Adderall Addiction Signs, Causes, and Treatment

Adderall addiction is common, and sometimes easy to miss. Since Adderall is a stimulant, most people don’t show telltale signs of being high when they’re using the drug. People usually recognize a high state of mind as slurred speech, impaired coordination, randomly falling asleep. They don’t associate highness with an abundance of energy or increased productivity, which is exactly how Adderall addiction may appear from the outside. 

If you believe that you or someone you know may be addicted to Adderall, recognizing the signs and symptoms may be a little tricky. It’s important to be informed about Adderall addiction so that the individual impacted, whether it be you or someone you know, can receive the necessary treatment for recovery from that addiction.

What is Adderall?

Adderall is a stimulant drug, and it’s alarmingly similar to methamphetamine. Just like opioid drugs mimic the way that heroin works, Adderall mimics the way that methamphetamine works. 

Adderall is an amphetamine/dextroamphetamine drug that changes the way the neurotransmitters of the brain respond to stimulation and produce stimulant chemicals, like adrenaline. 

Adderall is often used to treat conditions like narcolepsy, where a perpetual lack of stimulant chemicals leads someone to fall asleep beyond their control. It’s also used to regulate misfires of chemicals in the brain, like in patients with ADHD who have trouble maintaining focus for long enough to complete important tasks. 

People with neither narcolepsy nor ADHD will not experience a rebalancing of chemicals when they take Adderall. Instead, they’ll experience a surge of chemicals that feels like a euphoric high. It’s the same kind of high people experience when they take methamphetamine. It’s similar to the feeling you might experience right before a roller coaster drops into a deep plunge, but that feeling is perpetual.

Is Adderall Dangerous?

Adderall is not dangerous to the people it is prescribed to, provided they’re taking the minimum recommended dose and only using the medication as prescribed. These people have a need for additional stimulant chemicals or the regulation of the stimulant chemicals they naturally produce.

If your neurotransmitters are in proper working order and you take Adderall, you can be putting yourself in serious danger. Cardiovascular events, including death, have been linked to the abuse or misuse of Adderall. Your heart rate can speed up uncontrollably and fail to regulate itself, leading to your death. 

What is Adderall Addiction Like?

Adderall addiction usually manifests itself in several ways. The biggest indicator is the constant preoccupation with thoughts about finding, buying, or taking Adderall. 

Many people who take excessive amounts of Adderall experience unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, excessive sleeping when they run out of Adderall, or overworking or overexercising to “burn off” the energy they get from the drug. 

Over time, addicts might need larger doses of Adderall to achieve the same effect. They may even want to stop using Adderall, but find themselves unable to function without it. 

It’s not uncommon for an Adderall addict to spend large sums of money and large amounts of time finding Adderall to use, and they may put off important life events because they’re worried they won’t be able to get through them without Adderall. 

How Do People Become Addicted to Adderall?

People become addicted to Adderall because they like to feel the adrenaline rush. Adderall is often used as a party drug, similar to cocaine. It keeps people energized and helps them stay awake all night, when what their body desperately needs is deep restorative sleep that it’s not getting. 

Some people don’t intend to become addicted to Adderall, but begin using it unprescribed for off label purposes. People might use Adderall to help them lose weight to perform better at work on less sleep. These people think that Adderall is an alternative solution to common problems or a shortcut to help them reach their goals earlier. 

They know what it does and they assume that it’s safe, since it isn’t a street drug. 

People who manage to abuse Adderall without any deadly adverse side effects find themselves becoming addicted to it. It changes the way their brain works, and they develop a tolerance for the drug. 

When they’re out of Adderall, they may feel profoundly listless and sleepy. Their brain has stopped creating and regulating the chemicals that Adderall supersedes, and they often feel like they can’t do anything without the drug.

Who is Most At Risk for Adderall Addiction?

People who take Adderall as prescribed are not considered Adderall addicted, but Adderall dependent. Adderall dependency is an expected side effect of the drug. When there’s something wrong with the way chemicals are transmitted throughout the brain and Adderall helps to correct that problem, the person is dependent on Adderall for their wellness.

It may be possible for those people to stop taking the drug with the help of their physician and a series of lowered dosages to help them find a new homeostasis, but these people should not stop taking the drug cold turkey. 

They only need to stop as a matter of personal choice, as there is no danger using Adderall as directed when it’s prescribed by a medical professional and the patient is regularly attending appointments with that doctor.

Anyone who uses Adderall regularly without a medical need for the drug can develop an Adderall addiction. 

Since the medication is used to treat ADHD, it often makes its way to high schools and college campuses. Young people are the most likely to receive and take treatment for ADHD, and they may abuse the medication with their friends. 

Does Stopping Adderall Cause Withdrawal Symptoms?

