Adderall Addiction

What Is Adderall?

Adderall is a prescription drug that acts as a stimulant. It’s available in a standard-release and a time-release version. This brand-name drug is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, both of which are stimulants individually.

Adderall is primarily prescribed to children and adults to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In rarer cases, Adderall may be prescribed to treat the sleep disorder narcolepsy. The Food and Drug Administration originally approved Adderall in 1960. The DSM Pharmaceuticals company makes the brand-name version of the drug, and there are also drug companies that manufacture generic versions.

Adderall and increases the level of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. If someone has ADHD and they use Adderall as prescribed, it calms them and helps them focus.

There are certain health risks associated with the use of Adderall, particularly if it’s used other than how it’s prescribed. For example, Adderall can lead to stroke, high blood pressure and heart problems. If someone has a pre-existing heart condition, taking Adderall can be especially risky. If someone has certain mental health problems, such as depression or bipolar disorder, Adderall can exacerbate their symptoms.

Is Adderall Addictive?

Adderall is an addictive drug and people who develop an Adderall addiction have often used it without a prescription or in a way other than how it’s prescribed. When some people use Adderall, especially if they don’t have ADHD, it can cause a euphoric high. A person may have different reasons for abusing Adderall. One of the most common is to give them a performance edge, particularly in school or work.

When someone abuses Adderall, it can not only create euphoria but also improve concentration, motivation and a sense of confidence. Adderall can help people stay awake for long periods of time, which has contributed to its reputation as a “study drug.”

Adderall is also commonly abused among young professionals, particularly those who work in high-stress or competitive environments. Some of the signs of Adderall abuse can include seeming very talkative, excitability or unusual energy levels, and in some people aggression and irritability.

If someone uses Adderall without a prescription or they use it outside of how it’s intended to be used, they’re at a risk of becoming addicted. For example, sometimes people crush it or empty the capsules to snort the drug. This gives a more rapid and powerful high but also leads to addiction more quickly. Individuals might also dissolve the drug to inject it, and the results are similar.

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With extended-release versions of Adderall, abuse through snorting or injecting the drug is particularly risky. When snorting or injecting Adderall, the effects of the drug occur in a short period of time rather than over a period of 12 hours as is intended.

Adderall is a Schedule II controlled substance. This means that it requires a prescription from a doctor, and also that the drug carries with it a high potential for abuse. That abuse can lead to both psychological and physical dependence.

While it is possible to become addicted to Adderall, people often wonder about the specific mechanism of action of the drug that makes it an addictive substance. When someone uses Adderall, specific brain chemicals are released at abnormally high levels. These brain chemicals, also called neurotransmitters, include dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine. They’re released into the central nervous system, and they are what creates the sense of euphoria. Specifically, dopamine can activate the brain’s reward and pleasure centers.

The norepinephrine and epinephrine are what increases focus and alertness. Any drug that affects feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine has the potential to become addictive since it’s activating reward centers in the brain. The activation of those reward centers can trigger the brain to compulsively seek out the stimulus that led to that activation, which is Adderall in this case.

An Adderall addiction is a neurological disorder that causes people to compulsively use the drug. People addicted Adderall seek and use the substance despite the negative consequences, which may include health, social and legal problems.

Adderall Addiction Statistics

Adderall addiction statistics can be startling, especially since this is a drug so commonly prescribed to various people, including children.

The following are notable Adderall addiction statistics regarding the prescribing, use and misuse of this drug.

  • According to research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, emergency room visits, and abuse related to Adderall has increased among young adults, although the number of prescriptions haven’t.
  • Research published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry showed that Adderall misuse is highest among adults ages 18 to 25. Most of the people who reported abusing Adderall obtained it from friends or family and did not have a prescription for the drug.
  • Hopkins researchers found that 60 percent of people ages 12 or older who used Adderall for nonmedical purposes were between 18 and 25 years old.
  • From 2006 to 2011, the illegal use of Adderall among young adults went up by 67 percent, while emergency room visits went up by 156 percent.
  • In 2013, an estimated 3.5 million children were on prescription stimulants. Conversely, 600,000 children were on stimulant in 1990.
  • In 2012, there were around 16 million prescriptions for Adderall written for adults between ages 20 and 39.
  • By 2004, the off-label use of prescription stimulants was the second-most common type of illegal drug use seen by college students, only behind marijuana.

Unfortunately, because it is a prescription medication, people often don’t understand the consequences of misusing this stimulant. However, Adderall dependence and addiction can occur. It’s also possible for people addicted to Adderall to experience withdrawal symptoms upon cessation from the drug.

Adderall can have many serious health effects as well, particularly with long-term use. For example, Adderall can trigger or worsen psychological symptoms, and it can lead to cardiac problems, especially in individuals with pre-existing heart conditions. Using Adderall in a way other than those recommended by a physician can increase a person’s likelihood of becoming addicted to the prescription stimulant.

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