Does Adderall Cause Psychosis?

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Adderall is a prescription drug used primarily in the treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. It also helps people who suffer from a sleep disorder called narcolepsy. Adderall is prescribed in two forms: immediate-release and extended-release. A generic version may be prescribed. The medication is taken orally in pill form. Unfortunately, the misuse of this medication can lead to a dangerous effect known as Adderall psychosis.

Adderall addiction presents a real problem for a variety of reasons. Many people without prescriptions for the medication use it for results not intended by the makers. Some use Adderall recreationally as a party drug, to increase energy for school work, to enhance athletic performance, or as a weight-loss stimulant.

A link between Adderall and psychosis has been established. Adderall psychosis can happen while using the medication as prescribed, as well as when a person is misusing or abusing it. 

What Is Psychosis?

When looking out for signs that someone experiences Adderall psychosis, understanding the definition and symptoms of psychosis helps provide answers. Psychosis is defined as a mental condition that affects a person’s thinking process. Their thought process becomes disordered to the point that they have trouble distinguishing reality from what their psychosis tells them is happening. 

Some of the hallmark symptoms of psychosis include:

  • Hallucinations: This commonly involves visual and auditory disturbances. A person sees or hears things that are not actually happening. Hearing voices commonly occurs as part of psychosis. Individuals may also claim to smell or feel things that no one else witnesses. 
  • Paranoia: This involves being suspicious that a person is being watched or controlled. A person may focus their paranoia on politics, law enforcement, religion, or other subjects.
  • Delusions: A belief in occurrences that are not accurate. This can include a belief that the person possesses special powers, sometimes in conjunction with religious tones. The person may believe an external source controls their thoughts and behaviors. They tend to misinterpret things said or events that occur, believing them to be laden with hidden meanings. Even when someone provides concrete proof that a delusion proves inaccurate, a person suffering from psychosis will not believe it.

Other symptoms of psychosis include:

  • High levels of anxiety and restlessness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Chaotic speech patterns, including often quickly switching topics
  • Feeling depressed
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Disruption in sleep patterns
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts 
Psychosis is defined as a mental condition that affects a person’s thinking process.

Is It Adderall Psychosis or Something Else?

According to The National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), as many as 3 in 100 people experience psychosis at some point in their lifetime. Every year, approximately 100,000 young people find themselves afflicted by at least one episode of psychosis. 

If a person suspects they or someone they know may be experiencing episodes of psychosis, a medical and psychiatric evaluation should be performed. Medical testing and X-rays may be utilized to assist with a diagnosis. Let the doctor know if the person takes Adderall. If they do, this may be the cause of psychosis. It could also be related to other conditions. 

Psychosis can be caused by physical maladies such as Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and brain tumors. Illnesses that attack the brain, including Alzheimer’s disease, HIV, syphilis, strokes, and certain types of epilepsy, may cause a person to develop psychosis. Genetics and head injuries may also play a part in the development of psychosis. 

Read more: What Is The Connection Between Adderall And Sex Addiction?

What If You Already Have Psychosis?

Individuals who have psychosis and other mental health conditions sometimes turn to substances like Adderall as a way to cope with their symptoms. A study conducted during the Epidemiological Catchment Area program found that 47 percent of people with schizophrenia and 60 percent with bipolar disorder also had a substance use disorder. In comparison, around 16 percent of people in the general population had a substance use disorder. Dealing with psychosis alone can already be difficult and disrupt a person’s daily life. 

However, when someone also struggles with an Adderall use disorder, it can lead to serious problems. These include an increased risk of suicide, higher chances of engaging in violent behavior, greater involvement in criminal activities, and difficulties responding to treatment programs. Unfortunately, individuals with psychosis or a genetic predisposition to psychosis are at a higher risk of developing substance use disorders.

Individuals who have psychosis and other mental health conditions sometimes turn to substances like Adderall as a way to cope with their symptoms.

