adderall works by encouraging the brain to produce more of the chemicals that cause increased focus and alertness. For ADHD and narcolepsy patients, this means that their brain chemicals increase from a low level to a functional level. For people who take the drug without a legitimate need, this means that their brain chemicals increase from a functional level to an overloaded level.
“When people misuse Adderall, it’s often because of academic or performance pressure.”
People obtain Adderall from friends who have a prescription, and then they use the drug’s effects to help them study or practice. Occasionally, people have used Adderall for recreational purposes. The stimulant effects mean that Adderall can produce a giddy or euphoric “high” feeling for those who misuse it.
If you think you might have an Adderall addiction, contact RehabInfo.com today at 800-492-QUIT.
Whatever the reason for misuse, Adderall’s dopamine-increasing properties make it addictive. Dopamine, a brain chemical that makes people feel good, occurs naturally in the brain. When Adderall causes a bigger release of this feel-good chemical, the brain starts craving more.
The Detox Process
The first step to recovery from any addiction is called detox. When an individual stops taking drugs, he or she will still have some of the addictive drug in his or her body. The substance will leave the body as usual, but this time it won’t be replaced with more drugs.
The numbers vary by school, but roughly 7% of college students have misused Adderall or similar drugs.
Detox almost always comes with withdrawal, or unpleasant symptoms that occur when the body starts craving more drugs. For Adderall users, withdrawal may include any of these symptoms:
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Anxiety or panic attacks
- Stomach issues
- Increased appetite
The amount of time required for detox depends on the person and the amount of Adderall he or she has taken. Detox usually begins within a day of quitting Adderall, though some people don’t enter detox for a day or two.
Tapering Off with Medical Detox
The good thing about detox and withdrawal is that addicted individuals have many options to help them get through this phase. Some may choose to go “cold turkey,” stopping Adderall altogether without any support.
This method, of course, is extraordinarily difficult, and Adderall users who try this method are highly likely to relapse. Another option is to enter an addiction treatment program. From there, a doctor may use the “tapering-off” method to ease the patient through the detox process.
With this method, the doctor prescribes Adderall in smaller and smaller doses over time. Eventually, the patient no longer needs the medication to function. Of course, tapering does prolong the detox process, but it also reduces withdrawal symptoms, eases the patient through detox, and makes recovery seem far less overwhelming.
An individual can undergo detox from home or from a medical facility. Both choices come with pros and cons, and each patient should choose his or her method based on what will best fit their needs.
Rehab centers, can house a patient for 30 to 90 days. These facilities offer counseling and other types of therapy. The therapy options depend on the facility. Many offer physical fitness options, group therapy, art, and several other choices.
These programs are short but thorough, and they provide support while keeping their patients away from their triggers. As an added bonus, some of these facilities are also detox facilities, meaning that a patient can go straight from detox into a 30-day program.
If a person seeking rehab would rather live at home, they may choose an outpatient program. These programs tend to last much longer than residential programs, and they allow the patient to stay near the support of friends and family while they work on their recovery.
How to Choose
If you’re not sure which choices will help you recover from an Adderall addiction, don’t panic.