Adderall is a brand name for an amphetamine that doctors prescribe for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Annually, about 2.5 million Americans are prescribed Adderall or other stimulant drugs approved for ADHD, which are effective and safe when used as prescribed.
Because Adderall is a powerful stimulant, many college students and other young people who do not suffer from ADHD misuse it to get high or to use the alertness and extra energy to improve their academic performance. Among such users, Adderall is often called the “study drug.”
The introduction of time-release Adderall (Adderall XR) is when there was a huge spike in illicit use. The drug stays in the system longer, and students can maintain an artificially enhanced level of focus for hours. They get the drug from a friend or family member who has a prescription. It is estimated that half of the students who have a medical prescription for Adderall or other ADHD stimulants will be approached by peers who wish to purchase some pills.
If you have concerns about whether your son or daughter is misusing Adderall or is being pressured to provide pills to someone else, please seek advice and support. At Serenity Light Recovery, we have a knowledgeable staff ready to answer your questions. Just call us at 855.658.6109 or fill out our online form.
When Does Adderall Use Become Drug Abuse?
Many people mistakenly believe that taking Adderall is no different from drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages. This could not be further from the truth. Though it may be argued that there is such a thing as too much coffee, the risks are minuscule compared to the risks of abusing a stimulant.
Someone is abusing Adderall if they:
- Use the pills in a way other than as prescribed
- Take someone else’s prescription
- Use it along with other drugs or alcohol
- Use more than the prescribed dose
- Crush the pills in order to snort them
What does Adderall abuse look like? If you know someone you suspect is abusing Adderall, look for the following symptoms:
- Pressured speech, racing thoughts
- A level of sociability that is out of sync with the person’s character
- Dry mouth, nausea, vomiting
- Anxiety, panic attacks, or excessive nervousness
- Fear of not having access to more Adderall
- Significant time spent finding, acquiring, using, and recovering from the drug
Study Drug Addiction and Risks
One of the scariest things about Adderall addiction—which is any use that is not approved and prescribed for the individual—is that the people who abuse it don’t think it can hurt them. When someone uses Adderall as a study drug, they will build tolerance, meaning they will have to increase how much they take to get the same effects. Dependence and addiction are close behind.
When someone is dependent on Adderall, losing access to the drug will initiate withdrawal symptoms. The person will crash. Extreme fatigue is quickly followed by anxiety, depression, confusion, and sleep irregularities.
Adderall comes with numerous risks, even for those for whom it is prescribed and who use it properly. College students and other people who abuse Adderall assume that because it is FDA approved, there are no risks, when in fact, Adderall can cause:
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Blurred vision
- Spikes in temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate
- Reduced circulation
- General irritability
Students who abuse Adderall tend to use it in higher doses than a patient with a prescription, which increases all the above risks. These effects can seem minor to someone young, but Adderall can be deadly, for example, for a student with a pre-existing heart condition. Adderall can also cause hallucinations and heart attacks, though these are less common.
Serenity Light Recovery Offers Hope
Our prescription drug addiction treatment center can help you or a loved one who is abusing stimulants such as Adderall. We realize that your college student may have started down this path for all the best-intentioned reasons—to do well in school and make you proud. However, the dangers of abuse and addiction to a controlled substance are very real despite intentions.