Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), doctors often prescribe Adderall to people that suffer from issues with attention, hyperactivity, or sleep.

As a central nervous system stimulant, Adderall can help people focus. On top of increasing your level of focus, Adderall can make you feel a euphoric sensation after taking it. This is because Adderall binds to norepinephrine, dopamine, and epinephrine neurotransmitter receptors in the body.

Norepinephrine is a receptor in the brain that helps with your cognitive functioning by allowing you to concentrate and stay focused. Dopamine is a receptor in the brain that acts as a reward system and thus makes you feel moods of happiness and satisfaction. Epinephrine is a receptor in your adrenal gland that increases your heart rate, blood pressure, muscle strength, and sugar metabolism.

The norepinephrine, dopamine, and epinephrine receptors all make human beings feel good and rewarded in some shape or form. Because of this fact, when misused, Adderall can be very addictive. In fact, Adderall is a Schedule II controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule II controlled substances are substances that have a high potential for misuse that can lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.

Because of how addictive Adderall is, there is a huge need for Adderall addiction treatment.

What is Adderall?

Adderall is a prescription stimulant made out of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. As a stimulant, Adderallspeeds up certain bodily processes. Doctors prescribe Adderallin the form of an oral medication, although some people who misuse Adderallcrush it up and snort it.

What is Adderall Used For?

Adderall is a stimulant used to treat attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and sleep disorders such as narcolepsy. When used in its proper dosage, Adderall is good at treating these specific disorders because of the ability this medication has to help calm behavior and increase people’s ability to focus and remain alert.

Doctors can prescribe Adderall to children and adults. In fact, because many of the people that cannot control their ADD or ADHD are children, a large portion of the people that doctors prescribe Adderall to are children. The fact that children are prescribed Adderall is one of the reasons why many people are deceived into thinking that it is a safe medication to misuse.

Oftentimes students who are overachievers and want to focus and stay alert more so that they can do better in their academics start abusing Adderall. Once someone who does not have an Adderall prescription starts taking Adderall in a risky manner or someone who does have an Adderall prescription starts taking a higher dosage than prescribed, that person has a high chance of developing an addiction.

Other Forms of Stimulants Prescribed to Treat Attention Disorders

When used properly, stimulants are the most effective form of medication for treating attention disorders. In fact, there are countless studies and research that proves how effective stimulants can be when it comes to improving people’s sense of attention.

Stimulants are great for treating attention disorders because of the way that they bind with reward and feel-good receptors in the brain and body. This is especially true when it comes to increasing levels of dopamine. Dopamine is associated with the rewarding feelings of pleasure, motivation, attention, and movement. Thus, boosting such a receptor through stimulants helps increase focus and concentration, which simultaneously decreases hyperactivity and impulsivity.

While Adderall is arguably the most used stimulant medication for treating ADD and ADHD, there are other stimulants a person with these disorders can use. Ritalin and Dexedrine are other well-known stimulants that doctors prescribe to people with attention disorders.

Stimulants used for ADHD can come in two forms. These two forms are short-acting stimulants and long-acting stimulants. Short-acting stimulants reach their full effect within several hours and thus must be taken 2 -3 times a day. Long-acting, or extended-release, stimulants can last for 8-12 hours and thus, only need to be taken once a day.

Signs of Adderall Addiction

There are many signs that indicate that you or someone you know has an Adderall addiction. Some of these signs may come in the form of lifestyle and behavioral changes, while others may come in the form of physical symptoms.

Lifestyle Signs of Adderall Addiction

If you or someone you know is going to great lengths to quicken the effects of their Adderall, that could be a sign of addiction. For example, someone who suffers from an Adderalladdiction may take way more than the dosage that his or her doctor prescribed. A person looking to quicken the effects of Adderallmay even crush and snort the medication. Willingness to manipulate and hurt others to get more Adderall is also a lifestyle sign of Adderall addiction.

One form of manipulation that often comes with an Adderall addiction is “doctor shopping.” Doctor shopping is a term used to describe someone going to different doctor offices and pharmacies to fill multiple prescriptions of Adderall.

If you are suffering from an Adderall addiction, you may start to become secretive about hiding your addiction habits. Another sign of an increasing addiction to Adderall is no longer taking care of yourself due to the fact that all of your energy is going to getting more Adderall.

Once your Adderall addiction causes you to exhibit such reckless behaviors, you may stop attending to your life’s responsibilities in general. Spending all your money on Adderall is also a sign of Adderall addiction.

