Adderall Signs of Use and Side Effects

Sometimes people will risk anything to gain a competitive edge, even Adderall addiction. The stimulant that helps children with ADHD focus in school or narcoleptics manage their condition also has a high enough abuse potential to earn it a Schedule II classification.

More About Adderall

Problems with Adderall abuse stem from dependency and/or addiction when it’s taken long-term or used illegally for its supposed benefits. Typical Adderall abusers aren’t really the people normally imagined as addicts at all. They’re mainly young adults looking for an Adderall high or students, professionals, and athletes slipping into addiction while trying to get a little extra energy or improve their performance. It’s also used improperly by people struggling with obesity and eating disorders.

Symptoms of Adderall Abuse

Casual users will exhibit symptoms like excitability and talkativeness. They’ll seem active, driven, and focused. When use is heavy or long-term, the symptoms of Adderall abuse become more intense. Many are similar to the signs of cocaine abuse. There’s a high level of confidence, and behaviors like agitation or aggression become pronounced. Individuals may experience chronic insomnia at times or collapse into a heavy sleep after a stimulant binge.

There are physical symptoms like abrupt weight loss and acne breakouts. If an individual is crushing up pills and snorting them, it can cause damage to the nasal passages. The risk of overdose from snorting Adderall increases, especially when the extended release formula is ingested this way. Health problems like high blood pressure and liver disease can develop, and there is a high incidence of psychiatric problems like paranoia. Because the drug changes how the brain functions, long-term use can also increase the risk of depression and suicidal behavior.

Adderall Abuse Statistics

In the eight years between 1993 and 2001, ADHD became the number one mental health diagnosis in the US. Over the same time period, stimulant prescriptions increased by 5,767 percent. Sales top $10 billion annually, and they’re expected to increase to more than $17 billion by 2020.

Unfortunately, the emerging epidemic is being overshadowed by the opioid crisis. There are approximately 17.2 million prescription stimulant users in the US, almost two million of whom are children aged 12 – 17. The DEA reports that their agents confiscate 15 kilos of stimulants for every one kilo of opioids. That’s in addition to the number of prescriptions written every day. According to Adderall abuse statistics, use of this stimulant is rampant among young adults age 18 – 25, who comprise about five million of the prescription stimulant users alone. Many others begin taking Adderall to help them study or as a party drug. However, it isn’t only students abusing the drug. Use among women from 20 – 39 years old more than tripled during the period covered by the survey.

There’s a casual attitude about Adderall abuse. Because this stimulant and others used to treat ADHD are associated with children, people underestimate how dangerous Adderall is and the damage it can cause. Thirty-eight percent of college students surveyed reported knowing someone who regularly takes this easy to obtain the drug without a prescription. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that nearly 70 percent of college students surveyed who used Adderall did so while binge drinking. This is an especially dangerous trend because stimulants can suppress the effects of alcohol, increasing the danger of alcohol poisoning.

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Adderall Overdose and Death

Any drug that has a potential for dependency also carries a risk of overdose and death. According to the CDC, more than 7,663 people died due to stimulant overdoses in 2017, which is a 30 percent increase over the previous year.

The signs of an Adderall overdose are:

  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid heart pulse and respiration
  • Chest pains
  • Hallucinations
  • Cardiac arrest

Adderall Addiction Versus Dependence

Anyone taking an addictive substance for more than a few weeks runs a risk of dependency, which means needing to take higher or more frequent dosages over time to obtain the same effect. Addiction is suspected when an individual experiences uncontrollable cravings for drugs regardless of the consequences. A diagnosis of Adderall abuse is considered when the drug is taken for longer than prescribed, taken at a higher dosage than prescribed, or when someone diverts a prescription that isn’t theirs just for its supposed performance-boosting power or the Adderall high.

Mild substance dependency can be treated by gradually decreasing the amount. This step-down process is performed in small increments until the drug is no longer needed in order for the individual to function. Addiction needs a different approach. Withdrawal and cessation should always be done under a doctor’s supervision to manage symptoms and avoid complications.

Side Effects of Adderall Use

There are many cases of people abusing drugs and remaining fully functional, but every substance use disorder comes with side effects and complications. It should be noted that the side effects of Adderall abuse mainly occur when taken in excess of the prescribed dosage or when it’s taken by someone who doesn’t have a clinical need.

Mild effects such as increased energy, confidence, and mental focus are present with normal dosage or short-term use. When the drug is used recreationally, taken in high doses, or used for an extended duration, effects like insomnia, loss of appetite, and excitability are noticeable. People become very talkative and have trouble sitting still. They may even become aggressive at times.

How Long Does Adderall Stay in Your System?

Adderall half-life refers to how long it takes for the amount of active medication in the bloodstream to reduce by 50 percent. The half-life of Adderall is about three hours for the regular formulation and 9 – 10 hours for the extended release formula. Bioavailability is the rate at which d-amphetamine, the active ingredient in Adderall, is flowing through the bloodstream and available to the neurotransmitters responsible for controlling norepinephrine, dopamine, and adrenaline.

These levels peak at about three hours after ingesting the drug. Both half-life and bio-availability depend on the PH levels in the bloodstream. Highly acidic kidneys mean a shorter half-life, and higher acidity in the gastrointestinal system means slower absorption into the bloodstream.

The length of time that Adderall remains in the system for effectiveness or drug testing purposes depends on factors such as individual dosage, metabolism, weight, and formulation. Extended-release Adderall is meant to remain effective for 24 hours, with a peak at about 9 – 10 hours. The standard formulation starts to decrease after three hours and loses most of its effectiveness after around six hours. Adderall can be detected in saliva about 10 – 15 minutes after taking it and remain for up to 72 hours. It’s found in the urine for up to a week with heavy use. Maximum blood concentration occurs after about three hours. Those who are prescribed Adderall would be expected to maintain a consistent level in the bloodstream in order to manage their condition.

Is Treatment Available for Adderall Abuse?

Dependency on Adderall and addictions are difficult to beat, but there is help available. The protocol for Adderall addiction rehab follows the same treatments used for other stimulants like meth and cocaine. Inpatient treatment with medical and aftercare support offers an excellent chance to face life drug-free.

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