Adderall Abuse & Addiction
Colorado has made national headlines because it’s one of the states that’s been at the forefront of the opioid epidemic, but this isn’t the only drug that is a common problem in the state. Adderall addiction is also an issue, particularly among younger people and in college towns like Boulder, as well as cities like Denver and Colorado Springs. Adderall abuse may not get as much attention as opioids because the use of opioids in Colorado and nationwide is at a crisis level, but it is a serious problem, especially among high school and college students, and young adults.
What is Adderall?
Adderall is a stimulant drug that’s available by prescription only and is intended to treat the symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD. It has been used rarely to treat sleep disorders and severe depression as well, but that’s pretty uncommon. Adderall stimulates the central nervous system, so as opposed to opioids which depress the CNS, it activates many functions of the body. When a physician prescribes Adderall it’s usually given at low doses initially, to try and avoid potentially adverse side effects and then the doctor may increase the dose if necessary.
While Adderall does have therapeutic benefits, it also has potentially negative side effects, and it’s commonly abused not only in Colorado but across the U.S. Adderall is a brand name drug, and it combines two separate stimulants which are amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. There are also extended release versions of the drug available, and the objective of a physician prescribing Adderall is to help the patient increase the length of their attention span and have more self-control.
The FDA initially approved the drug in 1960, but it wasn’t until relatively recently that it started to be very widely prescribed and subsequently abused. In fact, research shows that the number of medicines prescribed to children to treat ADHD increased 45 percent from 2002 to 2010, and of these, Adderall was the second most commonly prescribed. When someone takes Adderall, it increases the level of dopamine in their brain, providing a sense of stimulation. If someone has ADHD, it creates a sense of calm, but for people who don’t have ADHD, it creates more of a high. Along with taking the tablets orally, people who use Adderall to get high will crush the pills frequently and then snort them, or even dissolve them in water to inject them.
Using a stimulant like Adderall has the potential for abuse for many reasons. For example, students will often use the drug to help them stay awake longer and study or even to party for longer periods. They may also use it as a way to lose weight because it acts as an appetite suppressant. Adderall is one of the most common types of drugs found on college campuses in Colorado and across the U.S.
There are a number of side effects that can come from the use of Adderall, particularly for people who use it recreationally or take high doses. It can increase the risk of high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack. It can also increase the risk of certain mental health problems including depression and aggression. Ultimately the effects of Adderall on people without ADHD are very similar to cocaine.
Is Adderall Addictive?
A common question people have is whether or not Adderall is addictive, and while it may not be as addictive as opioids, research and anecdotal evidence show it can be habit-forming. First, like other drugs when you take Adderall it floods your brain with dopamine, which is what creates the euphoric feel-good high of the drug. This stimulates your brain’s reward system, and that’s what creates the disease of addiction in your brain. Your brain is wired to want to seek out things that bring pleasure over and over again, and Adderall can be that stimulus. In addition to the changes Adderall can make on your brain, you can also become psychologically addicted to the physical effects of Adderall such as feeling alert and productive, and able to work for long periods of time.
If you take Adderall for a period and you’re used to getting a lot of school or professional work completed, and then you try to function without it, you may feel like you’re not able to perform at the same level as you did with the drug. You may also feel like you’re suffering from a mental fogginess without Adderall and your normal levels of functionality decline without the presence of the drug.
Some of the signs that you may be addicted to Adderall include building a tolerance so that you need higher doses to get the same effects and continuing to take the drug despite negative consequences. You may feel like you’re unable to complete tasks without Adderall, you may spend a lot of money on it, and people who have an Adderall problem may also put it as a priority in their life.
Can You Become Addicted To Adderall?
So can you become addicted to Adderall? The answer is yes, it can be habit-forming, and it’s also a dangerous drug. There’s also the potential to develop a physical dependence to Adderall if you take it for a while, which means if you suddenly stop taking it you will go through withdrawal. There are resources throughout Colorado for people in Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs and throughout the state to get help for an Adderall addiction before it’s too late.
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