Life in college is a whirlwind. Balancing classes, work, friends, and activities is a lot for anyone to handle and it leaves very little time for sleep and self-care. Pulling all-nighters to study for a big exam is something that is not abnormal for students to do. Eventually, many students realize that coffee and energy drinks just aren’t keeping them alert and focused enough to complete all of their duties, so they turn to prescription stimulants like Adderall (an amphetamine) to keep them going.
Adderall is a classified as a Schedule II controlled substance because it has a “high potential for abuse which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence,” as according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. In 1996, it was approved as a prescription medication to be used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in people of all ages. Adderall is incredibly helpful to people who suffer from ADHD because it helps to calm and focus their mind, but when Adderall is abused by those who are not in need of a prescription, the effects on the mind and body can be quite damaging.
Why do students abuse Adderall?
The biggest reason that students abuse Adderall or similar stimulants is because they see it has a way to manage their workload and accomplish more tasks in a day. Many students don’t see the use and abuse of Adderall a problem because the effects are different (less extreme) than that of methamphetamine and they are able to work more efficiently. However, there are serious implications to the abuse of Adderall and prescription stimulants that many students either aren’t aware of or choose to ignore.
What are the signs and symptoms of Adderall abuse?
When a person begins to abuse Adderall, they quickly start to develop a tolerance for the drug which means they’ll have to keep taking more and more in order to get the desired effect. Until a person stops using or gets help for their addiction to stimulants, they may experience serious side effects that are potentially dangerous to their mental, physical and social health.
As with any addiction, there are physical, behavioral, and emotional tolls that prolonged drug abuse has on one’s body. Here are a few commons signs and symptoms of Adderall abuse:
- Uncharacteristic talkativeness or sociability
- Stomach aches and nausea
- Increased anxiety
- Dry mouth
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Cravings for Adderall
- Fear of running out of Adderall
- Lying and stealing to get the drug
- Restlessness or disruption of sleep patterns
Signs and symptoms of stimulant overdose aren’t the same for everyone, but here are the most common ones:
- Tremors and twitching
- Paranoia, hallucinations, confusion, and panic
- Aggressiveness and anger
- Seizures, fainting, coma
- Gastrointestinal issues
Because Adderall is an amphetamine, it is not recommended to be used by people with heart conditions, high blood pressure, Tourette’s or a seizure condition. If Adderall is used by a person with any of these pre-existing conditions, the use or abuse of the drug can be fatal.
With a frequent Adderall user stops taking the drug, the first and most prevalent symptom they are likely to experience is a “crash.” The withdrawal symptoms of Adderall are quite the opposite of the effects that Adderall has on a person. When experiencing a “crash,” a former Adderall user may also experience:
- Inability to sleep
- Lack of focus/concentration
- Suicidal thoughts
- Return of, or increase in, appetite
The duration of Adderall withdrawal symptoms will depend on how often the drug was taken and the amount that was regularly consumed. It will also depend on whether the user has been taking instant release or extended release Adderall.
Instant release Adderall begins working immediately and is metabolized through the body quickly whereas extended release Adderall stays in the body for a longer period of time. If a person has been abusing extended release Adderall, they are likely to feel withdrawal symptoms for a longer period of time.
In mild cases of Adderall abuse, withdrawal symptoms usually persist for about five days. In more severe cases, the withdrawal symptoms can persist for two to three weeks.
Treating Adderall abuse and addition
As with any addiction, the first step to recovery is making sure your body is completely free from drugs. Because Adderall withdrawal symptoms can be severe, it’s never a bad idea to go through a detox program at a medical facility where patients can be monitored 24/7 and slowly weaned off of the drug, if need be.
While in detox from Adderall, patients are typically given access to mental health services to assist with the effects of anxiety disorders and/or depression – both of which are common side effects of Adderall withdrawal.
If a student that is currently enrolled in school is seeking help for an Adderall addiction, many facilities will be able to provide them with out-patient care so that they can still attend classes while getting the help they need.
How Intrepid Detox Residential can help
Here at Intrepid Detox Residential, we will help you establish a care plan and be with you every step of the way from the first day of detox to the last day of outpatient care, and beyond. In fact, one of the things that we are proud to offer at our facility is 24/7 support for those who have graduated from our facility. If you or someone you love needs help with an Adderall addiction, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Some of the most important years in a person’s life are spent in college. What better way to experience them than with a healthy mind and body?