Did you know that it is possible to develop a dependence on Adderall no matter your dosage or the duration of your prescription? Learn what signs to watch for and how to manage them from the addiction recovery experts at Garden State Detox. Here’s what you need to know to keep you on track.
A combination of amphetamines and dextroamphetamine, Adderall is a stimulant created to boost the attention spans of those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or narcolepsy. It works by raising chemicals associated with concentration and focus in the brain’s reward center while also increasing heart rate, temperature, and blood pressure.
There are two types of drugs on the market intended to raise productivity and levels of dopamine. Both types, instantaneous and extended-release, can give you energy and decrease your appetite. Although most users obtain a prescription for ADHD or narcolepsy, some misuse the medication to stay awake longer, lose weight, or for a high.
How Addiction Happens
Prescription dependency starts like any other addiction. Initially, you may take a lower dose to manage your attention difficulties. However, if you are not gaining traction with a smaller amount, your physician might increase the dosage until you see the benefits. If using recreationally or without a prescription, you may seek out an unsafe quantity the more your tolerance builds.
You may be wondering why feeling confident, alert, and happy is a bad thing. With long-term use, your brain’s reward center can change how it produces the feel-good chemicals norepinephrine and dopamine, and that’s where dependency begins. Sadly, happy neurotransmitters can’t stop the side effects from wreaking havoc on your body, including potentially fatal heart and blood pressure problems.
Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms
Although this medication can be helpful, prolonged and frequent use can lead to harmful results when you stop taking it as much or altogether. It’s important to remember that your brain grew accustomed to higher levels of neurotransmitters and is doing without all of a sudden. These physical and emotional differences are your body’s natural way of adjusting to performing without the drug.
Everyone reacts differently while in recovery. Depending on your genetics, health history, and family history of addiction, you may experience more significant withdrawal symptoms than others. Watch for any combination of the following:
- Brain fog
- Inability to concentrate
- Mood swings
- Muscle aches
- Stomach problems
- Low energy
- Seizures or tremors
- Craving the medication
- Panic attacks
- Intrusive or suicidal thoughts
- Lack of motivation
Any combination of symptoms is problematic. However, it is essential to talk to your doctor about feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, emptiness, or regret. That way, your physician can monitor for intrusive suicidal thoughts, overwhelming sadness, or depression.
How to Prevent Withdrawal
If you need Adderall to remain productive, you’re not alone. According to the National Center for Health Research, an estimated 2.5 million Americans have been prescribed prescription stimulants. Fortunately, not everyone experiences ill effects if they stop taking it, mainly if you take necessary precautions to prevent addiction from happening to begin with.
Do your best to take medication as prescribed, and don’t take more than required to achieve maximum benefits. At a lower dose, it can induce desired effects without dependency or crash symptoms. Symptoms are also unlikely if you slowly wean yourself from the medication under professional supervision.
Addiction Treatment Options
Pharmacological treatment for this specific addiction does not currently exist. Nevertheless, it’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor or another medical professional specializing in drug dependency before you stop taking it. To minimize the impact, consider additional recovery methods, such as:
- A rehabilitation or detox program
- Establishing a daily routine
- Therapy or counseling
- Support groups
- Antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications
- Good nutrition
- Pain relievers
- Setting a sleep schedule
- Sleep aids
What to Expect
Users report feeling euphoric and high-energy while taking the drug. As you can imagine, the opposite is true while in recovery. Understandably, relapse is at heightened risk in the hours and days immediately after stopping. In the first hours, days, and weeks after your last dose, you may feel achy, tired, irritable, and depressed. Though your body will naturally eliminate any lingering medication, the physical and emotional indications of withdrawal can make the detoxification process challenging to cope with.
Consequently, your performance in daily activities and relationships may suffer. Rest assured and know these symptoms will not linger forever. A good rehabilitation program can help get you through to the other side of recovery.
How a Detox Program Can Help
If you’ve tried and failed to stop on your own, there is help available. A medical or independent rehabilitation facility is an excellent option with 24-hour supervision, customized medical care, and mental health services. A good program will have a highly-trained and knowledgeable staff to help you control signs of medicine dependency and get you on the path to long-term sobriety.
What to Look For in a Detox Program
Every detox program has one thing in common; the desire to safely and effectively help guide you on your journey to recovery in a medically supervised setting. How to achieve that goal, however, is where each program differs. Before choosing a detox program, be sure to ask the right questions to ensure the right fit for your unique situation.
Check into programs that offer Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), including Buprenorphine, Naltrexone, Suboxone, and Vivitrol to help minimize the severity of physical symptoms and cravings. You may not need MAT to help you along, but it’s good to have the option if required. Additionally, it’s vital to have emotional and psychological support on an ongoing basis. Look for centers that offer individual and group therapy with 2/7 supervision to improve the experience.
If you’re unable to receive treatment at a rehabilitation clinic, you can still free yourself from addiction at home. If you are quitting Adderall in the foreseeable future, advanced planning will give you the best chance at sustainable change.
Prepare yourself for withdrawal cravings by eliminating access to the drug and taking time away from your studies or career for the time being. If possible, order delivery of healthy meals to give yourself a break from cooking while restoring nutritional balance.
Detoxification and withdrawal can be emotionally exhausting. In actuality, feelings of loneliness and depression are common and likely in the days and weeks after stopping. Be sure to let someone know about your plans to quit so that they can support you on your journey to health. If you feel yourself experiencing suicidal thoughts as part of your withdrawal symptoms, you must talk to your doctor right away to get professional guidance and monitoring if necessary.
No matter what path you choose for rehabilitation, aftercare is mandatory for long-term success. Reach out to local therapists, counselors, or group programs to assist you after healing. Collaborating with professionals and others in similar situations will help you maintain sobriety so you can get back to living fully.
Merely considering abstinence from any addictive substance is a feat you should feel proud of. After all, those feel-good chemicals aren’t easy to give up. If you’re abusing ADHD medication for any reason, your quality of life will eventually pay the price. Don’t wait for a new start. If you or a loved one is suffering from Adderall withdrawal, contact the addiction recovery experts at Garden State Detox today.