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Adderall is the brand name of a medication that is usually prescribed for ADHD or narcolepsy. It is also sometimes prescribed for severe depression. This medication is a combination of two stimulants, and addiction to Adderall is becoming more and more common.
In a fast-paced society, people sometimes feel that it’s impossible to keep up with all that’s required of them. College students in particular may struggle to meet the demands of their education, particularly if they are attending school and working at the same time. They are the group who most commonly abuses this dangerous drug.
Adderall works by increasing the activity of certain neurotransmitters in the brain and triggering the release of adrenaline. The heart rate increases and users may feel invigorated or energized. They may also feel that their ability to focus or concentrate noticeably improves, which makes this substance especially appealing to students who need to stay alert for long periods of time. Like other stimulants, this substance is also sometimes used as an appetite suppressant.
Taken in large doses, Adderall can cause feelings of euphoria, which makes it a common substance to be used recreationally. It’s often used while drinking, because it counters the depressant effects of alcohol and allows the user to keep drinking without becoming sleepy. When the effect of the amphetamine wears off, the user may feel irritable or depressed.
Why Adderall Abuse Is Dangerous
It’s a common misconception that abusing prescription drugs is somehow less dangerous than abusing street drugs. Prescription drugs can be extremely dangerous and are intended to be used under the supervision of a physician.
One reason Adderall abuse is increasing is that the drug is easy to obtain. Adderall sells for five dollars or more a pill on the streets, and there is frequent sharing of prescriptions among users. Those who abuse the drug may swallow or snort it. It is extremely habit-forming, and some people fake symptoms of ADHD in order to obtain prescriptions, or may try to obtain prescriptions from more than one doctor.
Adderall is a powerfully addictive drug, and is categorized as a Schedule II controlled substance. This means it has a high potential for abuse. Misuse of this substance can lead to severe physical and psychological dependence. Like many street drugs, the body continuously builds up a tolerance to Adderall, and users end up taking much higher doses to attain the same effect. This increases the chance of dangerous side effects.
Those who abuse Adderall may abuse other substances as well, feeling they need other drugs such as Valium or Xanax to counter the stimulating effects of the Adderall.
Because of its stimulating qualities, Adderall can cause the heartbeat to race or become irregular. Abuse of stimulants can cause strain on the heart and can also lead to blood clots or other circulatory problems. These and other symptoms are intensified when the drug is used recreationally, since recreational doses are typically higher than doses recommended by medical professionals. In someone with a heart condition that may be undiagnosed, Adderall abuse can lead to sudden death.
Large doses of Adderall can result in symptoms of psychosis. Users may experience paranoia, hallucinations or delusions. Long-term use can alter brain chemistry.
Dependence on Adderall can cause intense symptoms of withdrawal if users try to stop taking it abruptly. Irritability and mood swings may set in, or they may experience severe depression or panic attacks. Nightmares and suicidal thoughts are also experienced by many people withdrawing from Adderall.
Getting Help for Adderall Addiction
If you or a loved one has a problem with Adderall abuse or addiction, get help. Talk to a family physician or addiction professional. Withdrawal may need to be supervised, particularly if you have been abusing other substances such as alcohol. You may also need medical supervision if you have mental health problems such as an anxiety disorder or depression.
A person that has become hooked on stimulants may need help learning to resist cravings in order to build a drug-free life. The good news is you can overcome addiction to Adderall or other stimulants and learn to enjoy a good life free of the stress of addiction.