Stopping Adderall may cause withdrawal symptoms in some patients. These symptoms tend to be significantly more mild than symptoms from opioid or alcohol withdrawal. Some people report feeling nauseous or having an upset stomach when they stop taking Adderall. Others report an extreme fatigue, as they’ve impaired their brains’ product of chemicals that would ordinarily keep them alert. 

Patients detoxing from Adderall often compare the feeling to a hangover. If you’ve had a rough day after drinking too much the night before, you already have an idea of what Adderall withdrawal may feel like.

Usually, Adderall withdrawal symptoms resolve themselves in less than 72 hours. Most patients report feeling back to normal in a day or two after stopping the medication. However, psychological effects may persist.

The treatment for Adderall addiction primarily focuses on the psychological side effects of stopping the drug, identifying the causes for why the drug was taken in the first place, and replacing Adderall use with healthy habits and better life practices. 

Treating Adderall Addiction

Adderall withdrawal is a relatively simple process that’s over with quickly. It doesn’t have the extended dangers that opioid withdrawal or alcohol withdrawal usually has. 

If you’re nervous about pursuing treatment because you fear Adderall withdrawal, it’s unlikely that it will physically be the worst experience of your life. It’s similar to the flu and it doesn’t last very long. 

Treatment for Adderall addiction is primarily therapy. You’ll speak with a therapist about your Adderall habit and why you feel as though you need the drug. Some people live high stress lives and lean on Adderall to help them pull all nighters. Other people take the drug to lose weight. Some use it to improve their athletic skill. 

Identifying the reason is the most important step in creating a healthy alternative. 

Learning New Strategies for Continued Success

Your therapist can help you find a healthy way to achieve your goals without the use of Adderall. Despite what many Adderall addicts may believe, the Adderall isn’t actually making them better at anything. It’s only infusing them with the energy they need to spend more time and attention on the task at hand. 

If your goal is to graduate with excellent grades, your therapist will help you create better strategies for studying and learning

If you want to be a better athlete, you’ll come up with a personal schedule that allows you to devote ample time to training. 

If you use Adderall to stay awake, your therapist will likely recommend that you sleep normally and learn to prioritize your tasks for the morning. Nobody can go without sleep, and there isn’t a healthy way to procrastinate a process the body requires for health and healing.

No matter your reasons or goals, your therapist will be able to help you create a roadmap to achieving those goals the natural way. You don’t need Adderall to be the best version of yourself. Just a little patience and a better schedule.


If you believe you may have an Adderall addiction, the best time to seek help is right now. The longer you procrastinate, the further away you’ll be from a healthy and drug free life. 

Reclaim your time, your money, and your ability to experience the world through a lens not altered by drugs. Addiction treatment can completely change a life if it’s just given a chance.  


Alcoholism Self Assessment Checklist

There’s alcohol everywhere you go. You can even order it for delivery through courier apps. It’s not illegal to purchase for people over the age of 21, and you can use it in legal establishments open to the public. Alcohol is often regarded as a normal American pastime, and its use is celebrated throughout pop culture. The aura around drinking would almost imply that it’s perfectly safe, if not at least a good thing to do.

This free and open attitude toward alcohol makes it easy to turn the average person into an alcoholic. Someone who abuses alcohol may never abuse drugs. They might hate the idea of cigarette smoking. Alcohol is an atypical drug, and the addiction to it can catch many people by surprise.

If you’re worried that your relationship with alcohol is becoming problematic, it may be time to assess your relationship with drinking and consider some actionable steps to reduce your alcohol consumption or seek help to safely detox from alcohol.

Drinking Too Much

Many people with alcohol use disorder don’t feel as though they’re drinking too much. Some people can still function, even after they’ve exceeded the recommended limits for alcohol consumption. The heavy use limits are defined as more than 3 alcoholic drinks per day for a woman, or more than 4 alcoholic drinks per day for a man. 

People with alcohol use disorders typically exceed these minimums. You may also be drinking too much if you drink less than the amount, but drink every single day. There is no safe or healthy amount of alcohol to consume. 

Drinking Too Frequently

Some people like to have a glass of wine with dinner, and they’ll do so every night. This is considered frequent drinking, but if you’re only having one drink, you’re likely not reaching the point of intoxication.

If you have multiple alcoholic drinks most days of the week, you’re drinking too frequently. Even if you take a day off here or there, you’re still consuming more alcohol than your body can fully recover from. You might notice that the days you don’t drink, you still want to. You have an urge to consume alcohol every day, and you sorely miss it when it’s not a part of your routine.

The Temptation To Drink at Inappropriate Times

The case can easily be made that after someone is done with work and their household chores, everything else is free time. If they want to have a drink, the best time to do so is when it’s not at the expense of an important responsibility. People with alcohol use disorders tend to lose sight of this priority system.

If you feel tempted to drink while you’re on the clock at work or at any time that may interfere with your personal responsibilities, you’re drinking at an inappropriate time. Even if you drink a minimal amount and are able to complete important tasks, you should still have no problem abstaining from alcohol until after the days’ work is done. 

