Getting Off Adderall
The medication Adderall is commonly used to treat the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). Adderall contains amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, both of which are stimulants of the central nervous system (CNS). It acts by increasing the supply of neurotransmitters that support concentration and the ability to focus. The side-effects of Adderall include loss of appetite along with elevated body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. The most recent records estimate that almost 5 million U.S. citizens are currently taking Adderall out of a total U.S. population of 323 million. While the drug does treat the symptoms of ADHD, long-term use has an effect on the brain. The first step in Adderall rehab is detoxification. Most experts say that getting off Adderall should be done by reducing use over time and, in more severe cases, under medical supervision. It would be helpful for the doctor to set up a schedule for weaning the patient off of Adderall over the space of a couple of weeks.
Symptoms of Adderall Dependence
Dependence means that the person will not do as well as they do when they have the drug. Tolerance is a normal part of dependence, meaning that the person will have to take increasing amounts of Adderall in order to achieve the desired effect. The person dependent on Adderall may crave the drug or be unable to stop using it. When dependence, craving, and tolerance develop, it is time for the person to start Adderall rehab. As a stimulant, Adderall often makes the user more alert and active.
Under a prescription, the drug is taken only in the amount determined by the doctor and in pill form. Many people who are not prescribed Adderall manage to get the drug from family members or friends. These recreational users may grind several pills into a powder which is then inhaled through the nose, meaning that a much larger amount is delivered almost immediately to the brain. Since Adderall is a stimulant, the rush from using the drug in this way is interpreted as a rush.
Adderall users may also experience these physical side-effects:
- Blurred vision
- Sleep problems (insomnia)
- Dry mouth or unpleasant taste in the mouth
- Stomach pain
- Hair loss
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Loss of interest in sex
- Increase blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Heart palpitations
Aside from the above physical side-effects of Adderall use, there are also some psychological side-effects:
Long-term use of Adderall or excessive use may lead to more severe symptoms:
- Pain during urination
- Strange behavior
- Panic attacks
- Heart disease
- Damage to the inside of the nose
- Skin inflammation
- Kidney damage
- Weight loss
The number and severity of these side-effects is dependent upon how long the person has been using Adderall and how much they have used. Of course, people who have taken more Adderall than they were prescribed or who use it in a way other than swallowing a pill are more likely to suffer from more serious side-effects.
Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms
Over time, the brain adapts to the effect of Adderall. Getting off Adderall produces both psychological and physical symptoms. The severity of these withdrawal symptoms varies depending on how dependent the person has become. The first step in Adderall rehab is detoxification. The common signs of Adderall withdrawal include both physical and psychological problems:
- Lack of ability to concentrate
- Lack of motivation
- Stomach aches or cramping
- Thoughts of suicide
- Unusual tiredness
Symptoms of withdrawal are generally found only in people who take more than is prescribed or who use Adderall in a manner other than swallowing a pill. Symptoms of withdrawal begin less than one day after the person stops using Adderall and may last days or even weeks. The Food and Drug Administration has not approved any drug to treat Adderall withdrawal. Considering the suffering that withdrawal can cause, a doctor’s supervision is a good idea. Once detox is completed, the next step in Adderall rehab is treatment to help the person learn how to live a sober life.
Rehab and Moving Forward
Adderall rehab can be helped by keeping busy in order to avoid thinking about drug cravings. It is also important to adopt a healthy lifestyle for meals and sleep. If nutritional supplements have been prescribed, they should be taken as directed. Participation in self-help groups can also be very helpful to people in Adderall rehab.
For the person who has chosen to begin Adderall rehab, counseling using behavioral treatment is helpful. In cases where there is some other mental health issue, that should also be addressed during treatment. Supportive family and friends can also be very helpful for the person involved in Adderall rehab. Learning the skills needed to remain Adderall-free can take place in both individual and group therapy. Aftercare or some other form of ongoing support are also important.
An important question here is how to treat symptoms of ADHD after having detoxed from Adderall. There are many habits the person may learn in order to manage their affliction without the use of drugs.
- Have a balanced breakfast.
- Learn positive self-talk skills
- Healthy exercise
- Use background music to focus and calm
- Take breaks during the day to move around
- Learn when you are most alert
- Consider biofeedback training
- Learn physical-relaxation techniques
- Channel creative energy into the arts
- Consider individual psychotherapy
- Learn and practice organizational skills
- Learn and practice focusing techniques
These habits can be easily learned and will help the person in Adderall rehab. The goal, of course, is to manage ADHD without the need for medication. While Adderall is used to treat the symptoms of ADHD, the purpose of these suggestions is for the person to learn to manage their condition without drugs. All in all, that’s a much better way to go, especially considering the fact that Adderall can create dependence and change the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain.
For the person dealing with ADHD, Adderall can be very helpful. As a stimulant, however, Adderall can be misused and abused. Long-term use of Adderall or using it in amounts and manners other than as prescribed results in dependence. Adderall rehab can begin with detox, but must be followed up with counseling and ongoing support. The adult who has committed to Adderall rehab can learn habits and skills to help them manage their ADHD without the use of drugs.
Additional References: WebMD, CCHR International, American Institute for Learning & Human Development