Treatment for an Adderall Addiction
According to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, the misuse of Adderall is increasing in the 18- to 25-year-old age group. Adderall prescriptions are not going up, so this demographic has been obtaining this medication from friends and family members.
Johns Hopkins researchers discovered that 60% of people taking Adderall for anything other than treating a medical condition were in the 18-year-old to 25-year-old age group. In addition to that, trips to the emergency room also increased in this population by 156%.
What Is Adderall?
Adderall is a drug that you can only obtain with a prescription from your doctor. Physicians prescribe it to treat ADHD in children and narcolepsy.
Adderall contains amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, so it is a stimulant. As a stimulant, Adderall speeds up the body’s systems. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classified this substance in Schedule II of the Schedules for Controlled Substances. This means that Adderall has a high potential for being abused by users, and this misuse may lead to severe physical dependence or psychological dependence. The DEA also considers these drugs to be dangerous.
How Does Adderall Affect the Mind?
Adderall can also be obtained illegally. When it is, people use these drugs in ways that they were not intended to be used. They do this so that they can experience the exhilaration that the drug creates. People also take them before they take a test or engage in an athletic competition because these drugs are rumored to enhance these performances. They also provide an instant increase in self-esteem, help people stay awake longer, and also help them lose weight.
When people ingest large doses of Adderall over a long period of time, they may experience the following serious symptoms:
- Homicidal or suicidal tendencies
- Paranoia with or without visual or auditory hallucinations
How Does Adderall Affect the Body?
Stimulants also go by the name of “uppers” because they make users feel energized both mentally and physically. The feelings of exhilaration, loss of appetite, and wakefulness are exacerbated when people take large doses of Adderall, but large doses can lead to additional side effects. These include the following:
- Abdominal cramps and vomiting
- Excessive sweating
- Chest pain and palpitations
- Flushed skin
How Does Adderall Work in the Brain?
Amphetamine and dextroamphetamine both stimulate the central nervous system. Amphetamine and dextroamphetamine travel to the brain and act like dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine, which are naturally occurring neurotransmitters. Dopamine and epinephrine are also known as “adrenaline.”
In a normal brain, dopamine is part of the reward circuit, and it produces good feelings, so this is what Adderall does. The user also notices that he or she isn’t as easily distracted by outside things. While this is going on, epinephrine increases the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. This means that the body is in “fight or flight” mode. When this occurs, the body becomes more alert, and the mind can think more clearly and can focus on the job at hand. It also decreases the person’s appetite.
Adderall acts differently than the body’s natural adrenaline because it ensures that norepinephrine remains in the synapses for a longer period of time, and this keeps the body in the “fight or flight” mode longer. Norepinephrine is also responsible for the person’s ability to focus on a task.
When Tolerance Sets In
As time goes by, a user must take larger doses of Adderall to continue to experience the same euphoric feelings because the body begins to become tolerant to the effects. When this occurs, the user is psychologically dependent upon Adderall.
When there is a dependence on Adderall, users should not stop taking it without medical supervision. If they do, they will experience the following withdrawal symptoms:
- Fatigue that is better known as the “crash”
Is Adderall the “Smart Drug”?
Adderall is known as an excellent study drug. Users believe that Adderall increases students’ cognitive abilities and helps them perform cognitive tasks better. Although this may be the case at first, misusing Adderall can lead to disastrous consequences including:
In people who are prone to seizures, Adderall will increase the likelihood that they will have a seizure because Adderall is responsible for creating an inordinate amount of activity in the brain.
You don’t have to ingest too much Adderall to experience negative consequences. For example, if you have schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety, Adderall can increase the severity of these psychiatric conditions.
This is also the case for other bodily disorders. Some people have experienced cardiac deaths after taking Adderall as prescribed. They also experienced palpitations and hypertension. Adderall may also cause a user’s heart to grow larger, and this makes it more difficult for the heart to pump blood. After a while, the heart fails.
How Do People Use Adderall?
Adderall comes in capsules or pills, but some people use them differently when the purpose is to get high. They will smoke, snort or inject the substance because these methods cause the user to experience a rush of sensations.
In many cases, the misuse of Adderall includes binging on the substance for a particular period of time. This is when they consume large doses of the drug over a short time period. Also, some people inject Adderall every couple of hours. They continue until they begin to experience delirium or physical exhaustion, but some people begin to experience psychosis. At this point, heavy users aren’t interested in anything other than the euphoric high they get from ingesting stimulants.
Guide to Withdrawal
If you have been misusing Adderall for a significant period of time, you may not be able to stop taking the medication even though you want to because extended use of Adderall leads to dependence that will cause withdrawal symptoms when you reduce your dose of the drug or stop ingesting it. The withdrawal symptoms include the following:
- Cramping or stomach aches
- Difficulties sleeping
- Mood swings, irritability, and depression
How Long Do Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms Last?
After you stop ingesting Adderall, withdrawal symptoms may begin in 24 or 48 hours. These symptoms may last for a couple of days, or they could last for several weeks. Your withdrawal symptoms will depend on the length of time that you took the medication, any family history of addiction, and your mental health.
How Do You Manage Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms?
It’s not a good idea to stop taking Adderall on your own. The withdrawal symptoms that you experience can be serious, and detoxing under medical supervision can ease the severity of your symptoms. Many people return to drugs while attempting to detox alone because they just can’t take the symptoms. At White Light Behavioral Health in Columbus, Ohio, we can ease the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and prepare your body for healing.
Types of Treatment
Completing detox is the first step to a drug-free life. After conquering the physical addiction, you will then need to address the psychological addiction. This can be accomplished by using a number of different therapies.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Dialectical behavior therapy was designed to treat very intense emotions. The word “dialectical” brings two opposite ideas together. First, people learn to accept their lives as they truly are and the behaviors that they engage in that are not necessarily positive. They also must learn to change their lives, and this includes dealing with behaviors that aren’t helpful. You may receive DBT in individual counseling, but you may also receive the benefit of skills training during group therapy.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is psychotherapy that works well for people experiencing substance use disorders. It is instrumental in helping people change their behaviors. For example, CBT is a therapy that encourages you to face your fears rather than engage in substance use to avoid them. It is also where you will be able to practice the interactions you will have with others that may be problematic. Lastly, CBT teaches you to relax your mind and your body when you’re experiencing stress.
Motivational interviewing is a science-based therapy that focuses on examining the ambivalence that people experience when they are addicted to substances. Your therapist is crucial to the success of this type of therapy. The therapist is seen as a “partner,” and the therapeutic process is seen as a collaborative one. It will be your therapist’s job to help you make the changes that you want to make and ensure that you are always the master of your own life.
Many people who abuse Adderall start using it to treat ADHD. Mental health disorders can be very serious, and in addition to ADHD, they include schizophrenia, personality disorders, bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety disorders. When you have a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder, you have “co-occurring disorders.” Diagnosing and treating any mental health issues as well as substance use disorders is dual-diagnosis treatment.
The medical community knows that you get better results when you treat a substance use disorder and a co-occurring mental health disorder at the same time. You will receive a comprehensive evaluation when you enter White Light Behavioral Health so that we can heal the whole person.
If you need to be where you can get your substance use under control, we have a place for you at White Light Behavioral Health in Columbus, Ohio. If you are seeking additional information about a place that can help your loved one, contact us today. We are here to offer you the support you need to get your life back on track or help someone you love.