Stimulant Addiction: Abuse Signs, Effects & Treatment

An Addiction Treatment Guide for Adderall and Other Stimulants

Stimulants like Adderall, amphetamines, cocaine, and methamphetamine have been popular for years. People often turn to stimulants because they provide a quick rush of dopamine that can last up to 12 hours. The problem is that users develop a tolerance for the drugs and require more and more to achieve that same feeling.

Stimulants impact brain chemicals like epinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine, which control pleasure, movement, emotions, and thinking. These chemicals are called neurotransmitters. When someone uses stimulants, they flood the body with dopamine. Because of this excess dopamine, people using stimulants crave more to feel good again. These cravings can be so strong that some people may need to use more stimulants than they originally intended.

Stimulant addiction can be a serious problem, and stopping the drug suddenly can cause withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms include depression, confusion, fatigue, restlessness, and loss of interest. Withdrawal can also result in physical symptoms such as kicking movements, muscle twitches, and sleep problems.

Withdrawal from stimulants can create lasting damage to the brain and body, making recovery a long process. Many people addicted to stimulants abuse other drugs in combination. They are more likely to abuse alcohol, marijuana, or opioids. Mixing multiple drugs increases the risk of overdose and death.

Is Adderall Addictive

One commonly abused stimulant is Adderall. Adderall is a stimulant comprising amphetamine and other active ingredients. It can be prescribed to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, a sleep disorder that causes people to fall asleep at random times. The drug is also commonly used off-label by people not prescribed it to help them focus, lose weight, and party.

Adderall can be addictive when abused. It can create a feeling of euphoria, increased energy, and an increased sense of well-being that leads to the desire for more of the drug. Adderall has negative effects as well. It can cause reduced appetite and sleep disturbances and has been known sometimes to cause seizures and heart problems.

Just how does Adderall work? The drug is a stimulant that affects the central nervous system. It works by flooding the brain and body with dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is connected to sensations of pleasure. When someone takes Adderall, the brain’s receptors become accustomed to the high levels of dopamine occurring during drug use. This causes continuous stimulation of neurons and causes them to produce more dopamine without sufficient amounts of this neurotransmitter.

Adderall Abuse

The most commonly abused version of Adderall is the dextroamphetamine formula. This drug is less potent than other amphetamines, but it can be easily crushed or snorted to enhance its effects. A person’s tolerance to stimulants like Adderall can develop quickly, which leads users to take more of the drug in order to achieve the same feelings that occurred when they first started using. These increased dosages eventually contribute to addiction. Signs of Adderall misuse or abuse include:

• Obtaining a prescription from someone else
• Using a greater dose than what is recommended
• Combining the tablets with other substances, such as narcotics or alcohol
• Using them to get high or to stay on top of your schoolwork

Adderall Addiction

When Adderall is taken in high doses or over a long period of time, addiction will eventually develop. Mentally, an individual may also become addicted to Adderall. This can lead to difficulty in controlling the drug use and difficulty in stopping when you want to stop. If you find yourself struggling with addiction, you can seek treatment at an inpatient or outpatient facility specializing in addiction recovery treatment. These types of facilities can help you through the process of quitting Adderall and can offer guidance on how to stay clean.

Misusing Adderall can cause serious issues. The drug can cause hallucinations, delusions, and psychosis, which make it hard to recognize that you have a problem. Many people struggling with addiction have no idea they have a problem until someone else points it out to them.

Signs of Adderall Addiction

Abuse can cause serious problems within a matter of months. If you are struggling with addiction, you should seek drug rehabilitation treatment. When someone is addicted to Adderall, they tend to display certain behavioral signs that indicate the presence of a problem, including:

• Hiding the drug use from loved ones
• Spending excessive amounts of money on Adderall
• Building a tolerance to the drug and needing more to achieve desired results
• Taking risks to obtain or use the drug
• Having Feelings of agitation, anxiety, or paranoia when unable to use

People who are addicted to Adderall tend to take it in high doses over long periods of time. They seem to be unable to stop themselves and often try and justify their drug use. Compulsive or repeated use of Adderall can lead to serious health problems.

Side Effects and Possible Problems

Adderall’s side effects are similar to other amphetamine-based stimulants. Some of the most common Adderall side effects include:

• Weight loss
• Inability to sleep
• Anxiety and irritability
• Aggression and hostility
• Dizziness, nausea, and sweating
• High blood pressure
• Heart rhythm disturbances
• Seizures
• Mood swings

Adderall Withdrawal

Withdrawal is another issue that people should be aware of when taking Adderall. When someone stops taking Adderall suddenly, they can experience a number of symptoms, including muscle aches and severe fatigue. These symptoms can be difficult to overcome and are often accompanied by a series of unpleasant emotions. Other withdrawal symptoms can cause severe discomfort if left untreated.

