Adderall is an amphetamine drug, and while it is helpful for those who need it, addiction and dependence can happen quickly. Taking Adderall as prescribed can still lead to these issues once someone adapts to the drug and no longer feels the rush and productivity that happens when first starting it. Dependency, addiction, and serious withdrawal are a miserable process for an addict, and it can easily go unnoticed by loved ones.
What Does Adderall Do?
Doctors prescribe Adderall for focus and attention issues, impulsivity, as well as issues with staying awake. It comes in immediate-release and extended-release formulations. It produces euphoria and can treat depression that has been resistant to other treatments. Therapeutic doses are low, and at low levels, it increases memory retention, recall of information, and the ability to do things that would otherwise be boring.
How Does Adderall Work?
Amphetamine drugs work on dopamine receptors. This means that they alter your brain’s reward center. As a central nervous system stimulant, norepinephrine and dopamine receptors are sped up, and the drug literally speeds brain processing. Adderall has a longer half-life in your body, but larger doses don’t make its effect last longer. Someone taking 120mg will still only experience the sped-up effects for four to six hours. If you’ve wondered, “how does Adderall work?”, don’t think of the media portrayals.
What Does Adderall Do Long Term?
Long-term Adderall use is considered safe but only with the strict guidance of a doctor. Adderall has a long history of being studied in clinical trials. There are over 40 years of evidence supporting the safety of, but Adderall abuse still happens. Prescription medications that have such a deep history of being researched can prove to be addictive. Adderall benefits do include the safety aspect. Newer drugs, like Vyvanse, for the treatment of ADHD, do not have as much of a history.
The Benefits and Risks of Using Adderall
Other Adderall benefits include improved sleep-wake cycles for the treatment of narcolepsy. With help staying awake and focused, daytime sleepiness fades, and people are able to go to bed an appropriate time and refresh their sleep hygiene. Focus on tasks is the biggest benefit of taking this drug, and that’s exactly what leads to Adderall abuse.
Taking high doses and abusing pills often starts off as a fun once-in-awhile thing, and then Adderall addiction takes over. Adderall abuse is insidious at first. It starts with little bumps to keep the person engaged and awake. Focusing for the first time in a long time can have powerful effects. Suddenly you can read all of those backlogs of articles saved. You can focus on work, and your productivity goes through the roof. You feel almost invincible, clear, and even smarter.
With long-term Adderall use, that rush becomes less appealing. Those benefits become something your body is adapted to, so even though the drug continues to be effective, it doesn’t feel effective.
Signs of Adderall Addiction and Health Risks
Adderall addiction leads to impulsivity, psychosis, muscle breakdown, insomnia, and paranoia. There are countless side effects from abuse, but you may not notice your loved one is struggling until an episode of psychosis comes up, or they develop a serious heart problem. Adderall tolerance happens quickly. Someone can go from taking 15mg, which is a low and mild dose, to 30mg within a few weeks. Then 30mg isn’t enough, and an addict might jump to 60mg. Heavy users have an Adderall tolerance that pushes them to take as much as 125mg or more.
Long-term side effects of Adderall abuse are harrowing. Addicts lose their sense of self. Psychosis becomes a regular thing. Hostility and personality changes are inevitable, though some people can maintain a pleasant disposition. Suicide risk is increased. There are countless emotional, physical, and psychological effects of abusing amphetamines long term. Heart valve hardening and vein hardening can occur. Heart attacks can happen with stimulant abuse, even in younger people.
Not long after addiction develops, you may notice that your loved one no longer finds pleasure in the activities they used to enjoy. This is because their brain is now trained to respond only to the intensity offered by the drug. Without taking Adderall, they can’t focus on tasks or enjoy their hobbies. People struggle to break the cycle because of this reason. They desperately want to enjoy something or socialize, so they take another large dose.
Other long-term side effects of Adderall abuse aren’t physical, but the effects that impact their life. They may spend tons of money on acquiring the drugs because drugs obtained on the street have a much higher cost than a legitimate prescription. Impulsivity leads to excessive spending, partying, and reckless behavior. Families have been destroyed because of these long-term side effects of Adderall abuse.