What is Adderall?
- Adderall is a brand-name stimulant primarily prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.
- It’s a mix of two chemical stimulants: amphetamine and dextroamphetamine.
- These chemicals increase the availability of dopamine and norepinephrine in the body, which speeds up brain activity, induces a feel-good effect, and boosts concentration.
- When used without a prescription or at higher doses than prescribed, the stimulating effects of Adderall are similar to that of meth.
Because Adderall fights off fatigue and sharpens users’ focus, students, athletes, and high-level professionals often use Adderall to enhance their performance.
People with eating disorders may also abuse Adderall because it suppresses appetite and increases energy.
What Makes Adderall So Addictive?
While people of all ages and backgrounds can become addicted to Adderall, the use of this stimulant at unprescribed doses is especially prevalent amongst students and young professionals who rely on it to increase their energy and focus.
The two stimulating chemicals in Adderall, amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, create a euphoric high that you can quickly become dependent on overtime.
When people experience the sustained productivity levels that Adderall produces, they often want to keep taking it to achieve the same effects.
But because of its high addiction potential, users often move from recreational use to abuse to dependency and addiction much quicker than they expect.
The more you use Adderall, the more your central nervous system becomes dependent on it to produce alertness.
Those suffering from Adderall addiction struggle to feel energised or attentive without it and feel the need to continue using it to stave off mental fogginess and fatigue.
Signs and Symptoms of Adderall Addiction
Adderall addiction typically starts when you use the drug to complete a difficult task, study for an exam, or perform athletically.
After noticing how it affects your cognitive or physical performance, you may progressively begin to rely on it for other activities in life—whether illicitly or at a higher dose than initially prescribed.
Common signs and symptoms of Adderall addiction include:
- Relying on Adderall to function throughout the day
- Needing increasingly larger doses to feel its effects
- Craving Adderall and experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not using it
- Obsessively thinking about Adderall
- Spending significant amounts of time and money acquiring, using, and recovering from Adderall
- Shirking responsibilities in favour of using
- Not being able to feel alert or productive without Adderall
- Continuing to abuse Adderall even after suffering physical and psychological consequences
It’s important to note the difference between Adderall dependence and addiction.
While those prescribed Adderall may eventually become dependent on it for daily functioning, this does not necessarily mean that they’re addicted.
Often, addiction occurs amongst those who have never been prescribed Adderall in the first place.
In these cases, Adderall is typically acquired without a prescription and used recreationally for its mood-enhancing, concentration-boosting, or appetite-suppressing effects. But because of its habit-forming nature, recreational use can soon ramp up into addiction.
Side Effects of Abusing Adderall
When someone first starts to use Adderall, it produces a noticeable high.
But over time, the body becomes dependent on this substance to release dopamine and norepinephrine to the central nervous system.
What once felt like a high that’s comparable to other stimulants becomes a return to baseline functioning.
Other long term side effects of Adderall abuse include:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Mood swings, irritability, aggression
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Anorexia/decreased appetite
- Cardiovascular disease
- Fatigue, Lack of concentration and mental clarity
- Paranoia or hallucinations
- Weight loss, stomach pain
- Lack of motivation, sense of lethargy
- Depression, suicidal ideation
Due to the seriousness of long-term side effects from Adderall use, it’s highly recommended to detox from this substance with careful supervision.
At Castle Craig, our skilled medical team supervises every patient’s custom-made detox and treatment plan with 24/7 care to ensure their safety and comfort.
Common Adderall Combinations
Combining Adderall with other drugs can be highly dangerous and even fatal.
Some people may combine Adderall with other stimulants, depressants, or both.
Combining with stimulants
As you build a tolerance to Adderall, you may combine it with other drugs—such as cocaine, caffeine, or other stimulants—to enhance its stimulating effects.
Combining Adderall with other stimulants can help you feel the euphoria or increased mental focus you once felt just from Adderall.
But combining Adderall with other stimulants is particularly dangerous, as it puts you at an increased risk for overdose or severe health risks like cardiac arrest.
Combining with depressants/sedatives
Alternatively, some may combine Adderall with depressants or sedatives to counteract its effects, either to sleep or to re-induce an enjoyable state of anxiety or panic has set in.
Combining Adderall with alcohol comes with an increased risk for alcohol poisoning.
That’s because the heightened sense of alertness Adderall creates makes it difficult for you to accurately assess how intoxicated you are, causing you to consume far more alcohol than you otherwise would.
Adderall Addiction Detox and Treatment
Patients who have abused Adderall are usually physically dependent on this medication for energy and focus.
Your body needs time to readjust to functioning without it.
Typically, the symptoms of withdrawal from Adderall are the opposite of the drug’s effects.
During the detox stage, you may experience:
- Fatigue and oversleeping
- Increased appetite/Difficulty concentrating
- Anxiety, irritability
- Depression and suicidal thoughts
We strongly recommend medically assisted detox for those suffering from Adderall addiction.
Not only can withdrawal symptoms be uncomfortable, but they can also be difficult and even dangerous to manage on your own.
Detox is often the first treatment step before beginning an inpatient programme
At Castle Craig, you’ll start with a thorough medical assessment by our Consultant Psychiatrist, who then creates an individualised recovery plan designed according to your therapeutic needs.
Your safety and physical comfort is our most important focus during the detox process.
That’s why our recommended detox method for Adderall gradually reduces your dosage over time, under close medical monitoring.
In the case of difficult amphetamine withdrawal symptoms, other medication may help ease any discomfort experienced.
Additionally, Castle Craig’s Adderall detox programme includes constant, 24/7 medical supervision and compassionate care from our residential nursing staff.
Your withdrawal symptoms are carefully monitored and managed to ensure as much ease as possible.
Residential Rehab Programme for Adderall Addiction
After detox, patients continue treatment in our residential rehab programme.
Our comprehensive Adderall addiction treatment supports you in recovering from addiction, both during your time at Castle Craig and well into your life in sobriety.
Treatment consists of working through a customised care plan that considers your unique background, preferences, and needs.
Treatment for Adderal addiction
During the programme, you’re surrounded by a safe and structured environment that allows you to heal underlying traumas and develop coping skills to live a healthy, complete, and sober life.
Our in-depth addiction treatment model includes a variety of modalities:
- Individual and group therapy sessions
- Psychoeducation, relapse prevention planning
- Complementary therapies such as acupuncture and mindfulness meditation
Our integrated and intensive addiction treatment programme is designed to not only treat the symptoms of Adderall abuse but to address the root causes that led to your addiction in the first place.
Dual diagnosis assessments make all the difference
Because Adderall users often suffer from other co-occurring mental health conditions – such as eating disorders, anxiety, and depression – Castle Craig provides specialised dual diagnosis treatment to help you thoroughly and sustainably recover.
Throughout treatment, you’re provided with nourishing meals, therapeutic exercise, holistic healing therapies, and other supportive daily habits that lay a foundation for a well-balanced life when you return home.
And before graduating from the programme, you’ll receive a personalised, two-year aftercare plan designed to help you prevent relapse, secure support systems, and prepare yourself to meet future challenges.
You’re also invited to attend our continuing online care programme and attend our annual alumni reunion.
If you’ve been struggling with Adderall addiction, you’re not alone.
With the right environment and support, you can move beyond addiction—contact us to learn more.
Get in touch today
You’re almost there.
Page last reviewed and clinically fact-checked January 14, 2022