What is Adderall?
Adderall is a prescription stimulant, most commonly used to treat the symptoms of attention-related disorders. Adderall works by increasing the levels of norepinephrine and dopamine throughout the central nervous system. Dopamine creates feelings of euphoria and well-being when it is released by the brain, and norepinephrine affects the speed at which the brain responds to external stimuli. When taken as prescribed, Adderall helps those with attention-deficit disorders pay attention and stay on track. It increases alertness and productivity. In most cases, they will be prescribed a small dosage to be taken at the start of the day – this way, the effects will have worn off completely by nighttime, making it easier to fall asleep. Unfortunately, because Adderall can stimulate large amounts of dopamine to be produced when it is taken in higher dosages, it is often abused for its “feel good” effects. This specific prescription medication is also commonly abused by students. Because it increases alertness and productivity, students might take the drug when studying for a big exam, or before writing an important paper.
Some common symptoms of Adderall addiction include:
- Building a tolerance – greater quantities of the drug are required in order for the same effects to be produced.
- Attempting to quit back or quit, but being unable to do so for any extended period of time.
- Continuing to take Adderall despite accumulating negative consequences.
- Being unable to complete tasks without the aid of Adderall; finding personal motivation difficult unless Adderall is involved.
- Beginning to take the drug to complete menial tasks – an inability to be productive at all without the use of Adderall.
- Doctor shopping.
- Spending a great deal of money on the drug – financial issues.
- Struggling with symptoms of Adderall withdrawal when the drug is not available.
The street value of Adderall is significant, and those who develop addictions to this specific prescription might eventually turn to a cheaper and more readily available alternative. Unfortunately, the alternative to prescription amphetamines is often methamphetamine.
What is Methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine is a potent and extremely addictive stimulant, one that affects the central nervous system much like Adderall. The symptoms of the two drugs are very similar; both cause increased alertness, talkativeness, and feelings of euphoria and general well-being. Both drugs also significantly suppress appetite. However, methamphetamine is significantly more potent than any prescription amphetamine, and because of this it alters brain chemistry more quickly and significantly. Methamphetamine is highly addictive and has a very high potential for abuse – in fact, the illicit substance is so potent that many individuals will get hooked the very first time that they use it. According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, roughly 1.6 million American adults admitted to using the Schedule I substance during the year prior, and 774,000 admitted to using the drug within the past month. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that in 2017, around 964,000 citizens over the age of 12 struggled with a diagnosable methamphetamine abuse disorder. Unfortunately, only 49 per every 100,000 methamphetamine addicts will seek the professional treatment they both need and deserve. At Guardian Recovery Network, we help those struggling with stimulant addictions of all varieties and severities. We understand how powerful methamphetamine is, and how all-consuming and devastating an addiction to this specific drug can be. We have also witnessed those who are struggling with the most severe addictions go on to lead healthy, happy, and drug-free lives.
Some short-term symptoms of methamphetamine abuse include:
- Hyperactivity and decreased fatigue.
- Disrupted sleep patterns – insomnia.
- Decreased appetite.
- Anxiety and agitation – quick and unexplainable changes in mood.
- Euphoria and feelings of an intense “rush.”
- A rapid or irregular heartbeat.
- Profuse sweating.
Some symptoms of methamphetamine addiction are:
- Rotting teeth and severe dental issues, otherwise known as “meth mouth.”
- Rapid weight loss.
- Scabs and sores on the face and skin (often a result of intense itching or of paranoia).
- Hallucinations and extreme paranoia/anxiety.
- Violent outbursts and erratic behavior.
- Persistent confusion.
- An inability to form complete sentences/incoherence.
Adderall and methamphetamine are similar in many ways – both drugs can be completely devastating when abused for any period of time. The long-term effects of Adderall and methamphetamine abuse are also very similar.
Long-Term Effects of Stimulant Abuse
Because methamphetamine is more potent, it typically causes more severe damage to the body and the mind at a more rapid rate. Those who abuse meth daily can completely deteriorate – both physically and mentally – in a matter of months. However, the long-term effects of stimulant abuse are somewhat similar across the board.
Long-term physical effects of Adderall abuse and methamphetamine abuse include (but are certainly not limited to):
- Weight loss. Both drugs act as appetite suppressants, and can cause significant weight loss when abused long-term.
- Severe gastrointestinal issues.
- Reduced sex drive and an inability to function sexually. This is a common symptom when it comes to drug abuse in general, though those who abuse stimulants can do permanent damage as far as sexual function goes.
- Chronic headaches.
- Respiratory problems. This is especially common amongst those that smoke methamphetamine (a common method of ingestion).
- Cardiovascular damage.
- Cerebral hemorrhaging (bleeding within the brain).
When it comes to stimulant abuse, there are also many serious long-term psychological effects. These include (but again, are not limited to):
- Delusions. Those who abuse Adderall or methamphetamine long-term will experience delusional thinking and erratic patterns of behavior as a direct result. Delusional thinking can lead to serious legal consequences, especially when it comes to long-term methamphetamine abuse.
- Ongoing hallucinations. Auditory and visual hallucinations are common amongst those who abuse stimulants for any extended length of time.
- Anxiety. Those who abuse amphetamines are prone to developing anxiety-related disorders, and are also prone to having regular panic attacks.
- Paranoia. The delusional thinking brought on by long-term stimulant abuse very frequently results in severe paranoia, which is extremely disruptive to day-to-day life.
- Depression. Those who abuse stimulant drugs like Adderall and methamphetamine long-term are also prone to developing lasting depressive disorders. Depression will need to be treated separately and simultaneously in a dual diagnosis treatment program.
There are also many negative long-term effects of stimulant abuse by way of personal consequences. These might include legal and financial issues, problems at work or the loss of a long-term career, interpersonal problems and a persistent lack of motivation resulting in missed opportunities.
Adderall and Methamphetamine Addiction Treatment
At Guardian Recovery Network, we understand how devastating the effects of long-term stimulant abuse can be, and we are available to help in any way that we can. Our comprehensive program of addiction recovery is geared towards those who have been struggling with a short-term addiction to Adderall to those who have been struggling with the crushing consequences of methamphetamine addiction for years. No matter how far down the scale you have gone, recovery is always possible. The first step of every successful recovery journey is medical detox, where an individual will safely undergo the symptoms of stimulant withdrawal and be professionally treated should any health-related complications arise. Next, the individual will transfer directly to an inpatient drug rehab, and undergo between one and three month of intensive treatment, depending on the severity of the disease. Finally, Guardian Recovery Center offers effective and personalized aftercare options to those who have completed detox and residential treatment. For more information on Adderall abuse, methamphetamine abuse, or to learn more about our specialized program of recovery, reach out to us today.