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Adderall Addiction

Competition is a reality and part of the human experience. People often pit themselves against one another to show their physical or intellectual prowess—it’s what appears to have been instilled in our minds since childhood. Perhaps it’s why students, athletes, or young professionals turn to Adderall to boost their mental or physical performance.

After all, the medicine that’s commonly prescribed to people suffering from attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), attention deficit disorder (ADD), and narcolepsy can be easily obtained. As a result, Adderall abuse in the United States has become a growing concern, particularly among high school and college students.

What Is Adderall?

Adderall is a potent central nervous system (CNS) stimulant prescribed to treat ADHD, ADD, and narcolepsy. The “study drug,” which is a blend of amphetamine compounds, works by increasing energy, focus, and dopamine levels in the brain. It can be available in two formulations: instant release (IR) and extended release (XR). Street names for Adderall include Addys, Beans, beanies, Black beauties, Dexies, Speed, Uppers, Pep pills, and Double trouble, among others. 

Adderall also can elevate a person’s mood when it is used as prescribed (typically once-or-twice-daily doses between 5 mg and 30 mg), but can trigger euphoria when taken incorrectly or abused. People who seek immediate effects of the drug may often crush the pills and snort them.

Because of its strong addictive nature, Adderall has been deemed a Schedule II controlled substance, regardless of its accepted medical purpose.

Just because doctors prescribe Adderall doesn’t mean it is “safe.” Yes, it can be a beneficial medication if used correctly, but continued use and abuse can easily result in long-term side effects. 

People who abuse Adderall can be grouped into three categories:

Athletes – Adderall is a common tool among this group to help thwart fatigue and amplify their game. The prospect of beating competition or being scouted for professional teams often lead athletes to flirt with taking Adderall.

Students and professionals – Despite the drug’s intended use, Adderall does possess the ability to stay awake for hours and become laser-focused, making this especially attractive for college students and career-driven individuals.

People with eating disorders – Adderall is known to have qualities that suppress appetite, so people who have eating disorders will often engage in Adderall abuse. 

It’s critical to understand that an addiction to Adderall could have been a product of other underlying issues—biological, psychological, or environmental

What Are the Signs of Adderall Addiction?

A person addicted to Adderall may quite literally feel like their brains need the drug to stimulate alertness and productivity. As such, when they don’t take the drug, they often feel sluggish and mentally foggy. If you suspect a loved one is addicted to Adderall, or if you feel you’re at the edge of addiction, here are the common signs of Adderall addiction to be aware of:

  • Not feeling alert without Adderall
  • Needing larger doses to feel Adderall’s effects
  • Continuously taking Adderall despite the warning signs of its dangers
  • Spending a lot of money on acquiring the drug
  • Being unable to work without taking Adderall

Other signs and symptoms of Adderall addiction can include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Constipation
  • Appetite loss
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Restlessness
  • Altered sleep habits
  • Body weakness
  • Seizures
  • Pounding heartbeat
  • Hallucinations
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Blurred vision

It’s worth noting that Adderall addiction can easily sneak up on a person. Often,  the person, whether prescribed or not, attempts to take Adderall as a means to feel productive, believing “there are not enough hours in the day” to accomplish everything they want to do. As such, use becomes a habit and, eventually leads to abuse. 

What Is Involved in Adderall Addiction Treatment?


To successfully break away from the chains of Adderall addiction and start on the path to recovery, detoxification is the first step that should be considered, especially if the person has been abusing other substances along with Adderall, such as alcohol. The safest way to detox, though, is to taper (or gradually reduce the dose). People in active addiction are encouraged to seek help from medical professionals, so they can monitor the taper and minimize the painful withdrawal symptoms from ensuing. 


Detox is only the first step in addiction treatment. Clients are encouraged to enroll in a residential treatment center where they will participate in daily behavioral therapy sessions while living on the facility’s campus. Here, a client will work with counselors and therapists to find and address the root causes of addiction such as distressing or maladaptive emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Residential treatment usually lasts between 30 days to 90 days, with the 90-day option being the most effective and yielding the best outcomes for long-term recovery


After residential treatment, a client may choose to transition into outpatient treatment, which offers the flexibility of living at home or a sober living home while still participating in weekly therapies. This will equip the client with the mental and emotional tools necessary to fight relapse triggers when they appear in everyday life.Not only do treatment centers help get you off Adderall, but they also help teach you the skills needed to live a successful life of sobriety. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a special form of intense behavioral therapy, the Matrix Model, has been found particularly effective in treating stimulant addiction. This model helps to develop a close relationship between the client and therapist and includes:

  • Drug education
  • Family, group, and individual therapy sessions
  • Relapse prevention training
  • Urine tests to ensure abstinence
  • Self-help groups

Even after successfully completely inpatient or outpatient treatment, it’s important for the person to realize treatment is never completely over. They are encouraged to continue their road to recovery by attending 12-step programs, support groups, and even join a sober living facility as they transition back into the real world.

How Dangerous Is Adderall?

Adderall, an easily accessible drug, has gained notoriety as a highly addictive substance and can result in physical and psychological damage. 

It’s also fairly common to combine Adderall with other substances to enhance the effects of Adderall and aid in better sleep. Although mixing Adderall with other drugs can likely increase the risk of overdose and cardiac complications, people seeking a stronger effect often mix Adderall with alcohol, cocaine, and marijuana.

Adderall Abuse Statistics

  • About 6.4% of college students between ages 18-22 have reported to using Adderall recreationally, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
  • In 2012, 116,000-plus people were taken to rehab because of addiction to amphetamines like Adderall.
  • A report in 2016 shared that 63% of people between the ages of 18-28 get ADHD medication from their friends.

Your Recovery Journey Can Begin Today

Don’t let the pressures of your environment corner you into fighting a losing battle with Adderall addiction. Once you take a breath, you’ll see that help is available. Call Pathway to Hope today at 844-311-5781 or connect with us online to talk with an addiction specialist who can find you the help that is best suited to you or your loved one’s needs.


Legg, T, (September, 2017). Effects of Adderall on the Body. Healthline. Retrieved September, 2018 from

(n,d). Adderall IR vs. XR: What’s The Difference?. Mental Health. Retrieved September, 2018 from

NIDA. (2018, January 17). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition). Retrieved from

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