how long does it take to get addicted to adderall

How Long Does it Take to Get Addicted to Adderall?

February 22, 2017
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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.