Adderall Symptoms and Warning Signs

While Adderall is primarily used in the treatment of conditions such as narcolepsy and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), it is also used recreationally due to its euphoric-inducing capabilities. There is a very high potential for abuse and addiction from Adderall use and because of this it is very much recommended only for short-term use.

As Adderall is purported to be similar to cocaine in terms of its stimulant properties, it is commonly abused. As well as being abused for recreational purposes, Adderall is also frequently used to enhance athletic performance and cognitive functioning. It is, consequently, regularly abused by athletes and students.

When it comes to most types of prescription drugs, there is a common misconception among much of the populace that these medications are completely safe to take. They believe that drugs prescribed by a medical professional carry no risks, but this is very definitely not true. In fact, some prescription drugs can be extremely dangerous, having a very high risk for physical and psychological dependence. Adderall is one such medication.

Other Names for Adderall

Adderall is a brand name for the generic drug amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Other brand names are:

  • Adderall XR
  • Mydayis

Recognising the Common Warning Signs of Adderall Abuse

Adderall is a mood-altering drug that can affect various parts of the brain. It is not uncommon for the brain of users to adapt very quickly to this substance, hence reducing the levels of dopamine being produced. Dopamine is the body’s natural feel-good chemical and drugs such as Adderall can stimulate the production of this chemical, causing a rush of pleasure. Over time, however, these levels drop as the brain adjusts production in response.

This is known as a tolerance to the effects of the drug and can make you feel as though your medication is not working as it should. Your natural reaction might be to increase the dose of Adderall you are taking to try to achieve the initial feel-good feelings you derived from it. This is dangerous because the more you take the more likely you are to become physically dependent on it.

However, it can be difficult to tell when you have crossed a line from normal use of any type of drug to problem use. If you are using more than you were in the beginning, or if you continue to take it when it is no longer needed to treat a specific health problem, you probably already have an issue with it.

If you are taking Adderall differently to that prescribed by your doctor, you are also on a slippery slope. You might have been told by someone that administering your medication in a different way will help it to work quicker. But this is classed as prescription medication abuse and it could be putting your health, and life, at risk.

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The Dangers of Adderall Abuse

Abuse of any type of mood-altering chemical is harmful, and it is no different when that substance is a prescription drug. After all, there is a very good reason that these medications are available only on prescription.

Irrespective of what you might think though, prescription drugs can be highly addictive and can cause many types of health problems when abused. They can cause physical and psychological dependence, and many aspects of your life will subsequently be negatively affected.

As you fall further and further down the slippery slope to addiction, you will find that you have less time for engaging in activities that you previously found pleasure in. You might have less time for the people around you, and you may be neglecting responsibilities at home and at work.

The impact on your overall quality of life will be immense, and rest assured that without treatment you will find yourself in danger of losing everything that matters to you. Addiction can literally take over your life without you even realising what is happening. You might never be aware that you have crossed that line because the substance you are taking is clouding your judgement.

Recognising an Adderall Addiction

As we mentioned above, when you progress from substance abuse to substance addiction, you will then lose all control over your use of Adderall. You will be compelled to take it, and even when knowing that there will be negative consequences if you take it, you will do so anyway.

Addiction will also leave you feeling unwell when the effects of Adderall wear off.

You might suffer both physical and mental withdrawal symptoms when in need of your medication. You will probably learn quite quickly that taking the medication helps to relieve these symptoms. It is this cycle of substance abuse and withdrawal that traps many people in their addictions, making it almost impossible for them to break free.

To define addiction, it is classed as a pattern of behaviour that negatively affects everyday life. If your use of Adderall is starting to cause problems for yourself and your loved ones, it is likely that you need professional help to get better again. Maybe you are taking unnecessary risks when under the influence of Adderall, or perhaps you are finding it hard to function without it? These are classic signs of addiction; if you are familiar with them, it is time to take action.

Adderall Addiction and the Brain

Being a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, Adderall works by stimulating the production of various neurotransmitters in the brain. Both dopamine and norepinephrine production are increased when Adderall is taken, which induces a sense of relaxation and to a lesser extent, happiness.

If you then like the feeling you are getting from taking Adderall, you are more likely to take it repeatedly. But doing so will lead to an increased tolerance, swiftly followed by a physical dependence. The risk for addiction will then be much higher.

Learn the Immediate Side Effects of Adderall Abuse

Adderall abuse often results in the following immediate side effects:

  • Euphoria
  • Restlessness
  • Nervousness
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Anxiety
  • Diarrhoea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Loss of libido
  • Chest pain
  • Hallucinations.

