WHAT A LIFETIME OF ADDERALL DOES TO YOUR BRAIN
Adderall is an extremely potent amphetamine-based drug primarily used for the treatment of ADHD. While Adderall is useful when used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan, however, many misuse the drug. Common examples include college-age students who take the drug to provide the focus they need to study longer. The drug is also popular among working professionals, athletes, and even those who struggle with eating disorders.
How Long-Term Adderall Use Impacts the Brain
A powerful stimulant, Adderall, significantly increases the activity and production of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. When abused over a long time, the abnormal spikes in the production of dopamine impact the reward center in the brain. Over time, Adderall takes over the production of dopamine, and the brain loses its ability to produce it on its’ own. This change becomes more profound as more Adderall is taken. As with any drug, users can develop a tolerance to Adderall and will need to take an increased dosage to feel the same desired effects.
When Adderall leaves the bloodstream, the user will start experiencing withdrawal symptoms and cravings for the drug. The way in which Adderall is used, the amount taken, and the duration of abuse can affect one’s dependence level. For example, injecting or snorting Adderall sends the drug into the brain more rapidly than if they were taken orally. Therefore, it is much more likely for someone to overdose on Adderall through injection or snorting the drug.
There are telltale signs that someone is dependent on Adderall. These include trouble sleeping, lack of concentration, lack of motivation, and feelings of depression. Additionally, those dependent on Adderall are more irritable, lethargic, or fatigued when the drug leaves the bloodstream. Adderall users may also have an increased tendency to display aggressive behaviors and have suicidal thoughts. The low and sometimes muted moods are highly attributable to the lack of natural dopamine produced by the brain.
Physical Side Effects
Stimulants like Adderall raise one’s body temperature as well as their heart rate and blood pressure. When Adderall is abused over prolonged periods of time, it increases the risk of strokes, seizures, and heart attacks. Adderall abusers also run an increased risk of hypertension, tachycardia, and cardiac arrest. Other physical side effects include the following:
- Heart disease
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss
- Heart palpitations
- Trouble breathing
- Constant jitters
There are other effects of Adderall abuse that are more frightening. There are some cases where Adderall misuse has been reported to cause psychosis and symptoms that mimic schizophrenia. These symptoms can include paranoid delusions, hallucinations, and similar disturbances of behavior or mood. Also, of note, Adderall misuse, and even withdrawal can produce anxiety and panic attacks. The psychological symptoms of Adderall abuse may be more with people who have a personal or family history of mental illness or an underlying mental health disorder such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
If you or a loved one is struggling with Adderall abuse, it is crucial that you get professional help right away. While it may be tempting to quit the drug cold turkey or try self-invented methods of quitting, they can do more harm than good. By undergoing treatment at a reputable drug treatment center, you will receive the tools and support you need to overcome Adderall addiction once and for all.
When you are looking for an Adderall treatment program, it must feature medical detoxification services. Detox will help minimize the discomfort and pain associated with withdrawal. During detox, you will receive a comprehensive medical and mental health screening to pinpoint underlying issues that may impact recovery. Once you are stabilized, you will enter intensive inpatient treatment.
While in treatment, you will undergo a combination of individual and group therapy, sober support group meetings, life and coping skills training, and other traditional and holistic therapies. Once you complete treatment, there are aftercare options that will help you gain extra tools and support, including intensive outpatient treatment and sober living. Don’t wait another day to address your Adderall addiction. Contact your local addiction professional or drug treatment center today.