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Symptoms of Adderall Addiction

Adderall, one of a few prescription amphetamine medications, offers an effective treatment solution for people struggling with ADHD, obesity and narcolepsy disorders. While prescription medications do contain measured amounts of amphetamine, the effects of the drug can still take a bad turn when used for recreational purposes.

For someone unaffected by ADHD, obesity or narcolepsy, abuse and eventual Adderall addiction can quickly develop when taking this drug for non-medical purposes. As of 2009, an estimated 300,000 people struggled with amphetamine-type addictions, Adderall included, according to Dartmouth College.

Symptoms of Adderall addiction take root within the brain’s chemical system. Before long, users start to experience changes in their overall health status followed by psychological effects that eventually show up in their daily routines.

Adderall’s Effects on the Brain

adderall addiction

Adderall works to speed up chemical processes in the brain.

As an amphetamine-based drug, Adderall’s effects stimulate or speed up chemical processes in the brain. Chemically speaking, amphetamine closely resembles dopamine, an essential brain neurotransmitter chemical. Dopamine secretions help regulate a person’s emotional states, movement and the ability to experience pain or pleasure.

Adderall’s effects target the brain cell receptor sites that secrete dopamine and serotonin chemicals. In the case of Adderall addiction, the brain’s overall chemical system undergoes considerable change as the drug’s effects continue to disrupt normal chemical functions. According to the University of California Irvine School of Medicine, these effects cause widespread cell deterioration throughout the brain, which accounts for the types of symptoms brought on by Adderall addiction.

Increases in Tolerance Levels

Increases in tolerance levels result from Adderall’s deteriorating effects on brain cell functions. Tolerance level increases occur when cell sites become less sensitive to the drug’s effects. When this happens, a person has to increase dosage amounts in order to experience the same “high” effects.

This symptom of Adderall addiction starts early on, especially in cases where users ingest large amounts of the drug on a frequent basis. In effect, cell site deterioration impairs the brain’s ability to regulate bodily processes as normal. As cells grow weaker, they in turn become more dependent on Adderall’s effects.

Symptoms of Withdrawal

Once Adderall addiction sets in, withdrawal symptoms become an everyday occurrence. Withdrawal symptoms develop as brain chemical imbalances form. Since the brain regulates most every bodily process, Adderall’s effects on chemical levels impairs the brain’s ability to work as normal.

Symptoms of withdrawal may take the form of –

  • Inability to get proper sleep
  • Fatigue
  • Emotional instability
  • Angry outbursts
  • Headaches
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability

Adderall addiction has an overall progressive effect on bodily functions, meaning the longer a person keeps using the worse withdrawal symptoms become.

Changes in Lifestyle

Adderall addictions alter a person’s psychological well-being in much the same way as physical withdrawal symptoms take shape. Over time, the body’s physical dependency on Adderall evolves into a psychological dependency that inevitably affects a person’s lifestyle choices.

Changes in lifestyle may appear as –

  • Isolating from friends and family
  • Financial problems
  • Relationship problems
  • Neglecting work and family obligations
  • Criminal activity

In effect, addicts organize their lives around getting and using Adderall to the point where all other interests and obligations become increasingly less important over time.