Adderall, a prescription stimulant containing dextroamphetamine and amphetamine, is prescribed to manage the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.1 Many people, especially college students, misuse or abuse prescription stimulants like Adderall to increase alertness, enhance concentration, or even experience euphoria.2 Adderall abuse can lead to an addiction, a chronic condition characterized by …
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Adderall, a prescription stimulant containing dextroamphetamine and amphetamine, is prescribed to manage the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.1 Many people, especially college students, misuse or abuse prescription stimulants like Adderall to increase alertness, enhance concentration, or even experience euphoria.2 Adderall abuse can lead to an addiction, a chronic condition characterized by compulsive Adderall use despite negative consequences. Fortunately, there are many Adderall addiction treatment options, which can help you or someone you love quit substance use.
In this article:
- Signs and Symptoms of Adderall Addiction
- Getting Treatment
- Ongoing Support Through Narcotics Anonymous
Signs and Symptoms of Adderall Addiction
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), a stimulant use disorder includes a pattern of stimulant use that causes significant distress or harm in a person’s life. Some signs and symptoms of Adderall addiction include:3
- Taking higher doses of Adderall than intended
- Using Adderall in a way other than prescribed (snorting, smoking, or injecting)
- Failing to reduce Adderall use despite efforts to do so
- Experiencing strong cravings to use Adderall
- Continuing Adderall use despite problems at work or home caused by use
- Continuing Adderall use in spite of use causing or worsening physical or psychological conditions
- Neglecting previously enjoyed hobbies in favor of Adderall use
- Developing a tolerance to the prescription stimulant, which means you need more to experience the desired effects
- Experiencing Adderall withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to quit
If you or someone you know is addicted to Adderall or any other substance, help is available—whether you prefer an inpatient or outpatient setting, there are countless recovery programs to choose from. Call our hotline at 800-407-7195(Who Answers?) to speak to a kind and compassionate treatment specialist about rehab options near you.
Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms
If you are addicted to Adderall, it is likely that you may experience withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to quit. These stimulant withdrawal symptoms may include:3
- Depressed mood
- Increased appetite
- Sleep disturbances, such as inability to sleep or excessive sleepiness
- Slowed thoughts and movements
If you are experiencing stimulant withdrawal, these symptoms may be extremely unpleasant and distressing, so it’s important that you seek medical guidance from appropriate healthcare professionals.
Getting Adderall Addiction Treatment
If you or someone that you care for is experiencing an Adderall addiction or stimulant use disorder, you may find yourself looking into effective treatment options. A variety of Adderall addiction treatment options are available at varying levels of intensity. If you have a goal of totally abstaining from Adderall use, you may want to start with medical detox.
Although many people may choose to detox from Adderall by gradually tapering off of the medication, with the guidance of a doctor, you may want to consider entering a medical detox program. At a medical detox facility, you will receive 24/7 medical care and oversight throughout the withdrawal process.
Currently, there are no FDA-approved medications for the management of amphetamine or Adderall withdrawal, but a treatment team may use supportive medications to treat various withdrawal symptoms and improve comfort.4 Moreover, a doctor or therapist may educate you on the benefits of attending a substance abuse treatment program once you’ve completed detox and even refer you to a program that may work best for you and your needs.
Inpatient and Residential Adderall Treatment Programs
Inpatient or residential treatment programs for Adderall addiction require that you live and sleep at the facility for the duration of your program. Many of these programs last either 30, 60, or 90 days, although sometimes longer. Inpatient rehab programs are more intensive than outpatient and may be recommended if you have:
- A severe Adderall addiction
- A polysubstance addiction
- A co-occurring mental health condition
- Profound depression and/or suicidal ideation
You may also want to consider residential treatment if you don’t have a strong support system at home or live with people who use drugs or alcohol. While in a residential treatment facility, you will be able to stay away from the people, places, and situations that you previously associated with Adderall use.
Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs)
A PHP, often referred to as a “partial program,” offers an option for continuing substance use disorder treatment beyond the scope of an inpatient facility. PHPs offer treatment five days per week, for several hours per day, often spent engaging in various therapy groups.6 This type of program differs from a residential rehab program in that you will be able to live at home while engaging in the program.
Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs)
Much like PHPs, IOPs occur on an outpatient basis and are a step down from inpatient treatment but more intensive than standard outpatient therapy. You will attend the program several days per week for a couple of hours at a time. IOPs are helpful options if you need to return to work or school while receiving care for your Adderall addiction.
Outpatient Therapy for Adderall Addiction
Outpatient therapy offers an option to see a psychotherapist or licensed counselor on an ongoing basis as a longer-term option for Adderall addiction treatment. This is the longest-term option available in terms of continued care, and you and your provider can work out a schedule that feels appropriate for you. Early on, you may choose to meet with your therapist more than once per week, and then over time, you may feel comfortable with meetings once a week or on a biweekly basis.
If you have limited access to transportation or live in a rural area, you may have the option to attend virtual IOP or outpatient programs, via HIPAA-compliant video conferencing sessions. Virtual therapy can help alleviate the stress out of commuting and trying to work around your schedule.
Ongoing Support Through Narcotics Anonymous
After completing your initial Adderall addiction treatment program, you may want to consider the benefits of engaging in long-term supportive options like Narcotics Anonymous (NA), which is a 12-step support group similar to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). NA is an international fellowship in which members provide each other with support, guidance, and encouragement in order to abstain from substance use. Anyone can join, as long as they want to quit using drugs, and the meetings are free to attend.
One of the great things about NA is that they host demographic-specific meetings so that members can find the meeting space where they feel most welcomed and comfortable.
The following are some of the types of meetings you can find through the NA directory:7
- Women’s only
- Men’s only
- LGBTQ meetings
- Meetings for mothers
- Beginner or new member meetings
- Young people
- Hybrid meetings, offering both in-person and virtual options for attendance
- Literature study
You may find that, by combining treatment with regular attendance at 12-step meetings, you will be able to abstain from Adderall use. Call 800-407-7195(Who Answers?) to talk with a treatment specialist and begin your journey of recovery today.
- S. National Library of Medicine. (2019, April 15). Dextroamphetamine and Amphetamine. MedlinePlus.
- Sepúlveda, D. R., Thomas, L. M., McCabe, S. E., Cranford, J. A., Boyd, C. J., & Teter, C. J. (2011). Misuse of prescribed stimulant medication for ADHD and associated patterns of substance use: preliminary analysis among college students. Journal of Pharmacy Practice, 24(6), 551-560.
- American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). American Psychiatric Publishing.
- Kampman, Kyle M. (2008). The Search for Medications to Treat Stimulant Dependence. Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, 4(2), 28-35.
- Stallvik, M., Gastfriend, D.R., & Nordahl, H.M. (2015). Matching patients with substance use disorder to optimal level of care with the ASAM Criteria software. Journal of Substance Use, 20(6), 389-398.
- Lieberman, P. B. & Frederick, G. G. (2016). Reasons for patient nonattendance during acute partial hospitalization. Psychiatry Online. 684-687.
- Narcotics Anonymous World Services. (n.d.) Information about NA.