Losing Time or Blacking Out

If you drink alcohol faster than your body can process it, there are a number of critically important internal processes that can severely malfunction. One of which is your ability to convert short term memory into long term memory. If you drink without restraint, you can be up and walking around. You can talk to people, eat dinner, pay your tab, and leave the bar. 

Then you can wake up and not know how you got home, or even where you are. You only had enough of a working memory to create a single task at a time. When you were done, your brain stored no record of the tasks you completed or how you completed them. This is a highly dangerous situation.

You might wake up disoriented in a strange place. You can lose your personal belongings. You can harm yourself or someone else. You might have understood why you made the decisions you made in the moment, but without any long term memory to recollect them, you may never understand what you were up to. 

Engaging in Reckless Behavior

People with alcohol use disorder are accustomed to being intoxicated, which may give them a false sense of confidence. You might feel like you’re a professional at handling your alcohol, so you decide to drive your car. The problem is that everyone is a horrible and dangerous drunk driver, whether or not they believe it. 

Alcohol puts you in a state of mind where you’re less likely to fear the consequences of your actions, and as a result, you might make reckless choices without a second thought.

You might cave into whims other than driving that can come with very serious consequences. Vandalizing a building or car, engaging in unprotected sex when you aren’t deliberately trying to conceive a child, getting into a physical alteraction with someone who makes you angry, or making aggressive unwanted advances at someone are all things that polite society doesn’t condone. 

When you’re drunk all the time, you may not see the inherent dangers or potential consequences of following bad impulses. 

Feeling Sick When You Don’t Drink

If you begin to feel shaky, feverish, or otherwise ill when you haven’t had a drink in 8 to 12 hours, this is a sign that you’ve developed a physical dependence on alcohol. These signs are different from a hangover. If your symptoms go away with a cup of coffee, a lot of water, some electrolytes and a big meal, they aren’t withdrawal symptoms. 

If the symptoms persist or worsen no matter what you do, to the point where you feel as though you have no other choice but to drink, this is indicative of alcohol dependence that develops from alcohol use disorder.

People React With Concern

When other people tell you how to live your life, it can feel invasive. You don’t want people prying into your business or speculating that you have a problem. You certainly don’t want them telling you what to do about it, especially if you haven’t asked anyone for help or advice. 

People with alcohol use disorder often hear from their friends and family that they’re drinking a little too much. They often react to this concern by immediately becoming defensive and offended, because the implication is that they are in some way incompetent. 

The truth is that people wouldn’t be telling you to stop drinking if they didn’t love you or care about you. They’re telling you because they would be devastated to wake up one morning to a world you were no longer in. They’re scared, and they’re trying their best to encourage you to get help because you mean so much to them. 

Getting Help

If you’re beginning to realize that your relationship with alcohol has elevated from innocuous to insidious, it’s time to get help. You might feel as though you have the willpower and determination to do it alone, and you may very well be ready enough to make that change. 

The only problem is that detoxing from alcohol without a professional can be extremely dangerous. Although it is rare, alcohol withdrawal can have fatal consequences if not properly monitored. 

Detoxing From Alcohol

Alcohol severely suppresses the brain’s neurotransmitters. They work hard to maintain normal levels of the chemicals needed for survival when alcohol constantly deadens them. When alcohol is removed from the equation, the neurotransmitters begin scrambling. They release too much of certain hormones and endorphins, and they’ll take a while to normalize hormone production. 

When this surge of chemicals begins to flood the body, the side effects can be intense. In some cases, patients experience seizures from the imbalanced chemicals in their brains. Rapid heartbeat, vomiting, nausea, anxiety, and even hallucinations can occur. This situation requires constant medical monitoring for the safety of the patient. It’s best to seek inpatient detoxification treatment to minimize the risks associated with alcohol withdrawal.

The Recovery Treatment Process

Detoxing from alcohol is merely one facet of a much larger process. Removing all the alcohol from the body and reversing some of its impact is a great first step, but it’s not the end of the line. People with alcohol use disorder need to unearth the cause of their unhealthy habits and come up with healthier habits or coping mechanisms to prevent them from turning back to alcohol. 

In alcohol rehab, you’ll speak with a therapist who specializes in addiction. He or she will use a combination of individual therapy and group therapy to help you understand your behavior patterns and acknowledge problematic actions that keep you from being healthy. You can work together to develop a long term plan for your life without alcohol. 


If you’re uncomfortable with the amount you’re drinking or if you feel as though your drinking habit has gotten out of control, it’s best to act immediately. 

The first step is speaking with a certified rehabilitation facility to determine whether or not you’ll need medically supervised detox. The next step is facilitating a long term recovery plan to help you maintain your sobriety once you’ve gotten well. 

The sooner you act, the better off you’ll be.