College students across the U.S. can verify that Adderall addiction can sneak up on you. For while, this drug, a stimulant similar in composition to methamphetamine that is prescribed for treating ADHD and narcolepsy, may boost energy, focus, concentration, and stamina. Students often seek out Adderall in hopes of improving their ability to keep up with their course load and gut out all-nighters.
But there is an inevitable dark side to Adderall when misused for such off-label purposes. Ongoing use of the drug will eventually lead to the need for higher and higher dosing, as students continue to chase those initial effects. Unfortunately, what they may not understand is that their body and brain has adapted to the regular interaction with Adderall, altering brain pathways accordingly.
When adverse effects begin creeping in, the individual may realize they have acquired an Adderall dependency or addiction, and may desire to discontinue using the drug. Abruptly stopping the drug without support or monitoring can result in highly unpleasant Adderall withdrawal symptoms that can immediately lead the individual right back to the drug just to avoid the harsh symptoms.
By understanding what helps with Adderall withdrawal through a medically monitored detox program, the individual can safely rid their systems of the drug and begin the process of addiction recovery. Medical detox is always recommended for addiction to stimulants, as relapse is the number one reason why efforts to detox are abandoned.
About Adderall, Aka, the Study Drug
Many teens and young adults who misuse Adderall as a study drug may be under the misconception that a prescription drug like Adderall could not possibly be harmful. On the contrary, our nation is currently experiencing a crisis that is based upon prescription drugs that have wreaked havoc, and caused thousands of deaths, in recent years. Stimulants like Adderall may seem innocuous at first, but with continued misuse these drugs, such as Adderall, Concerta, and Ritalin, can have devastating effects, both psychologically and physically.
Adderall, the brand name for a combination of two medications, (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine) that is available in regular and extended release formulas. The drug has legitimate clinical properties for treating such conditions as ADHD and narcolepsy. Some of the side effects associated with Adderall include:
- Chest pain
- Respiratory distress
- Muscle twitches
- Vision changes
Because of the positive effects for someone using the drug as a tool to help with keeping up with academic pressures, Adderall is prone to abuse and addiction. In fact, according to an article published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, between 2006-2011 non-medical use of these stimulants increased 67% and emergency room admissions spiked 156% in this timespan.
What To Anticipate in Adderall Detoxification
Adderall detox and withdrawal will be influenced by various factors. These include the level of consumption of the Adderall on a daily basis, how long the individual has been misusing Adderall, and whether there are any co-occurring mental health issues. In general, Adderall detox can last anywhere from 5 days to three weeks, depending on those factors.
Adderall detox should be managed by a professional medically supervised detox center. An attending physician will design a tapering schedule for the incremental weaning of the person off the drug. This helps substantially reduce withdrawal symptom severity while also providing the psychological and medical interventions. During a medical detox, individuals should expect to have a detox team carefully monitoring vital signs and symptoms throughout the detox process.
What Helps With Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms
The main purpose of obtaining a medical detox is to avoid the crash that can occur if someone stops taking Adderall cold turkey. By slowly reducing the amount of the drug until no more Adderall is ingested, the individual has a better chance of sticking out the detox process so they can begin treatment for the addiction.
Adderall withdrawal symptoms include:
- Extreme hunger
- Mental fog
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Suicidal thoughts
Withdrawal symptoms will begin within 12 hours of the last Adderall dose. During the initial stage of detox, lasting 1-2 days, symptoms will be fairly mild. Symptoms will peak on days 2-3 before beginning to subside. Days 4-7 see the physical symptoms slowly decline, but psychological symptoms, such as panic attacks, anxiety, and irritability continue. Week two, even thought the detox has been completed, cravings may still be an issue, posing a relapse threat, which is why having a supportive team that knows what helps with Adderall withdrawal is so critical.
Transitioning to Adderall Addiction Treatment
Continuing the successful completion of detox introduces the next phase of treatment in the recovery process. Without facing and changing the now ingrained addiction habits and behaviors will lead to a swift relapse. Adderall addiction cannot be overcome without addressing the thought distortions that have resulted in the drug-seeking behaviors. The shift in these thought/behavior patterns toward healthier ones is essential in recovery.
While in treatment the individual will learn an array of recovery techniques and skills that will help them on a day-by-day process to forge ahead without the need for Adderall. Cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy are two evidence-based therapies that are excellent short-term therapies for treating Adderall addiction. Coupled with the 12-step program and adjunctive therapies, such as applying attachment theory and accessing holistic relaxation methods, treatment for Adderall addiction is rounded out.
Phoenix Rising Behavioral Intensive Outpatient Program Orange County
Phoenix Rising Behavioral has an expert clinical team that knows what helps with Adderall withdrawal and will refer clients to a local medically supervised detox program prior to beginning treatment. Detox is the first required step of recovery, allowing the body to purge the remnants of the drug, as well as to become stabilized. This allows clients to enter rehab with a clear head, helping them achieve the most out of the program. Adderall addiction can be overcome with the guidance of a skilled recovery team. For more information, please contact Phoenix Rising Behavioral today at (877) 299-5694.