How Long Does it Take to Get Addicted to Adderall?

Adderall, also referred to as “Addy,” has become a popular—although illicit—study drug, nearly as common on campuses as energy drinks and coffee in boosting concentration among students. The resulting hike in energy and concentration has led about 20 percent of healthy, college-aged students to abuse the drug for enhancing academic performance the way an athlete may use steroids to increase athletic performance. Both, however, can result in serious health consequences.

 

About Adderall

Adderall is a stimulant containing amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, often prescribed to help those legitimately diagnosed with ADHD increase their focus, attention and memory functions. Unfortunately, Adderall has become one of the most abused prescription drugs, with 2.5 million young adults aged 18-25 having abused the drug in 2015, according to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Young people are finding it doesn’t take long to get addicted to Adderall. The drug’s initial appeal to enable long periods of focused attention soon leads to increased tolerance and eventual dependency.

Adderall is obtained for recreational use in various ways. Some teens and young adults will fake symptoms of ADHD to garner a prescription from a physician. Others may purchase the pills from the Internet, while some buy the drug from a fellow student. Social media, especially Twitter, has a very active “Addy” user base, where upwards of 10,000 tweets related to Adderall or Addy can amass in a matter of days. On Twitter, students openly shop for sources of the drug, boast about their Adderall high and how much homework they blew through, or post photos where their coffee cup and laptop accompany a displayed Adderall pill.

The most common method of taking Adderall is to swallow the tablet or capsule orally. However, as Adderall evolved into a drug of abuse, other methods of ingesting the drug are now utilized. These include parachuting, which involves crushing the pills into a powder and then eating it; crushing the pill and then sniffing it through the nose or smoking it; and plugging, which is a rectal delivery.

 

How Long Does it Take to Become Addicted to Adderall?

Because Adderall is a prescription medication it is erroneously considered to be safe. In fact, Adderall is a Schedule II drug in the same classification as cocaine, morphine, and methamphetamine, meaning they have a high potential for abuse. How long does it take to become addicted to Adderall? In a similar manner to cocaine or meth, it can take as little as two weeks to become addicted to Adderall. The addiction will quickly sneak up on the recreational user as the brain develops tolerance.

During this early phase, the brain continuously increases dopamine levels in the brain. The production of dopamine triggers the “feel good” sensation, or rewarding effect, causing the user to desire the sensation again and again. Meanwhile, more of the drug is required to continue to achieve the desired effect, leading to Adderall dependency in short order.

 

Symptoms of Adderall Addiction

Signs of a possible Adderall addiction are basically the same as other drug addictions. The user will be obsessed with obtaining more of the drug, may engage in theft or other illegal acts in an effort to get the Adderall, may spend a lot of money on the drug, will notice they require more of the drug to achieve the same high, and being unable to discontinue use of the drug even though they are fully aware the drug is harming them.

Weight loss, being unusually talkative, displaying aggressive behavior, and financial problems can signal signs that someone is abusing the drug. These signs should be taken seriously, as it doesn’t take long to get addicted to Adderall. The first physical signs of Adderall dependency are experienced when the user misses a dose and withdrawal symptoms emerge. These symptoms are generally the same as cocaine addiction and include:

  • Foggy thinking
  • Unable to complete their work without the drug
  • Depression
  • Agitation
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Restlessness
  • Headaches
  • Paranoia
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Nausea
  • Hallucinations

Serious health consequences attributed to Adderall addiction include cardiovascular problems, stroke, and increased blood pressure—all which may result in death.

 

Launch Centers can Help Young Adults with an Adderall Addiction

Located in Los Angeles, California, Launch Centers can provide the supportive environment needed to help a young person recover from Adderall dependency. The program is designed to each individual client’s needs, with an emphasis on creating a blueprint for reaching life goals. For more information about how the program can help young adults recover from Adderall addiction please call us today at (310) 779-4476.

Recent Statistics on Drug Abuse Among College Students

When it comes to drug abuse among college students, the old saw “The more things change the more they stay the same” comes to mind.  While the popularity for the various recreational substances shifts over time, the propensity for this age group to use and abuse drugs and alcohol remains constant.

College students often use substances to help manage the demanding rigors of higher education.  They may use marijuana and alcohol to help them relax and Adderall to help increase concentration and productivity.  Additionally, the college party scene can introduce students to dangers and highly addictive illicit drugs such as cocaine, opioids, and opiates.

Alcohol Remains a Fixture at College Campuses

Alcohol has never lost its appeal among college kids.  Drinking games that can lead to dangerous binge drinking practices are a staple at most college parties, both on and off campus.  In fact, according to statistics published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, heavy alcohol use is actually higher among college students versus their non-college peers.  

Data collected in the 2015 Monitoring the Future survey show that while 24.9% of young adults who do not attend college have been intoxicated in the last month, 38.4% of college students report being drunk in the last month.  Similar results demonstrate that 31.9% of the college students surveyed reported participating in binge drinking in the past two weeks, versus only 23.7% of non-college attending young adults.

Marijuana Use Continues to Escalate

When it comes to drug abuse among college students, marijuana reigns as the drug of choice.  In fact, daily marijuana use among college students in the U.S. is now at the highest level since 1980.  The increase may be attributed to the growing belief in recent years that regular marijuana use is not harmful or dangerous.  In 2006, 55% college-aged respondents in the Monitoring the Future survey considered marijuana use as dangerous, where in the same survey in 2014 only 35% considered it dangerous.  In fact, the 2014 Monitoring the Future survey reported that daily marijuana use surpassed daily cigarette smoking for the first time.

