Adderall is a medication used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. It is a stimulant with amphetamine and dextroamphetamine as its main components. This drug can help with cognitive ability, as well as improve your focus and attention span. These properties make the drug effective in countering the symptoms of ADHD.
Despite their efficacy, medications like Adderall have a high abuse potential. For that reason, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has classified Adderall as a Schedule II controlled substance. Drugs under Schedule II have known medical uses but have high risks for abuse and addiction. Because of this classification, you can only buy Adderall with a doctor’s prescription. It is illegal to get and use this drug without a prescription.
If you happen to be going through Adderall addiction treatment, there is always the risk of relapse, which can derail your recovery process. Read on to find out how you can prevent relapsing while in treatment.
Why is Adderall addictive?
Adderall is addictive mostly because of its stimulant effects. The drug is commonly used to help you focus and perform well in school, as well as to uplift your mood and curb hunger.
Adderall’s mode of action is to raise dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the central nervous system. Over time, you may become accustomed to high levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, leading to addiction to the substance. At this point, if you decide not to take Adderall or reduce your intake, your dopamine and norepinephrine levels will go down. In turn, your brain will feel uncomfortable, and you will get withdrawal symptoms. Examples of these symptoms are:
- Trouble sleeping
- Stomach cramps and aches
- Other mood changes
- “Hangover” effects
These withdrawal symptoms can become so uncomfortable that your only recourse would be to take Adderall again. If you’re desperate to get relief, going back to the drug seems the easiest way out. For that reason, attempts to quit the drug on your own often do not find success.
The more you resort to Adderall to relieve stress and to make yourself feel good, the faster you will become addicted to the drug. Once an addiction takes hold, you may no longer function normally without the drug.
Once you have become addicted, you will exhibit these telltale signs:
- Taking a higher dose than what was prescribed to you
- Taking the drug in other forms, like snorting pulverized tablets or injecting it
- Mixing Adderall with alcohol, tobacco, or other addictive substances
What Adderall addiction treatments exist?
There are no medications that have been approved to deal with Adderall addiction. Instead, treatment focuses on detox with close monitoring. Withdrawal from stimulants like Adderall may be a very unpleasant and stressful experience for your body, so extra care and attention are necessary. Your doctor will refer you to an inpatient or outpatient treatment clinic, as well as a detox center.
Doctors will assist you through the withdrawal process and make it safer. They will also help you handle any withdrawal symptoms that may arise.
During detox, it’s not a good idea to stop taking Adderall all at once. Instead, your doctor will gradually reduce the dosage while monitoring you. This is referred to as “tapering” from the drug. It is better than quitting cold turkey because tapering does not produce severe withdrawal symptoms.
Why does relapse occur?
Adderall addiction is a chronic disease that resembles other chronic medical conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes, in many ways.
Addiction’s natural course can take years, and you can experience both remission and relapse. Relapse is a genuine possibility if you attempt to abstain from any addictive drugs. It is even considered a defining feature of addictions. Recovery can be a long journey, and you have to expect setbacks along the way.
If you relapse and go back to drugs, you should not think that your treatment has failed. It’s easy to see the similarities between chronic medical diseases and Adderall addiction because both have similar causal patterns, long-term paths, and consequences. For example, 50 to 70 percent of those with hypertension experience a relapse in the form of recurring symptoms.
Adherence to treatment is another barrier for both addictions and chronic diseases. In the case of hypertension, only about 40% of patients adhere to their treatment entirely. Retention in therapy is frequently viewed as a primary driver of these illnesses’ outcomes. The more committed you are to your therapies, the better your recovery outcomes will be.
Avoiding relapse through aftercare
Continuity of care is required to effectively manage Adderall abuse. Aftercare can significantly enhance treatment outcomes by giving support after the initial period of treatment. That kind of support helps prevent relapse and fosters a life free of drugs.
Here are some examples of aftercare for Adderall addiction treatment.
Cognitive behavioral therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been shown to be useful in the treatment of addiction to amphetamine stimulants like Adderall. In a randomized controlled trial, CBT was found to be more beneficial than reading self-help books in promoting abstinence after six months.
Additionally, CBT delivered in a Therapeutic Community context has been linked to the following:
- Decreased Adderall use
- Enhanced drug avoidance
- Better problem-solving ability
- Improved strategies for managing stress and social situations
- Better coping methods for a relapse
- Dealing with personal high-risk situations.
Follow-up medical interventions
In the treatment of amphetamine-type stimulants, research into pharmaceutically-assisted therapies, such as substitution therapy, has shown promise. Despite this encouraging discovery, there are still no FDA-approved drugs for long-term maintenance.
Aside from medications, if you have a history of Adderall use, you may need to be closely monitored by a medical expert due to the negative physical and psychological effects of the drug. Some of these may require medical attention.
Sober living homes
Long-term residential programs are often referred to as sober living homes. They are best suited if you require a structured support system after completing treatment. These homes are designed around a primary core of group activities aimed at producing significant lifestyle, attitude, and values changes. These are intended to help you form good conduct as you go along.