If you are thinking of addictive drugs, Adderall may not necessarily be at the top of your list.
But this prescription medication, which is used to treat ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) or narcolepsy (daytime drowsiness and sleep attacks), is a stimulant and can be addictive.
How Adderall was Developed
Adderall was developed in the late 1920s by Gordon Alles. An American chemist, he was looking for a way to treat asthma. Alles synthesized a substance that is related to adrenaline (the hormone naturally produced by the body when it is under stress). Scientists already knew that adrenaline helps bronchial tubes relax.
Alles created amphetamine in his laboratory. To test his discovery, he injected himself with the new drug. Alles noted that he experienced a “feeling of well-being” and that he didn’t sleep that night. By the next decade, the drug was being marketed under the name Benzedrine, and was being prescribed to increase energy and lift mood. It was used to treat depression and as a diet pill until the early 1970s, when its use became strictly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Two decades later, pharmaceutical executive Roger Griggs took the previous formula used for appetite suppression and renamed it Adderall. The new formulation was marketed to children and teens with ADHD. A timed-release formulation was also developed, which prolonged delivery of the medication and was supposed to be less addictive.
Adderall and College Students
In 2012, 16 million prescriptions for Adderall were written. It is widely used on college campuses. Some users have a legitimate prescription, while others get the medication from friends or buy it.
The drug is consumed as a means to stay awake when demands of school require long hours for study, research or writing essays. Adderall has the reputation of being a “super pill” that will improve a student’s performance on exams, but research doesn’t support this claim: While lower-performing people “may” improve after taking the drug, higher-performing ones either don’t improve or may even do worse.
How to Tell if a Loved One is Addicted to Adderall
Would you be able to tell if your loved one had developed an Adderall addiction? There are some signs and symptoms that point to a problem with this prescription medication.
Taking a Higher Dose than Prescribed
This is a red flag for any prescription medication. If you notice that your loved one seems to be “running out” of their medication more often than he or she should be, it’s a sign that something may be amiss.
Be suspicious of claims that the pharmacy “must have miscounted” the number of pills or that the prescription has become lost as reasons for needing an early refill. Pharmacies are very precise in their pill counts, and mistakes are unusual. Losing a prescription can happen, but if it occurs repeatedly it may be an excuse to cover up an increased number of pills being used.
Using Someone Else’s Prescription
There isn’t any legitimate reason for having someone else’s prescription among your loved one’s belongings. Taking someone else’s medication is unsafe, and sharing prescription drugs is illegal.
Taking the Drug for a Purpose Other Than for Which it was Prescribed
If your loved one has been prescribed Adderall and is using it to stay awake for long periods instead of keeping her ADHD under control, that could be a sign that she has crossed the line into an addiction.
Buying the Medication from Dealers
An addict will no longer be satisfied with the supply they can get through legitimate purposes. They will turn to dealers to buy product illicitly.
Snorting the Drug Rather than Taking it Orally
When someone starts using an alternative method to take a prescription medication, such as crushing and snorting it to feel the effects more quickly, it’s a sign they have become addicted.
User Experiences Withdrawal Symptoms if Regular Supply is Interrupted
An Adderall addict will experience withdrawal if they don’t continue taking the drug regularly. The signs of withdrawal include:
- Loss of Energy
Find Help for Adderall Addiction
Great Oaks Recovery Center can provide detoxification and residential treatment for clients who need drug addiction treatment. Each person admitted to the Center receives care focused on their specific needs and treatment goals.