Last Updated on June 2, 2021 by
Last Updated on June 2, 2021 by
People with ADD and ADHD frequently experience an inability to direct attention to the task at hand as well as impulsivity and the urge to remain in physical motion. Stimulant medications such as Adderall act on the brain to increase levels of the chemical dopamine, which acts as a mood-booster in addition to addressing focus, concentration, and impulsivity. People with ADD experience increased focus and ability to concentrate while on Adderall and may experience a boost in energy as well.
People who take Adderall without a prescription often do so to experience the concentration and focus benefits of the drug. As the use continues, misuse often spirals into addiction as many people may find they need to continue taking the drug to experience the improved mood and concentration benefits Adderall offers. In addition, as the abuse continues, most people find they need more and more of the drug to achieve the same effects.
As with any other drug, there is no “typical” Adderall user. People from all walks of life misuse, abuse, and become addicted to Adderall. Those in positions requiring increased focus and concentration, such as high school students, college students, and young professionals, may be more likely to misuse Adderall.
If you have a student or young professional in your household, it is wise to watch for signs of Adderall abuse. However, anyone can abuse Adderall. In general, watch for these behavioral signs of Adderall abuse, which often mirror the symptoms of ADHD themselves:
The list of behavioral signs and symptoms above is by no means complete. Many individuals experience very few of these symptoms, while others may experience others not listed here. This is why it is important to take note of the following signs your loved one may be abusing a drug, including Adderall:
If you notice multiple signs that your loved one may be experiencing Adderall abuse or addiction, the time to step in is now, before the situation worsens. For stimulants, most experts recommend the use of medication-assisted therapy and gradual detox, because of the side effects often experienced by those detoxing from Adderall. Seek the advice of a professional – particularly, one with experience in addiction recovery – when approaching an Adderall detox to minimize the negative effects detox can have on the mind and body.
Those detoxing from Adderall commonly deal with the side effects of drastic reductions of dopamine in their systems. People may experience:
Withdrawal symptoms usually show up within one to two days after the individual stops taking Adderall. It is important to carefully monitor the process of detoxing from Adderall and to gradually taper off its use rather than stopping use “cold-turkey.”
The struggle does not end when the individual finishes detoxing from Adderall. Often, treatment programs prove beneficial to help the person address the reasons they first began taking the drug, and to promote continued abstinence. Finding an addiction program that suits your loved one may be a crucial step in continued recovery.
Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente. He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.
Diane is an avid supporter and researcher of natural mental health strategies. Diane received her medical writing and science communication certification through Stanford University and has published over 3 million words on the topics of holistic health, addiction, recovery, and alternative medicine. She has proudly worked with the Alternative to Meds Center since its inception and is grateful for the opportunity to help the founding members develop this world-class center that has helped so many thousands regain natural mental health.