Adderall Dependence & Adderall Addiction

Adderall is the brand name for a prescription drug combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine that is most often used in the treatment of ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder).

Adderall is listed as a Schedule II controlled substance by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Schedule II means the drug has a high potential for misuse and dependence. This article will go over Adderall dependence, addiction, and treatment options.

Can You Become Dependent on Adderall?

Yes, dependence can occur from chronic Adderall use. Dependence is a physiological adaptation of the body to a substance, wherein the body becomes so used to Adderall being present in the system that the person experiences withdrawal when they cut back on their use or quit.

Dependence is not the same as addiction; however, with significant levels of physiological dependence, a person may continue to misuse Adderall to avoid unwanted withdrawal symptoms, resulting in addiction.

Adderall withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue.
  • Nightmares.
  • Increased appetite.
  • Dysphoric mood (profound unhappiness and dissatisfaction).
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia.
  • Slowed mental or physical activity.

Adderall Dependence vs Addiction

A stimulant use disorder (the clinical term for stimulant addiction) is a medical condition characterized by continued stimulant misuse despite it causing significant problems in various aspects of their life.

Adderall dependence—as defined in the section above—is just one potential indication of an Adderall addiction. Dependence on Adderall would not indicate addiction in someone taking it as prescribed under medical supervision.

Some signs of Adderall addiction include, but are not limited to the following:

  • The person uses Adderall in higher doses or for longer periods than intended.
  • The person expresses a desire to quit or control their Adderall use or makes several unsuccessful attempts to do so.
  • The person continues to use the drug even though its use is resulting in difficulties in one or more areas of life, including their relationships, work, school, emotional health, physical health, etc.
  • The person uses Adderall in situations where it is physically dangerous to do so.

The formal diagnosis of any substance use disorder can only be made by a licensed mental health clinician using criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5).

The risk of developing a stimulant use disorder is relatively low in individuals who are prescribed Adderall and use the medication according to its specified purposes while under the supervision of a physician. In fact, research studies have consistently found that adults and children who were administered prescription medications for the treatment of conditions like ADHD are not at an increased or decreased risk to develop any substance use disorder. This research indicates that treating ADHD with stimulant medications like Adderall does not appear to increase or decrease the risk that a person will develop a substance use disorder.

Adderall Misuse in College Students

An issue that has received much publicity is the misuse of stimulant medications by college students. Research studies have suggested that perhaps as much as one-quarter of college students have misused stimulant medications that are commonly prescribed for the treatment of ADHD (e.g., Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta, etc.) as study aids.

Moreover, research also suggests that misuse of prescription stimulants like Adderall by college students typically occurs in conjunction with the use of other substances, including alcohol and illicit drugs.

Contrary to the belief that Adderall is an effective study aid, people that misuse the drug often have lower levels of college achievement—particularly regarding their grades—than individuals who do not misuse stimulant medications. Most of these individuals get the drugs from a friend or relative or purchase them illicitly.

Effects of Adderall Misuse

Adderall misuse can lead to some serious issues, particularly if the drug is misused over lengthy periods:

  • The risk of developing serious cardiovascular issues as a result of the increased blood pressure and heart rate produced by the misuse of Adderall is significantly increased.
  • Misuse of Adderall leads to the massive release of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine. Once the drug is discontinued, there are significant decreases in the levels of these neurotransmitters. This can lead to depression, apathy, suicidality, drug-seeking behavior, etc.
  • Snorting Adderall can lead to significant damage to the nasal passages.
  • Alterations to the pathways in the brain as a result of chronic misuse of Adderall can lead to problems with cognition, emotional control, and even the potential to develop issues with seizures or psychosis.
  • Individuals who chronically misuse stimulants like Adderall are also known to have issues with decision-making, lower levels of achievement, and higher levels of other mental health issues.
  • People who misuse drugs like Adderall develop higher levels of tolerance and more severe withdrawal syndromes than people who use the drugs for medicinal reasons.

Treatment for Adderall Addiction in Mississippi

Adderall addiction is treatable, though it may require getting professional help. While there are currently no medications used to treat stimulant use disorder, many people can get sober and remain in recovery with the help of behavioral therapy, peer support, psychoeducation, and other interventions.

It’s never too late to reach out for help. If you or someone you love is struggling with the devastating side effects of addiction and are unsure where to turn, call a compassionate admissions navigator today at . Oxford Treatment Center, American Addiction Centers’ inpatient drug rehab center near Jackson, Mississippi and outpatient rehab in Oxford, is ready to help you get the treatment you need today. Types of addiction treatment offered at Oxford include:

Call to start the admissions process or learn more about using insurance to pay for rehab, other ways to cover addiction treatment costs, and what to expect in addiction treatment. You can also verify your insurance using the confidential .

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