Side Effects of Adderall

Adderall has some uncomfortable side effects and varies depending on the person. People who take Adderall as prescribed to manage symptoms of ADD may have milder side effects than those who misuse the drug. Taking more thanrecommended can be dangerous, as stimulants like amphetamine or dextroamphetamine can increase heart rate and raise blood pressure. 

Other side effects of Adderall include:

  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Shaking
  • Feeling nervous
  • Weight loss or lack of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness

While these are the most frequently experienced side effects, more serious side effects may occur, including shortness of breath, fainting, irregular heartbeat, blurred vision, pain in the left arm, or confusion. If any of the symptoms occur, it’s important to seek help immediately.

Read more: ADHD Tools To Resist Substance Abuse

Should You Be Concerned About Adderall-Related Psychosis?

The New England Journal of Medicine issued a report about psychosis that shows a relatively low number of cases related to ADHD medication. In a study group of adolescents and young adults who took amphetamines as a treatment for ADHD, 0.21% of them developed psychosis. They concluded that those in this study group who developed new-onset psychosis numbered 1 in 660. 

While people naturally worry about serious conditions such as psychosis, perspective should guide any decisions related to this subject. All prescription medications carry risks. Many people already take Adderall or will receive a prescription for it in the future. Discussion with the medical professional prescribing it can help answer questions and alleviate concerns. Together they can make informed decisions, as well as identify any Adderall psychosis concerns already in play. 

Using Medication and Therapy To Treat Psychosis  

Treatment of psychosis typically involves medication. A person who finds themselves experiencing an episode of psychosis may become a possible danger to themselves or others. In these cases, rapid tranquilization may be applied. This involves a medical professional administering a liquid or injectable medication to help quickly alleviate the symptoms.

Anti-psychotic prescription medications often have success when used to treat psychosis. They can help reduce or stop certain symptoms, including hallucinations, delusions, and paranoid thoughts. This kind of medicine may only be needed on a short-term basis. 

Therapy also delivers great relief for those suffering from psychosis. A licensed counselor will provide the patient with cognitive behavioral therapy. This involves regular appointments with the therapist and can be used in conjunction with medication.

Launch Centers treats substance use disorders such as Adderall addiction, as well as co-occurring mental health conditions

Adderall Addiction Treatment in California

Addiction to Adderall can derail a person’s life. Launch Centers treats substance use disorders such as Adderall addiction, as well as co-occurring mental health conditions. Our long-term treatment program puts an emphasis on holistic treatments, educational goals, and learning life skills. We involve families and help parents aid in helping their children grow and progress in recovery.
Call our Los Angeles area facility today and let Launch Centers help you put Adderall addiction in your past.

About Our Founder

Jose Hernandez, for over a decade, has been involved in alcohol and addiction recovery helping people succeed in overcoming substance abuse and regaining control of their lives. He has experience in all aspects of the recovery world, from facilitating entry into treatment as an intervention specialist to counseling and case management at rehabilitation facilities. Jose has worked one-on-one with individuals as a sober companion and with groups as a resident counselor at addiction treatment centers and is certified by the California Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (CAADAC) to practice as a substance abuse counselor.

Through his professional experiences in crisis intervention, drug and alcohol detoxification, substance abuse counseling, and relapse prevention, Jose has developed a unique plan for case management that bridges the gap between a person’s painful past of substance abuse and a future of sobriety.

At Riviera Recovery, a sober living facility with multiple locations, clients continue their transition from the supportive environment of a treatment center to living well and happily in the “real” world. The program he designed at Riviera Recovery personalizes treatment plans that enable clients, including those with a single or dual-diagnosed mental health disorder, to embrace a satisfying life.

His greatest endeavor has been establishing LAUNCH, a Los Angeles-based life skills intensive outpatient program for young adults. LAUNCH works with recovering men and women to establish personal vocational and educational goals and develop the tools to successfully meet them. His mission is to ensure that no one stands alone in his or her recovery.

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Eric Chaghouri, MD

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Family Program Manager

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