Adderall Dependence: Symptoms & Treatment

Edited by Paul Alexander

Last updated June 24, 2020

Adderall is a potent stimulant medication most frequently prescribed to treat ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder). In some instances, it’s used to treat narcolepsy, a sleep disorder involving extreme daytime drowsiness. When highly addictive Adderall (or the generic dextroamphetamine-amphetamine) is taken without a prescription or at higher doses than recommended by a doctor, it can lead to chemical dependence.

Northbound Treatment is a rehabilitation center proud to offer treatment for dependence and addiction to prescription stimulants, including Adderall, Dexedrine, Vyvanse, Ritalin, Focalin, and Concerta. As part of our commitment to helping our clients and their families navigate all types of drug abuse and addiction, we’re here to provide critical information about ADHD medications. So, what are the symptoms of Adderall dependence, and how is it treated? Keep reading for facts and guidance about Adderall dependence.

Adderall Dependence Symptoms

Initially, those who abuse Adderall often feel euphoric, energetic, productive, and outgoing. In many instances, these positive feelings lead people to use the stimulant drug more frequently or consume higher doses to achieve the same effects.

Additionally, some individuals start to feel like they can’t function without Adderall, which generally means they’ve become chemically dependent on the medication. Dependence doesn’t look the same on everyone, but there are a variety of symptoms, both physical and mental, to look out for if you’re concerned about yourself or a loved one.

Some of the most common Adderall dependence symptoms include:

  • Anxiousness and irritability as the medication wears off
  • Avoiding responsibilities
  • Crushing or snorting the drug to quicken and intensify its effects
  • Extreme paranoia
  • Feelings of depression
  • Impulsive or erratic behavior
  • Inability to quit using the drug
  • Losing interest in activities one typically enjoys
  • Loss of motivation
  • Lying about using the medication
  • Mental fog when not using the drug
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Relationship problems
  • Secretive behavior
  • Stealing drugs or money
  • Substantial time and money spent on trying to acquire the drug
  • Weight loss
  • Withdrawing from friends and family

While Adderall is often used by those who want to perform better at work or in school, dependence on the medication can end up having the opposite effect. For this reason, poor job performance or slipping grades may be a symptom as well.

Abusing Prescription Medications

Adderall dependence can occur with or without a prescription. When taken as directed by those who need them, prescription stimulants can be very useful in treating ADHD and narcolepsy. However, these conditions can’t be validated with a blood test or another medical exam. Psychiatrists can only go off observations of their patients and the symptoms they claim to have. As a result, some people manifest ADHD symptoms in the hopes of getting a diagnosis, and ultimately, an Adderall prescription. 

Despite what many think, simply having a prescription for a drug doesn’t make it any safer to use, especially when false information was used to obtain it. It’s important to note that having an Adderall prescription doesn’t automatically constitute abuse or dependence. That said, lying to a doctor to obtain medications is considered substance abuse. When a person becomes dependent on stimulant medications, they might go to different doctors in an attempt to fill multiple prescriptions at once. This is both dangerous and illegal.

Side Effects of Adderall Use

With short- and long-term drug use, Adderall and other prescription stimulants cause a number of side effects, many of which are related to the eventual symptoms and signs of adderall abuse

Common side effects of Adderall abuse include:

  • Aggression
  • Anxiety
  • Appetite loss
  • Chattiness and excitability
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Digestive issues
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Paranoia
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Shaking

Some men also experience erectile dysfunction when they misuse Adderall. In severe cases, individuals may endure convulsions (uncontrolled twitching) or vomiting. Not only that, but abusing stimulant medications can put a person at a higher risk for seizures, heart attacks, and strokes.

When Adderall is taken recreationally, a lot of people experience a higher tolerance for alcohol, meaning they have to drink more to achieve the usual effect. This can result in binge drinking, which may lead to blackouts or alcohol poisoning. In addition, since stimulants suppress the appetite, many people drink with very little food in their stomachs, which is dangerous, as it can increase the effects of alcohol.

Adderall Dependence Treatment: What to Expect

To some, Adderall dependence treatment might seem over the top or even unnecessary. However, the habit-forming medication can be just as harmful as illegal drugs, like cocaine and meth. As with all effective substance abuse and addiction recovery programs, treatment for Adderall dependence involves a continuum of care. This means that the journey to sobriety implements different levels of integrated care over time, which typically include detox, inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, and aftercare services.

