Adderall Abuse, Withdrawals, and Treatment - Addiction Rehab Blog
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Adderall Abuse

Adderall Abuse, Withdrawals, and Treatment

Adderall Abuse, Withdrawals, and Treatment

Adderall is a prescription drug that contains amphetamines. It is typically prescribed for people who have been diagnosed with ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). It can also be used in treating certain sleep disorders as well as depression. In the past several years Adderall abuse has skyrocketed in the Unites States. Adderall is classified as a central nervous system stimulant as it heightens many functions and senses within the body. Although it is a prescription medication, in recent years there has been rampant non-prescription Adderall abuse and misuse. The majority of this misuse has been seen in the demographic of people in their teens to late twenties and students. Adderall has often been called the “study drug”.

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Statistics on Adderall Abuse

According to SAMHSA,

A study done in 2015 showed that 42% of people 12 and older who were taking Adderall were taking it without a prescription
7% of college students reported taking Adderall for non-medical reasons
Students between the ages of 18-22 who were attending school full time, were twice as likely to have taken adderall than those who were not enrolled in school full time
Males between the ages 19-30 reported adderall misuse at 9.3% and females in the same demographic reported adderall misuse at 5.3%

Side Effects of AdderallSide Effects of Adderall Abuse

The side effects of Adderall can range from mild to severe. These side effects don’t only happen when the drug is abused but can be seen in prescribes use as well. The most commonly seen side effects include dry mouth, anxiety, headache, nausea, upset stomach, lack of appetite, restlessness, diarrhea, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, and difficulty sleeping. Continued long term abuse can lead to more serious side effects such as, slowed speech, chest pain, rash, aggressive behavior, paranoia, seizures, and mania. Many people who start taking Adderall find that over time the same does stops having the same desired effect. This is known as building a tolerance and can lead many people to start taking higher doses that are often not prescribed and can be dangerous, leading to addiction.

Adderall Withdrawal

Adderall withdrawal is the term used to describe a group of negative symptoms that occur when an individual who is addicted or dependent to adderall stops taking the drug. These symptoms can range from mild to severe depending on the users physiology, amount of Adderall taken, and duration of taking it. Many drugs such as Benzodiazepines and Alcohol have withdrawal symptoms that can be life threatening, although Adderall withdrawals are typically not life threatening, they can be rather unpleasant. Adderall is known to cause an extreme psychological dependence, and this is often a harder dependence to face than just going through physical withdrawals. The psychological effects of withdrawal present themselves as severe anxiety, depression, and cravings for the drug. The psychological cravings for the drug make it very hard for the user to not go back to the drug. In extreme cases of Adderall withdrawal these symptoms of anxiety and depression can lead to suicidal or violent actions.
The signs and symptoms of Adderall withdrawal can begin only several hours after after the last use, and can range up to several days. The most common display of symptoms in Adderall withdrawal include:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Hunger
  • Insomnia followed by hypersomnia
  • Drug cravings
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Anhedonia (Loss of interest in pleasurable activities)


These symptoms are known as acute withdrawal symptoms and typically display themselves and resolve within 1-2 weeks after the last use. Sometimes in cases of stimulant abuse the user goes through what is called Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS), in which some of these withdrawal symptoms can display themselves weeks, or even months after the drug has left the persons body. Although not much is known about PAWS, it is thought that these long term withdrawal symptoms are caused my permanent changes in the person brain chemistry.

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Treatment for Adderall Addiction

Although many people choose to go through Adderall withdrawals on their own, it his highly recommended to seek out treatment in a supportive environment that offers professional help. Addiction professionals and substance abuse counselors can help offer an environment where medications are provided to reduce withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety and depression, while offering therapy to supplement these medications. Going through Adderall withdrawal in a safe environment reduces the risk of relapse. It is important to start building a sober foundation in a safe and supportive place.

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