5 Signs Of Adderall Abuse
Adderall is an amphetamine that is commonly prescribed to treat Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It is also used to treat narcolepsy and help people with weight loss. While Adderall may benefit those suffering from ADHD by improving their ability to focus, it has also been classified as a Schedule II drug due to its high potential for abuse.
People may think that they would be able to tell when a loved one is abusing drugs, but Adderall abuse may be particularly difficult to detect. Someone taking too much Adderall may exhibit moods and behavior that seem to indicate that they are living a happy and productive life, yet they could be exhausted and struggling on the inside.
With close examination, someone may be able to recognize these five signs of Adderall abuse:
- lifestyle changes
- behavioral changes
- mood changes
- physical signs of Adderall abuse
- signs of drug use or paraphernalia
1. Lifestyle Changes
Many people abuse Adderall in an attempt to be more productive. Students may take the drug in order to focus on a large project or important test. Other people may take it to perform better at work. The increased attention and energy from Adderall may initially lead to improved grades and work performance.
Seeing positive results from occasional Adderall use could prompt someone to take it more frequently or in larger doses. They may begin to take Adderall for one project, then another, then to help them through the workday, to keep them awake on the weekend, and so on. As the amount increases, they are likely to sleep less, eat less, and try to do more. They may attribute all of their successes to Adderall and become dependent on it in order to accomplish anything.
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When a person is physically dependent on a drug, they may go to great lengths to get it. Drug-seeking can become a major part of their life, taking up time that used to be spent productively. Their schoolwork, job, or relationships could become less important to them. If they are trying to hide their drug use, they may become secretive.
2. Mood Changes
The effect of Adderall on someone’s mood may be subtle. A person who uses the drug to succeed in school, for example, may have an increased sense of self-esteem when they get a good grade. This positive self-image and sense of accomplishment paired with a heightened ability to focus can make someone seem happier.
Unfortunately, Adderall can also lead someone to experience anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. A person suffering from this may take more Adderall to boost their energy and focus, which can intensify the problem. Serious mental effects like hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia may also develop with excessive or prolonged Adderall abuse.
3. Behavioral Changes
Changes in behavior that may result from Adderall abuse include increased energy, physical activity, and talkativeness. While Adderall is intended to better someone’s concentration, abusing the substance can produce an extreme result. Someone may undertake more than is normally possible, filling their life with activities until they become exhausted.
Aggressive or hostile behavior, especially in children, has also been linked to Adderall use. While research continues in this area, doctors may caution patients to be aware if their behavior becomes more aggressive while taking Adderall.
Adderall abuse can suppress a person’s appetite, causing them to care less about food and positive nutrition. In addition, it can lead to insomnia—trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. These can both contribute to poor health and negative physical consequences.
4. Physical Signs Of Adderall Abuse
Abusing Adderall can manifest in physical ways, some with signs more obvious than others. Excessive weight loss from appetite suppression or extreme fatigue from insomnia may be red flags that something is wrong. Chronic Adderall abuse may increase the risk of side effects.
Possible side effects of Adderall abuse could be:
- dry mouth
- body twitches
- rapid heart rate
- difficulty breathing
- high blood pressure
- vision problems
- frequent headaches
- stomach or chest pain
- nausea or vomiting
5. Signs Of Drug Use And Paraphernalia
A person who is abusing Adderall will likely show signs of drug use. If they have a prescription for Adderall, they will probably run out of pills sooner than they should. If they have multiple prescriptions, they may be “doctor shopping”—visiting several doctors in order to get more drugs than normally prescribed. Some people feign ADHD symptoms in order to get a prescription.
Another indicator may be the way the medication is stored. If someone keeps the pills in baggies or wrapped in plastic, chances are they were not prescribed to that person. Even if a person has a prescription, this type of storage likely indicates that they are taking more than recommended by their doctor.
While Adderall is generally taken orally, some people crush the pills to snort them. Snorting a substance takes it into the bloodstream faster, which can produce a more intense effect. Drug paraphernalia such as razor blades, straws, hollow pens, or rolled paper may be found among someone’s things if they have been snorting Adderall. Though less common, Adderall can also be injected. Needles, spoons, and lighters may indicate injection drug use.
Dangers Of Adderall Abuse
Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant made up of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It works to calm the tendency toward impulsiveness by increasing levels of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. These are the neurotransmitters responsible for attention and focus. Taking Adderall when not prescribed, or taking it in excess, can lead to exhaustion and other serious consequences.
In some cases, people have developed psychotic or manic symptoms after regular Adderall use. The risk for negative mental occurrences rises when the substance is abused. Adderall abuse can damage the heart, and it is not recommended for use by people who have heart conditions. Amphetamines may worsen hypertension, a major contributor to many heart problems, by raising a person’s blood pressure. Other possible cardio effects may be rapid heart rate or heart attack.
In several studies reported by the National Institute of Biotechnology Information, people who used non-prescription stimulants were found to be more likely to abuse other substances as well. Adderall is one of the most common drugs prescribed for ADHD. As the rate of diagnosis for ADHD climbs, so do prescription stimulant rates. The wide availability of Adderall and the prevalence of ADHD makes it easy for people to get this drug, with or without a prescription.
Treatment For Adderall Addiction
Abusing a substance to boost brain power can end up working in reverse. Drug addiction is a disease that can destroy a person’s life, despite them thinking that they need the drug to live normally. There are other ways of thinking that can empower a person and help them overcome addiction.
Inpatient drug rehab centers can help people change their habits and behaviors through therapy and support. They provide a safe environment where a person can learn coping skills, explore new interests, and build positive relationships. Adderall addiction does not have to control someone’s life. Addiction treatment programs can be tailored to individuals for the best fit and greatest chance of recovery.
Contact us today for more information on Adderall addiction and treatment options.Article Sources
Rice University - http://www.caam.rice.edu/~cox/wrap/norepinephrine.pdf
U.S. National Library of Medicine, MedlinePlus - https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a601234.html
U.S. National Library of Medicine, DailyMed Label - https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=f22635fe-821d-4cde-aa12-419f8b53db81