What is Adderall?
Adderall is a stimulant drug that is legal with a prescription. Its main ingredient is amphetamine, which is addictive when used for non-medical purposes. Doctors prescribe Adderall and similar drugs for ADHD and narcolepsy.
The drug works by triggering neurotransmitter activity in the brain. The increased neurotransmitter activity helps patients with ADHD to focus, and it helps patients with narcolepsy to stay alert.
Medical vs. Non-Medical Use
For patients with ADHD, Adderall often provides significant symptom relief. The medication brings their neurotransmitter levels up to a point that allows them to stay calm and focused. Those who take Adderall for ADHD report better performance in academic, work, and social settings.
Patients with narcolepsy also find symptom relief when Adderall increases their neurotransmitter activity. They can experience a newfound sense of control and ability to make it through the day without falling asleep in inappropriate settings. When people take Adderall for these legitimate medical reasons, the risk of addiction is low to nonexistent.
However, there is a significant risk of addiction for people without ADHD or narcolepsy who take Adderall.
As stated above, when a person who needs Adderall takes the drug, his or her neurotransmitters increase from a non-functional level to a functional level. When a person who does not need Adderall takes the drug, however, his or her neurotransmitters increase from a functional level to an overloaded level.
One of these neurotransmitters is called dopamine, and it’s one of the brain’s two main “feel-good” chemicals. When a brain floods with dopamine, it starts to crave more, which triggers an addictive cycle.
If you are stuck in this addictive cycle, or if someone you know needs help, contact RehabInfo.com at
When a person’s brain gets used to this increase in dopamine, normal amounts don’t feel like enough. If an individual suddenly stops taking Adderall, his or her body will react poorly to the sudden lack of feel-good chemicals.
During withdrawal, the brain has to learn to function with normal amounts of dopamine again. Until this person’s dopamine receptors heal, he or she will experience a series of uncomfortable symptoms. Many people relapse during this phase while seeking relief from the discomfort. In 2016, young adults (ages 18-25) committed 60% of non-medical Adderall use.
Physical withdrawal symptoms can range from uncomfortable to painful, and they often include the following:
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Extreme fatigue
- Increased appetite
- Cravings for the drug
Psychological withdrawal mainly includes anxiety and depression. A person going through Adderall withdrawals might experience a sense of fear and dread as they wonder how they’ll be able to function in the future without the drugs.
Occasionally, people may suffer from panic attacks during withdrawal. They may also feel helpless, hopeless, and lethargic. Memory problems can also occur as a psychological withdrawal symptom. Because Adderall was intended to help people focus, the sudden loss of the drug can cause problems with retaining information.
No matter their symptoms, anybody who deals with withdrawal from Adderall will need compassion and support. Although no medications exist to help with Adderall withdrawal, some treatment options can help relieve symptoms and help with the recovery process.
A person who wants to recover from Adderall addiction can get treatment in a recovery program. Some of these programs are free and owned by the government. Others are privately owned and require payment.
Inpatient programs allow people to live in the facility for a period of 30 to 90 days. Outpatient facilities allow people to live at home while seeking treatment, and they tend to be more long-term than inpatient programs.
During the first phase of treatment, a doctor might prescribe the patient with smaller and smaller doses of Adderall. The detox process takes longer this way, but this method also greatly reduces withdrawal symptoms, giving the patient a more comfortable transition into recovery.
If You Need Help with Adderall Addiction
If the idea of withdrawal is keeping you from your recovery, or if withdrawal symptoms have kept you from quitting in the past, don’t give up hope. With the right treatment program, you can get relief from withdrawal symptoms. Quitting is possible.