Behavioral Signs of Adderall Addiction

There are many behavioral changes that people associate with Adderall addiction. One of these behavior changes is sudden excitability or talkativeness. Because Adderall is a stimulant, someone that uses Adderall in a risky manner may start to become overly alert to the point where it translates into excessive excitability. This excessive excitability then often turns into over talking.

While someone with an Adderall addiction may have sudden bursts of excitement and talkativeness, misusing such a strong stimulant can also cause that person to later crash and develop random bouts of excessive fatigue. People suffering from Adderall addiction may also exhibit excessive daytime fatigue because their Adderall use is causing them to have problems falling asleep at night.

Another behavioral sign of Adderall addiction is mood swings in general. For example, a person with an Adderall addiction could have sudden bouts of anger, aggression, and mania.

Excessive misuse of Adderall can also start to mess with the way people’s brains normally function. As a result, people with Adderall addictions sometimes start to have memory loss and incomplete thoughts.

Excessive misuse of Adderall can even cause you to start to become disoriented all the time. Due to the effect, excessive Adderall use can have on your digestive system, excessive misuse of Adderall can also cause you to have a loss of appetite.

Physical Signs of Adderall Addiction

There are countless physical signs of an Adderall addiction. These signs include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Chest pain
  • Vomiting/nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Hoarseness
  • Digestive issues
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Numbness in arms and legs
  • Body twitches
  • Slowed or slurred speech
  • Dizziness
  • Hives or rashes
  • Peeling skin
  • Vision problems
  • Excessive weight loss
  • High blood pressure
  • Paranoia

Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms

Whenever you are suffering from addiction to Adderall, you will experience withdrawal symptoms whenever you are detoxing or not taking as much of the medication as you’ve become accustomed to.

There are numerous Adderall withdrawal symptoms. Many Adderall withdrawal symptoms are similar to the physical signs of Adderall addiction, except more severe.

List of Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Body tremors
  • Seizures
  • Panic attacks
  • High blood pressure
  • Paranoia
  • Blurry vision
  • Dry mouth
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Adderall cravings
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Extreme hunger
  • Mood swings
  • Phobias

How Long Does Adderall Stay in Your System?

How long Adderall stays in your system varies depending on what bodily system you are trying to detect Adderall. Other factors that influence the amount of time it takes to detect Adderallin your body include your urine pH and your weight.

The dosage of Adderall that you took, the frequency at which you would consume Adderall, and the last time that you took Adderall also affect how long the drug will stay in your body.

You can detect Adderall in urine anywhere from 72 – 96 hours after you take the medication. In blood, Adderall is detectable for up to 46 hours, and in hair, Adderall is detectable for up to 3 months.

Adderall Addiction Treatment

Receiving Adderall addiction treatment is important because trying to quit on your own cold turkey could lead to dangerous conditions like cardiac arrest, or even death. To receive proper Adderalladdiction treatment, you must first enroll in a detox and recovery program.

During your detox from Adderall, your doctor will lower your dosage of Adderall intake at a gradual pace. Lowering someone’s dosage of a medication at a slow pace is called tapering. Tapering helps you avoid having deadly situations due to quitting Adderall use too abruptly.

During this time you will also have to learn how to manage your withdrawal symptoms without the assistance of medication. The reason why you cannot use other medications to help with your Adderall addiction is that there are no approved medications for Adderall addiction treatment.

When it comes to recovery programs for an Adderall addiction, inpatient treatment is the best option. This is because inpatient treatment provides you with a safe environment where you can receive constant therapy and support. After you are done tapering your Adderall use, detoxing, and receiving treatment, you should then seek medical evaluations and assessments to make sure that you are alright.

Once the substance is out of your system,  you should attend psychotherapy and behavioral therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a good choice when it comes to therapy options for someone in recovery for an Adderall addiction. It is also wise to attend both individual and group therapy when receiving Adderall addiction treatment.

Once your detox, treatment, and therapy are all complete, you should have an aftercare plan. An aftercare plan is a plan of precautionary things that you are going to do after your treatment is done to help you maintain your sobriety. One of the best forms of an aftercare plan is attending 12-step meetings.

Receive Addiction Treatment at Discovery Institute

Discovery Institute is dedicated to providing quality clinical care and evidence-based treatment practices to each person staying in our facility. That way they can receive the help that they need. We are also dedicated to decreasing the negative impact addiction has on the family members and friends of people suffering from drug addiction. We do this by offering individual, group, and family therapy at our Institute.

To receive treatment at Discovery Institute, fill out an admission form on our website, or speak with one of our specialists now.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.