Adderall Addiction and Treatment
Adderall misuse and addiction is a problem throughout the United States. According to a 2020 survey, 5.1 million Americans aged 12 or older had misused some sort of prescription stimulant, including Adderall, within the past year.1
Even though prescription stimulant use has been on the rise across the country, Nevada has one of the lowest rates of use reported in the country as of 2016.2 But this doesn’t mean that Adderall abuse isn’t an issue in Nevada. That same year, Nevada had the highest rates of stimulant deaths in the nation, with 7.5 deaths per 100,000 people.3 Stimulant overdose deaths are on the rise nationwide as well; American stimulant overdose deaths increased 50% between 2019 and 2020.4
What Is Adderall?
Adderall is the trade name for a prescription stimulant approved to treat Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, a chronic sleep disorder.5 Adderall combines dextroamphetamine and amphetamine and is a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning it has a high potential for abuse.4 Similar ADHD medicines within this class include dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine), methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta), and lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse).2
Adderall helps you stay alert and increase focus, which is why it is helpful for treating ADHD. But these reasons also lead to the drug being misused; some teens and young adults without ADHD use Adderall as a “study drug,” even though research shows it does not increase focus in people without ADHD.7 Misusing Adderall in this way can increase your risk of negative side effects, including addiction.
Side Effects of Adderall
Much like other medications, taking Adderall and other prescription stimulants can cause unwanted side effects. Side effects can happen even if you take Adderall exactly how your doctor told you, but they are more likely if you misuse Adderall.5 Adderall misuse can look like:6
- Taking more than prescribed.
- Taking it in ways other than prescribed. For example, crushing and snorting pills, smoking it, or dissolving pills in water and then injecting the liquid.
- Taking it without a prescription.
- Taking it to get high.
Short-Term Adderall Side Effects
Common short-term side effects of Adderall may include:5–7
- Decreased appetite.
- Trouble sleeping.
- Feeling dizzy.
- Dry mouth.
- Stomach issues, such as constipation or diarrhea.
- High blood pressure and heart rate.
- Increased blood sugar levels.
Long-Term Adderall Side Effects
Side effects of taking Adderall long-term can include:5–8
- Paranoia (extreme distrust of others).
- Hostile or aggressive behavior.
- Dependence, tolerance, and addiction.
Am I Addicted to Adderall?
Only a doctor or mental health professional can diagnose you with Adderall addiction. Addiction is a chronic disease marked by compulsive drug use no matter the harms it causes.8 The clinical term for addiction is substance use disorder, or SUD. Addiction changes the way you think and behave, and it creates lasting changes in the brain.8,9
Regular Adderall use or misuse can also cause tolerance and physical dependence.5 Tolerance is when you need higher doses of a drug to get the same desired effects.8 Dependence happens when your brain and body get so used to the drug that you may go through withdrawal if you suddenly stop taking it or greatly reduce your dose.8 Adderall withdrawal symptoms include feelings of fatigue, vivid dreams, and an increased need for food and sleep.6,10 Both tolerance and dependence can be signs of an SUD.9
How to Treat Adderall Addiction
Adderall addiction can be safely managed with medical help. Addiction affects each person in a different way, so treatment plans should be tailored to meet each of your unique needs.8
Some people may choose inpatient treatment, where you live at the treatment center for the length of treatment and have access to 24/7 care and support.8 Others may choose outpatient care, where you attend set appointments during the week but still live at home.8
No matter which setting you choose, treatment will likely involve some form of behavioral therapy.8 Common behavioral therapy techniques for addiction to Adderall and other stimulants include:6
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT helps you learn how change the underlying thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that led to your drug use, as well as manage your triggers (the people, places, and things that make you want to use substances).
- Contingency management (CM). CM helps you change your behavior toward drugs through rewards for positive behavior, such as drug-free urine samples.
How to Get Help for Adderall Addiction
Recovery from Adderall addiction is possible, and it’s never too late to start. American Addiction Centers is a leading provider of Adderall addiction treatment in Las Vegas, Nevada, as well as across the nation. Our professional treatment centers offer a full range of care, from medical detox to outpatient care and recovery housing. We tailor treatment plans to each person’s unique recovery needs and will support you every step of the way. To learn more about how American Addiction Centers (AAC) can help you take back control of your life, our free, confidential helpline is open 24/7 at or you can text us.
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