Adderall Abuse in College Students

College is a stressful, busy, and exciting time for students. Students may find it challenging to balance all their studies, and adding in work or family commitments can significantly add to their workload. Early morning classes and late nights studying can lead to fatigue and overwhelm. Stressed out and tired college students may be tempted to look for help from legal and illegal substances to stay focused and motivated in school. But while drugs may offer temporary assistance, young people can quickly find themselves addicted, sick, and dropped out of college.

What is Adderall?

Adderall is a prescription medication that is used to treat children, teens, and adults with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Sometimes the drug is also prescribed for narcolepsy. Medications like Adderall help people with ADHD focus, and people with narcolepsy can stay awake. Taking too much Adderall, or taking Adderall without a prescription has similar effects on their body as amphetamines.

Taking Adderall as prescribed will not make someone addicted to the drug. Prescribed doses of Adderall are safe and incredibly effective at alleviating the symptoms of ADHD. But Adderall is often used recreationally, and college students are some of the people most at-risk of abusing Adderall. They usually get the drugs from a friend on campus who has a legal prescription for ADHD. People with prescriptions may even sell their pills to friends. When someone abuses prescription Adderall, they will become incredibly focused, alert, and energized.

Adderall Abuse in College Students

Why do college students abuse Adderall?

People between the ages of 18 and 25 are the most likely to abuse prescription Adderall and account for 60% of all abuse and addiction cases. They use the drug to remain focused and awake in school. High-achievers may feel that Adderall gives them an edge and can help them maintain their grades. Unfortunately, Adderall abuse can cause significant health problems, including:

  • Sleep issues
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke

Teens and young adults who are at risk of severe mental health disorders can also trigger episodes of bipolar disorder, depression, and hostility if they abuse Adderall. Long-term effects of Adderall use, even legal and prescribed methods, do come with some risk of cardiovascular disturbances. In 2006, the FDA put a black box label on the drug to warn people about these risks. But for people with ADHD and debilitating narcolepsy, Adderall is a godsend.

How is Adderall abused?

Anytime a prescription drug is taken in doses that weren’t prescribed, mixed with other medications, or taken by someone without a prescription, is the definition of abuse. People who abuse Adderall may ingest tablets orally, or crush the tables and snort them.

What are the signs and symptoms of Adderall abuse?

When someone abuses Adderall, they can quickly develop a tolerance for the drug and become addicted. There are emotional, physical, and behavioral signs that can indicate Adderall abuse. For example, a person with an addiction to the drug may “doctor shop,” or make a habit of losing prescriptions when they are taking far more of their medication than is prescribed. People who are addicted may also steal a friend or family member’s prescription. Even teenagers and young adults are the most likely to abuse the drug, a person of any age can become addicted to prescription Adderall. The most common signs and symptoms of Adderall abuse and addiction include the following:

  • Increased talkativeness, or uncharacteristic sociability.
  • Intense feelings of well-being, euphoria, or invincibility
  • Stomach pains, nausea, and vomiting
  • Increased agitation or nervousness
  • Powder residue around the nose or mouth
  • Numerous Adderall prescription pill bottles hidden in strange places.
  • Secretiveness or paranoia
  • Dry mouth
  • Cravings to use the drug
  • Fearful of running out of a supply of Adderall

Abusing Adderall can cause a person to develop a tolerance to the drug quickly, and they will need more and more Adderall to get the same desired effect. Unless a person receives outside help or intervention for their addiction, they can experience health problems related to abuse, and when they stop taking the drug, they will experience withdrawal symptoms.

What are Adderall withdrawal symptoms?

When someone who is addicted to Adderall stops taking the drug, they will experience painful withdrawal symptoms that are sometimes referred to as a “crash.” The Adderall crash typically involves insomnia, fatigue, anxiety, agitation, confusion, trouble concentrating, and depression. The physical symptoms of Adderall usually subside within a week, while emotional issues such as depression or anxiety can last for months after abuse. It’s imperative that people in recovery for Adderall addiction have an integrated aftercare plan put in place to help them cope with depression and anxiety symptoms. Left untreated, depression and anxiety can increase a person’s risk of turning to other drugs or alcohol to cope.

How dangerous is Adderall abuse?

Adderall abuse can lead to many long-term health consequences and also increase a person’s risk of fatally overdosing on the drug.

What can be done to treat Adderall abuse and addiction?

Adderall addiction is dangerous, and the withdrawals can be painful, but there is hope for people who are suffering from addiction. Attending a medical detox and rehab facility can give patients the tools they need to wean off the drug safely. In a detox and rehab facility, experienced clinicians are available 24/7, and can prescribe a tapering-off schedule for the drug, so withdrawal symptoms are as intense. For college students who need to stay in school, attending outpatient rehab services can help them maintain their class schedule while also attending crucial drug rehabilitation therapy.

Patients are also given access to mental health services to address anxiety disorders or depression that can happen during the Adderall withdrawal timeline. After detox, a patient’s medical care team will create a customized aftercare treatment plan to ensure that patients are given the tools they need to avoid a relapse into drug addiction.

Are you struggling with Adderall addiction? You’re not alone. The caring drug addiction specialists at Mission Harbor have helped hundreds of people overcome their addiction to prescription Adderall. Please contact the representatives at Mission Harbor Behavioral Health to explore your options for addiction treatment and therapy.

The facilities at Mission Harbor are staffed with trained experts to best assist patients with their mental health issues. We are capable of dealing with any and all cases with a licensed staff, equipment, and approved techniques. Our mission is to help those who want to help themselves, and we support your decision in seeking help.

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