The upward trend for smoking marijuana in college appears to follow the level of use of marijuana among high school seniors.  According to Lloyd Johnston, the principal investigator of the study, “It’s clear that for the past seven or eight years there has been an increase in marijuana use among the nation’s college students, and this largely parallels an increase we have been seeing among high school seniors.” 

Prescription “Study Drugs” Abused at College Campuses

Not all drug abuse among college students involves illicit substances.  Amphetamines in the ADHD category, such as Adderall, Ritalin, and Vyvanse, have become de rigueur at college campuses right alongside energy drinks and Starbucks confections.  While these drugs may be legitimately prescribed for people struggling with the symptoms of ADHD, many healthy college students abuse the prescription stimulants to enhance their ability to study for long hours and produce prolific quantities of schoolwork.  

College students may be deluding themselves with the mistaken belief that drugs like Adderall (aka “Addy”) are harmless.  On the contrary, the short-term effects include elevated blood pressure, disrupted heart rhythm, weight loss, irritability, insomnia, and headaches.  The long-term effects mimic those of regular cocaine use, including paranoia, depression, anxiety, cardiovascular problems, and stroke.

Launch Centers Provides Help for College Students

As a response to the high rate of drug abuse among college students, Launch Centers has created a unique program to help redirect these young adults.  Offering a comprehensive approach that tailors the program for each individual college student, Launch Centers provides the help they need to create a blueprint for their future.  Assisting the students in setting life-goals and objectives, our counseling team provides the structure and support needed while simultaneously encouraging autonomy and accountability.  For more information about our program, please call us today at (310) 779-4476.

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Breaking the Cycle of Addiction for Young Adults

6 Useful Tips for Shoring up Recovery After Addiction Treatment

Breaking the Cycle of Addiction for Young Adults

One might mistakenly believe that once a young person has experienced the ugly realities of drug or alcohol addiction and has overcome it in treatment, he or she is now good to go.  What a shock to the system it is when almost immediately upon discharge from the program an overwhelming urge to go out and use again threatens to undo all that effort and work.  Breaking the cycle of addiction is not for the feint of heart.  It requires resolve, tools, and aftercare support to achieve lifelong sobriety.

Parents and loved ones of the addict are confounded by what seems like a revolving door of addiction.  Without understanding the essence of how addiction manifests in the brain, family members may naively tell the young person to just will him or herself to never use the substance again.  This simplistic advice does not take into account that the addiction can wipe out the will entirely, rendering the addict powerless in an instant.  So, with this reality in mind finding effective relapse prevention tools and adopting new, healthy habits and behaviors is a more productive response in recovery.

  1. Continue on with outpatient care.  After spending 30, 60, or 90 days in a rehab program the thought of sitting in another group therapy session might be the last thing you want to do.  But realize that being new in recovery means there is vulnerability to relapse.  By seeing a therapist or joining a group session weekly you receive ongoing support in addition to being accountable for your recovery.  Because many addicts also present with co-occurring conditions such as anxiety and depression, it is important to receive mental health care after addiction treatment.
  2. Have a detailed relapse prevention plan.  While in rehab the you were counseled on ways to avoid the cycle of addiction, and a relapse plan was created.  If the plan is not very well thought out—where all potential triggers are considered and planned for—there will not be a solid blueprint for avoiding relapse.  No stone must be left unturned.  Even considering the arrangement of the furniture in your apartment or bedroom or the people that might cue a temptation to use just by looking at them—all must be planned for.
  3. Understand the internal triggers, too.  Just as potent as external triggers are the internal ones an addict carries around.  Drugs and alcohol are often used to self-medicate deep hurts or trauma that have damaged self-worth.  If addiction has caused (or was caused by) a job loss, being kicked out of school, loss of a romantic partner, or loss of people’s trust, any setback post treatment can trigger these feelings of low self-worth that then may lead to relapse.  Being equipped to recognize that a setback does not define your value as a human being is key in warding off potential relapse.
  4. Participate in a 12-step or non 12-step program.  Having the support of people who are also in recovery is key in breaking the cycle of addiction.  No matter which type of group you decide is a match for you, they all offer incremental steps and goals that provide a road map to lifelong sobriety.  Partnering with a mentor or a sponsor enhances the program and creates accountability to another person.  New friendships with sober men and women offer an alternative to the people in your life that you associate with using.
  5. Define your purpose.  With sobriety comes the pain of facing the future without drugs or alcohol to take the edge off the fear you are feeling.  Often someone new in recovery feels flat and aimless, with no purpose in life.  Be on the offensive and jot down a few goals you hope to accomplish, including the steps to take to accomplish them, and a new sense of purpose will emerge—and with it, joy.  The sense of accomplishment you will feel as you take the steps of re-creating your life with newfound purpose will propel you to stay clean and sober and break the cycle of addiction.
  6. Get healthy, both physically and mentally.  Health and wellness go hand-in-hand.  Junk food, caffeinated beverages, and sugar only exacerbate the mood swings and poor health that accompanied addiction.  Commit yourself to a clean, healthy diet rich in whole fibers, lean proteins, fresh fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds to restore your body and feel your brain as it heals.  Add at least 3 or 4 workouts per week to build a stronger body and improve overall body functioning.

Launch Centers Can Help You Break the Cycle of Addiction
Conveniently located in West Los Angeles, Launch Centers offers the support a young adult needs after addiction treatment.  With a focus on goal-setting, job placement, life skills, and higher education, Launch Centers provides the mentorship so needed in the vulnerable period following treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction.  For more information about the programs, call us today at (877) 895-3231.