Detoxing from Adderall

Detox, which is short for detoxification, is the process of cleansing the body of chemical substances (toxins). For many, the detox process is a vital first step in achieving sobriety and recovering from adderall addiction.

When detoxing from Adderall, individuals experience myriad withdrawal symptoms, which can range from mild to extreme. Some of the most common withdrawal symptoms include agitation, irritability, sweating, fatigue, restlessness, feelings of depression, drug cravings, nausea, vomiting, and other flu-like symptoms. In acute cases, some may experience delusions or hallucinations. 

While many are tempted to try to detox at home, the intense process can be challenging and even unsafe to overcome alone. For this reason, we strongly recommend doing so under medical supervision.

Inpatient Treatment for Adderall Dependence

After completing a detox program, many patients transition to inpatient treatment (residential rehab). Typically, this involves at least 28 days of living at a residential treatment center, with 24-hour access to healthcare professionals. During residential rehab for Adderall dependence, patients participate in a range of therapies, including one-on-one counseling, group sessions, experiential therapy, and other evidence-based treatment approaches.

Outpatient Treatment for Adderall Dependence

With outpatient treatment for Adderall dependence, patients usually meet with therapists and physicians several times a week, for a total of 10 to 12 hours. Although outpatient treatment might be sufficient in place of residential rehab in mild cases, many individuals transition to an outpatient program after completing inpatient treatment.

Aftercare Treatment for Stimulant Medication Dependence

Aftercare services are intended to help patients adjust to regular life after discharging from a substance abuse treatment program. Since Adderall dependence is often closely related to a person’s ability to perform at work or school, ongoing drug addiction support is crucial. With aftercare, patients learn relapse-prevention techniques, goals, develop tools for maintaining happiness and fulfillment, and achieve their long-term goals.

Northbound’s Approach to Adderall Dependence Treatment

Here at Northbound, Adderall treatment begins with a thorough clinical assessment. After evaluating a client’s condition, we’ll work with them to design an addiction treatment plan that suits their unique needs and goals.

In many instances, this involves treating a co-occurring mental health condition, such as anxiety, depression, OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), or bipolar disorder. We refer to this method as dual diagnosis treatment and find it to be more effective at helping patients achieve sobriety than addressing substance abuse and mental health issues separately.

We provide safe, clinically supervised detox at our accredited facility in Orange County. Additionally, patients have access to around-the-clock medical care. Our clinical staff can administer medicine as needed to assist with weaning clients off Adderall comfortably.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to drug and alcohol treatment. The residential rehab programs at Northbound are flexible, accommodating, and catered to the individual needs of each client. At any point, an adderall addiction treatment plan can be adjusted to better suit a patient’s situation and goals. Our outpatient services include intensive outpatient treatment (IOP) and telehealth services, which allow clients to work on their journey to recovery while living in their own homes.

With Northbound’s addiction support services, clients are able to successfully navigate the realities of a sober lifestyle. Not only that, but with our Careerbound® and Collegebound® programs, they can reenter the professional or academic worlds with confidence.

If you or a loved one are dependent on prescription stimulants, we encourage you to consider the integrated detox, inpatient, outpatient, and addiction support programs at Northbound Treatment. We’re an in-network provider for all major health insurance plans, and we’ll work with you to determine a payment option that fits your needs.

There’s no better time than the present to begin the journey to recovery. Give us a call to start the admissions process today.

Sources:

  1. Sherzada, Awista. “An Analysis of ADHD Drugs: Ritalin and Adderall.” Jccc.edu. N.p., n.d., https://scholarspace.jccc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1021&context=honors_journal
  2. Cafasso, Jacquelyn. “Adderall Addiction: Symptoms, Treatments, Causes, and More.” Healthline.com. N.p., 20 June 2018., https://www.healthline.com/health/adderall-addiction
  3. Osborn, Corinne O’keefe. “How Long Does Withdrawal from Adderall Last?” Verywellmind.com. N.p., n.d., https://www.verywellmind.com/adderall-withdrawal-symptoms-timeline-and-treatment-4177486

Article Reviewed by Paul Alexander

Paul AlexanderPaul Alexander is the founder and CEO of Northbound Treatment. He received his Certified Addiction Treatment Specialist training at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA, and was awarded Outstanding Alumni Service Award in 2002. Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology, Law and Society, Summa Cum Laude, from University of California, Irvine, and a Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. He believes wholeheartedly in transformational leadership, organizational health and effective, fully integrated substance use disorder treatment.

LinkedIn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

accreditations
accreditations