Learn the Long-Term Adderall Abuse Side Effects

Long term use of Adderall can lead to the following side effects:

  • Lethargy
  • Sleep problems
  • Loss of motivation
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Aggression
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Panic attacks
  • Heart disease.

Intervention for an Adderall Addiction

If a person you know is abusing Adderall, it is important to intervene as soon as possible. However difficult you find broaching the subject, it is crucial that this is done sooner rather than later.

Addiction is often surrounded by stigma, and even within the family unit, there is a reluctance to talk about it. So even when this illness is having a negative impact on everyone within the family, some individuals prefer to pretend as though nothing is happening.

Addiction can make the seriousness of the situation difficult to see, so the affected person might not even realise that he or she has a problem that needs dealing with. On the other hand, he or she might know very well that the problem exists but does not know how to go about fixing it.

Either way, the best thing that you can do is to bring the subject up and express your concern for the individual’s wellbeing. Stress the importance of getting help and assure him or her that you will do all that you can to help.

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Detox and Withdrawal from Adderall

If you want to overcome your addiction to Adderall, you will need to stop taking the medication. Nonetheless, doing so suddenly may mean you are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms; symptoms that could make you feel quite unwell.

Therefore, a medical detox is typically recommended for anyone wishing to overcome an addiction to Adderall. In a detox clinic, you will have support throughout the process from staff who are there to ensure your safety and to ease any discomfort you might be experiencing.

Treatment and Next Steps

So the first step on the road to recovery from an Adderall addiction is a detox, and you must break free from the substance to which you have developed an addiction before you can tackle the underlying issues that may have contributed to its development in the first place.

Talking and behavioural therapies are often used to help address the emotional and psychological element of your illness, and this process happens in rehab.

Through individual counselling and group therapy sessions, you will learn more about your illness and the ways in which you can avoid a return to it in the future.

Where you have your treatment will depend on how quickly you want to get better and what your personal circumstances are like. Most of those with a severe addiction will be advised to consider a programme of inpatient treatment, but most of these programmes are privately run so there is a fee involved. On the plus side, there are rarely waiting lists and you can get started on recovery almost immediately after initial inquiry.

The alternative to a private programme is an outpatient programme provided by the NHS or a local charity. Choosing this type of programme though may mean waiting for a place to become available as the demand far outweighs the supply. So you could even end up waiting many months for a place to become available.

Questions about Treatment

How do I know if I’m ready for treatment?

The fact that you are here reading this article indicates that you believe you might have a problem. If you can relate to the signs of substance abuse or addiction, then you are ready to do something positive about your current situation.

You may believe that rehab is only for those in danger of losing everything and who cannot sink any lower. This is not the case. In fact, the earlier you access treatment for substance abuse and addiction, the better your chances are of making a full recovery. Addiction is a progressive illness that will likely only get worse without treatment.

Will I have to take part in group sessions?

The idea of group therapy often puts people off because they have spent so many years bottling up their feelings and hiding things from those around them that the idea of being so open and vulnerable with complete strangers is a scary prospect.

Remember that everyone taking part in your group therapy sessions will be in the same position. Although each person will be at different stages of their recovery journey, they will all be there for the same reason.

Group therapy sessions are supportive and non-judgemental environments and you will quickly see the benefits. If you are reluctant to share your stories or speak in front of others in the beginning, you will probably find that this quickly changes, and you will be eager to have your voice heard.

What rules will I have to follow during therapy?

All rehab clinics have their own set rules that you will be expected to follow, so it is impossible to say for certain. However, one rule that you can guarantee to be in place is a strict policy of no mood-altering chemicals.

When you arrive at the clinic, you and your luggage will probably be searched. This to protect both you and other patients at the facility. It is the responsibility of the staff at the clinic to ensure that every patient can recover in a safe and secure environment where there is no access to temptations or triggers.

There might be other rules regarding how you spend your free time and it is likely that you will be asked to leave all technological devices at home during your treatment programme.

How effective is the treatment?

It is natural that you might want to know how effective a treatment programme is going to be before you agree to it, but there are no guarantees when it comes to addiction recovery. This is because addiction is not a curable illness at the moment.

Having said that, treatment can be highly effective if you work hard and take responsibility for your own recovery. Millions of people have managed to overcome addiction and have gone on to live healthy and productive lives after rehab. If you have a real desire to change and a willingness to make your programme work, there is no reason you cannot achieve the same results.

Who pays for addiction treatment?

In the UK, you can access either private or publicly funded rehab programmes. If you choose private treatment, you will be expected to fund the cost of your treatment, but you may be eligible for help with payments in certain circumstances.

If you do not want to pay for treatment, you can apply for a place on an outpatient programme provided by the NHS or a local charity. You might have to wait for a place to become available, but you will not have to pay a fee for your treatment.

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