Blog - Beach House Rehab Center
adderall abuse
October 9, 2020

Warning Signs of Adderall Abuse

Doctors frequently prescribe stimulants like Adderall to help their patients with ADHD and narcolepsy stay mentally sharp, alert and energetic. When used as prescribed, Adderall can provide more focus and clarity to people with those disorders. However, the widespread availability of this drug has led some people to misuse it in pursuit of a high. 

You might assume taking a stimulant is no riskier than consuming a lot of coffee or energy drinks, but that isn’t true. Learn how to spot the warning signs of Adderall abuse, so you know when it’s time to seek help for yourself or a loved one. 

How Does Adderall Work?

Adderall acts upon your central nervous system. It speeds up brain activity by increasing the amounts and availability of neurotransmitters called dopamine and norepinephrine. While this drug is in your system, it can provide relief from the symptoms of ADHD and narcolepsy. However, if you haven’t received an official diagnosis of either of these conditions, taking Adderall can be harmful to your health.

Dangers of Long-Term Adderall Use

There’s a persistent – and dangerous – myth that prescription drugs are inherently safe for everyone. While it’s true that these medications must pass a series of clinical trials before doctors can prescribe them to people, that doesn’t mean anyone can or should experiment with them. If you don’t have ADHD or narcolepsy, using Adderall without a doctor’s supervision is both illegal and risky. 

Like cocaine and opioids, prescription stimulants fall under the Schedule II category of controlled substances. That means they have a high potential for abuse and addiction. Though you might try Adderall in hopes of attaining a competitive edge at work or school, you may find it makes you jittery, disrupts your concentration and impairs your decision-making abilities. Indeed, there’s no conclusive evidence these medications improve the ability to retain information in people who don’t have ADHD. 

How Addictive Is Adderall? 

When used correctly under a doctor’s supervision, ADHD medications like Adderall are unlikely to be habit-forming. However, misuse of prescription stimulants can lead to a higher tolerance and addiction. People who use Adderall recreationally might take a much higher dose than a physician would instruct them to use – either because they have no idea how much is safe, or because they’re intentionally trying to induce a euphoric high.

If you’ve developed an addiction to prescription stimulants, you might begin to believe you can’t function normally without these drugs. Instead of only using Adderall before giving an important presentation at work, you start depending on the medication to maintain your “mental edge” during normal daily activities. You may also experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms like insomnia, fatigue and depression when you try to quit.

Along with the risk of physical and psychological dependence, misusing prescription stimulants can have highly dangerous outcomes. For example, an Adderall overdose can lead to a heart attack, and using it alongside other intoxicants might have fatal consequences.

Red Flags of Adderall Abuse

You can transition from Adderall abuse to a full-scale addiction without realizing it. Addiction is a disease that hijacks the brain’s reward center and eventually leaves you unable to control your urges to use specific substances.

Warning signs of Adderall abuse may include:

  • Intense cravings for the drug
  • Inability to quit using Adderall, even though your growing substance misuse problem is harming your relationships or threatening your livelihood
  • A willingness to take risks to obtain or use the drug
  • Spending an excessive amount of time using stimulants and planning where the next dose will come from 
  • Frequently feeling agitated, anxious or paranoid
  • Lack of appetite
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Loss of interest in previously pleasurable hobbies
  • Dishonesty and denial about when or how often you use Adderall 

Recovering From Prescription Stimulant Abuse at Beach House

Beach House Rehab Center, located on a private, resort-like campus, combines evidence-based treatment methods with a uniquely compassionate culture to cater to the needs of recovering addicts. 

After your safe and comfortable detox from Adderall, you’ll start long-term residential treatment with our highly trained clinicians. Throughout your stay with us, you’ll enjoy biweekly massages and nutritious meals prepared by our in-house chef. Take a tour of our Florida facility or call today to speak to one of our admissions counselors.