Adderall Addiction in Young Adults

Adderall is a stimulant medication most commonly prescribed to adolescents and young adults who have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, or ADHD. Composed of amphetamines and dextroamphetamines, Adderall is a brand name drug that targets a user’s central nervous system, and increases one’s ability to focus, pay attention, and control behavior.

teen adderall addictionIn recent years, however, Adderall has become a favored drug of choice among young adults nationwide. Because it is prescribed by a doctor and lacks outwardly dangerous side effects, Adderall is seen as a “good drug” and considered by many to be harmless. Its “good” often masks its bad: Adderall is one of the most addictive prescription drugs on the market today.

It is also one of the most misused. According to the 2014 Monitoring the Future Study, Adderall is the third most common drug abused among high school seniors. Originally, the prescription Adderall was intended to treat patients who have trouble paying attention or committing to routine tasks. It aids in limiting impulsive behaviors in youth with ADHD, and keeps them focused on priorities such as school and work. But as the drug’s availability has increased, so has its popularity. Students have learned to take advantage of Adderall’s instantaneous effects.  Because the drug is associated with amplified energy, alertness, and concentration, Adderall has obtained a reputation as a “study drug” on campuses across America. 

Due to their constant stresses of school and time management, teens and young adults are the most likely to abuse Adderall non-medically. Adderall increases productivity, and as a result, youth tend to see it more as a strong cup of coffee than an actual substance of abuse. Yet Adderall has been classified as Schedule II by the DEA, alongside other illegal stimulants like cocaine. In fact, Adderall and cocaine have similar highs, and many teens today substitute one for the other. Adderall activates a user’s dopamine levels and releases adrenaline, leaving individuals with renewed energy, strong feelings of euphoria, and the desire to use the drug recreationally. Like cocaine, Adderall promotes wakefulness and allows users to stay up and party longer. Adderall abusers often crush and snort its tablets to gain a faster and harder high. 

Adderall increases body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration. Administering the drug in a way other than prescribed, can eventually lead to cardiovascular issues, such as stroke and heart attack. The non-medical use of Adderall can also strongly impact a user’s mental health, promoting aggressive behavior, bipolarity, and other psychotic disorders. 

Warning Signs of Adderall Addiction

If your teen is taking Adderall, medically or non-medically, it is important to carefully monitor his behaviors. Adderall addiction can be both mental and physical, and its symptoms subtle.  

One of the most telltale signs of Adderall addiction is hyperactivity. If your teen develops manic behaviors, and has a constant need to keep busy, Adderall may be the culprit. Adderall use runs a user in a million different directions, and often causes a person to forget about common activities such as eating and sleeping. Adderall addiction can leave a user hostile or aggravated as a result.

Other immediate symptoms of Adderall abuse:

  • Nervousness
  • Uncontrollable shaking or seizures
  • Headache
  • Insomnia or restlessness
  • Loss of appetite / weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

Severe, lasting side effects of Adderall addiction:

  • Pounding, fast, or irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Excessive exhaustion
  • Muscle weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Slow or difficult speech
  • Chest pain
  • Verbal or motor tics
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Violent or aggressive behavior
  • Blurred vision

Adderall Addiction Treatment

Because Adderall dependence is both physical and psychological, treatment must be multi-dimensional, especially when pertaining to adolescents and young adults. Physical dependence of Adderall occurs when a user’s brain has been conditioned over time to rely on high dopamine levels for simple day-to-day function. Stopping Adderall use at this point of an addiction can cause severe withdrawal symptoms such as depression and tiredness. In the case that a physical addiction such as this has developed, professional detoxification and treatment must be sought. Most Adderall addictions, however, are heavily psychological and require professional drug treatment beyond detox. Like other highly addictive Schedule II drugs, Adderall is best treated through a string of behavioral therapies in order to help a user see that life is possible without a pill. 

By teaching your son about the dangers of Adderall dependency, and getting him treatment for his Adderall abuse through a residential treatment facility, you can lead him into a in a healthy, productive, and drug-free lifestyle. For more information on Adderall addiction in young men, call Turning Point at 1-877-581-1793 today.