When someone decides to stop taking Adderall or any other type of stimulant drug, it can cause a number of symptoms that can be severe and debilitating. The physical and psychological symptoms of Adderall withdrawal include:

• Exhaustion
• Restless leg syndrome
• Gastrointestinal problems
• Pain in muscles, bones, and joints
• Depression

Stimulant Addiction Treatment

Determining when it’s time to seek treatment for stimulant addiction is not always easy. Once someone develops an addiction, they may not know what is happening to them. They don’t know that the person who once seemed like a normal, productive member of society is now suffering from a serious, often deadly problem. Addiction to stimulants can very quickly create a vicious cycle that is hard to escape.

Even if someone does not keep using the stimulants, they will often still strive for the same feelings of pleasure and euphoria that were once found in using the drugs. This can create a big problem, as users are essentially addicted to their bodies and brain chemistry, but they may not realize it until they begin losing their jobs, friends, and family. Some may even end up committing crimes or even hurting themselves or others. Fortunately, help is available. Treatment for stimulant addiction is necessary for anyone who wants to regain control of their life.

Adderall Addiction Treatment

If you or a loved one is struggling with Adderall addiction, it’s time to seek out professional help at an addiction treatment facility. These facilities specialize in helping people overcome their addiction through psychological treatment and pharmacotherapy.

When choosing a treatment program, the most important thing you can do is make sure it has been proven to work. You want to make sure that the treatment center has a history of helping people overcome addictions and that it gives you the tools you need to maintain recovery from stimulant addiction.

You will also want to choose a program that lets you stay connected with your family and friends because this will help with your recovery. Make sure that the treatment center you are looking at is in a place you feel comfortable attending. This will help with your sobriety and give you the support that you need to stay clean during the recovery process.

With proper care from trained professionals, you can make a complete recovery from drug addiction. The main goal of treatment is to reduce or eliminate the drug use and relapse rates for stimulant addiction. One of the most common relapse triggers is stress.

When someone is stressed, they often have a higher risk of relapse, so you will need to work on building up your own coping techniques to help you deal with stress before it becomes an issue. By including the use of healthy living habits and social support in your treatment plan, you will be able to successfully overcome stimulant addiction and lead a full, productive life.

Types of Treatment Programs

For most people, detox is the first step in beginning a treatment program. As your body detoxes from using stimulants, you may experience unpleasant symptoms that can drive you back to using. Detoxing under the care of addiction specialists can help you avoid this. Specialists can provide you with medication to ease your symptoms if necessary. They’ll also carefully monitor your progress so that you can avoid any dangerous complications.

Once you detox from stimulants, you can move on to other facets of addiction treatment programs, including both individual and group counseling. Behavioral therapy is a common form of treatment for addiction. It is designed to help those with substance use disorder identify the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors associated with addiction. Once these are identified, a person can take action to avoid unhealthy patterns of behavior and thinking.

Depending on the level of help that you need, you can take part in different levels of treatment. Those with milder forms of substance use disorder may find recovery through outpatient care. With this type of treatment, you attend therapy sessions on your own time outside of work, school, and other life obligations. You may attend sessions every day or just a few times a week. Outpatient treatment is a good option for those with a strong support system at home that can complement the skills learned in therapy.

Inpatient treatment is a more intensive treatment program that requires you to live at a facility full time. These programs can last for varying periods, but 30 to 90 days is the most common. Inpatient treatment can be highly effective as it gives a person the chance to focus entirely on their recovery. While in a treatment center, your day will revolve around attending therapy to build the skills needed to stay away from drugs and alcohol. You’ll also be able to work toward your recovery goals alongside others going through similar issues. This can help you develop a support group that aids in your recovery.

Get the Help You Need Today

Adderall and other prescription stimulants definitely have their place when used appropriately and as prescribed by a doctor. However, they can be highly addictive and dangerous if abused. If you or someone you love has developed a problem with Adderall or other stimulants, it’s important to reach out for appropriate treatment. A treatment program can give you the help and support you need to break the cycle of addiction and regain your health and sobriety.

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Reviewed By:

Dr. John Elgin Wilkaitis

Dr. John Elgin Wilkaitis completed medical school at The University of Mississippi Medical Center and residency in general psychiatry in 2003. He completed a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in 2005. Following this, he served as Chief Medical Officer for 10 years of Brentwood Behavioral Healthcare a private health system including a 105-bed hospital, residential treatment, and intensive outpatient services.

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