Navigating Adderall Addiction: Signs, Prevalence and Steps You Can Take

Adderall Pills

In recent years, Adderall use has become increasingly widespread. Research indicates that the national demand for the drug has risen by nearly 27% over the past few years. While 35.5 million prescriptions were filled in 2019, that number increased to 45 million in 2022. Adderall is most commonly prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but it is also used as a form of treatment for narcolepsy, a sleep disorder. For many individuals, Adderall allows them to better manage their symptoms and lead happier, healthier lives. For others, however, habitual use can pave the way for addiction over time.

Adderall addiction has become a topic of growing concern, particularly among high school and college students. Those who take Adderall at unprescribed doses on a regular basis are at an especially high risk of developing an addiction. If you’re concerned about a loved one’s Adderall dependency, it’s crucial not to overlook the warning signs. It’s never too early to seek out treatment for substance use disorder. By taking the time to learn about addiction and familiarizing yourself with the resources available to you, you can help your struggling loved one overcome addiction one step at a time.

Understanding Adderall and Its Uses

Adderall is a combination drug composed of equal parts amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. These chemicals increase levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, which are neurotransmitters located in the central nervous system. Dopamine, which is commonly referred to as the brain’s “feel-good chemical,” produces feelings of satisfaction, pleasure and motivation. Meanwhile, norepinephrine increases alertness and attention. When the effects of these neurotransmitters fuse together, it can help individuals with ADHD stay on task and maintain a healthy sense of motivation.

In a controlled medical setting, Adderall is often administered to treat the symptoms of ADHD and narcolepsy. Once an individual has been diagnosed with either of these disorders, their physician or psychiatrist will typically prescribe them a certain dosage of Adderall according to their specific needs. However, many individuals increase their dosage without medical counsel, which can be dangerous. Due to its high potential for abuse, Adderall is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance. This means that the manufacturing and distribution of Adderall is heavily regulated by the government in an effort to curb the abuse of this drug.

Prevalence of Adderall Abuse and Addiction

Adderall misuse is most common among adolescents and college students. Due to the significant amount of pressure that today’s students face, many of them turn to Adderall to better manage their heavy workloads and meet the high expectations of their academic environment. Unfortunately, many of these individuals do not have a prescription and receive medication from friends or classmates who share it with them. Not only is it illegal to share a controlled substance with someone else, but this behavior can also further encourage substance abuse in young people.

According to Statista, the percentage of high school seniors who used Adderall in 2022 was about 3.4%. While the prevalence of this drug has been on a steady decline since 2015, countless young adults still abuse this addictive substance. While academic pressure is a significant contributing factor, many young people also turn to this drug for recreational purposes. It’s common for stressed out students to seek out ways to relieve anxiety, especially if their friends are partaking in the same activity. This peer pressure may exacerbate Adderall abuse.

Recognizing the Signs of Adderall Addiction

The symptoms of Adderall addiction can be broken up into two groups: physical and psychological/behavioral symptoms. If you’re concerned that someone close to you might be suffering from substance abuse, it’s crucial to be aware of these warning signs. This can help ensure that you’re prepared to seek out professional treatment for your loved one while it’s still early.

First, be sure to familiarize yourself with the key physical signs of Adderall abuse. These include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Excessive weight loss
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Decline in personal hygiene
  • Loss of appetite
  • Exhaustion or fatigue

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Because the psychological and behavioral symptoms can be less obvious, it’s important to be cognizant of any subtle changes in your loved one’s behavioral patterns. Here are some telltale signs to keep an eye out for:

  • Excessive talkativeness
  • Aggressive or impulsive behavior
  • Social withdrawal
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Unusual excitability
  • Overworking or overconcentrating
  • Memory loss
  • Disorientation
  • Secretive behavior

While responsible Adderall use may cause normal side effects, excessive use might trigger the concerning symptoms listed above. If your loved one’s addiction becomes more severe, you might also notice them falling short of their various responsibilities. For example, they might fail to show up to work on time or pay the bills due to prioritizing substance use. This can place them in financial turmoil or severely damage their relationships.

Suspecting Adderall Addiction in Yourself or Your Child

If you’re worried about your own Adderall misuse, it’s important to practice self-awareness and reflection on your usage habits. Because of the unfortunate stigma attached to substance abuse, many users remain in a state of denial. Sadly, this only deprives them of the lifesaving care and treatment they need. We understand that it can be frightening to come to terms with your addiction. However, it’s crucial to take stock of your habits and behaviors to determine whether you would benefit from treatment.

If it’s your child you’re concerned about, be sure to encourage open communication with them. Teenagers and young adults who abuse substances tend to close themselves off from the people they love. This can make it difficult to have an open and honest conversation with them. However, you can still get your child to open up by maintaining a calm, understanding tone with them. Try to refrain from accusing them of misusing Adderall or getting angry with them, as this will likely cause them to retreat further.

Taking Action: What to Do Next

As your loved one embarks on the recovery process, it’s important to take a non-judgmental and understanding approach with them. Seeking treatment for addiction can be daunting, especially for a child. As the parent or caregiver, you might feel anxious, afraid or confused about the entire process. It’s completely natural to feel this way. Just remember that your child needs you to support them during each stage of recovery.

There are various options available to you for treating Adderall addiction. Therapy, counseling, support groups and inpatient or outpatient programs are all viable options for helping your loved one overcome substance use disorder. Before selecting a treatment plan, be sure to familiarize yourself with the options available to you. First, we highly recommend that you enroll your child in a renowned detox facility such as Mayflower Recovery. Your child will need to purge any toxins from their system and overcome withdrawal before embarking on inpatient recovery. Common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Depression
  • Excessive sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Increased appetite
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Nightmares
  • Anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts

It can be very difficult for your child to undergo these scary, uncomfortable symptoms. That’s why our dedicated team of addiction specialists closely monitors your child and provides medication on an as-need basis to help quell these symptoms. Navigating the detox process without medical assistance can be dangerous and even fatal in some cases. To ensure your loved one navigates the process with as much care and support as possible, we also design individualized treatment plans tailored to their unique needs.

Supporting Your Loved One

It can be painful to discover that someone close to you is battling Adderall addiction, but it’s important to remember that help is always available. To prepare your loved one for treatment, it’s important to adopt a holistic approach of adequate exercise, good nutrition and mindfulness. This will allow for a smooth transition into detox and recovery. At Mayflower Recovery, our dedicated and compassionate team is ready to provide your loved one with the top-tier treatment they need to achieve a healthy, happy and substance-free life.

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