Adderall has taken the lives of those who misuse it, including that of a Texas A&M student in 2018. Snorting the Adderall resulted in this individual having a series of seizures that led to a fatal stroke. Unfortunately, Adderall misuse is common on college campuses and is most widely used among those aged 18 to 25 years old.
There are many risks that come with misusing Adderall no matter how you take the drug. This central nervous system stimulant is normally prescribed to treat symptoms of attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Since it is classified as an amphetamine, it has a high risk for abuse.
There is hope for those who want to quit snorting Adderall. With proper treatment from our compassionate and well-trained staff, clients can gain clarity, motivation, and a sense of purpose as they move through their unique recovery journeys in a peaceful place.
What Is Adderall?
Adderall is a tablet that consists of dextroamphetamine saccharate, amphetamine aspartate, dextroamphetamine sulfate, and amphetamine sulfate. This chemical compound can be taken in as low of a dosage as 5 milligrams and as high as 30 milligrams. In addition to treating ADD and ADHD, it can be used to help treat people dealing with narcolepsy.
Adderall is prescribed only after a medical diagnosis has been made, and it is often used as part of a more comprehensive treatment program. Since there are no studies on effects of long-term Adderall use, even at correct dosages, it is hard to say what kind of toll the medication might take on the body over time, if any.
Adderall can have a lot of side effects, even when appropriately taken. It is known for causing cardiovascular issues like heart palpitations and cardiomyopathy, central nervous system impairments such as dysphoria and restlessness, blurred vision, allergic reactions, alopecia, and Rhabdomyolysis.
Since it is potentially addictive, Adderall is labeled as a Schedule II controlled substance. Tolerance tends to build up over time, making some individuals crave the “high” it produces even more and prompting them to increase their dosages without consulting a doctor. Those who abruptly stop taking Adderall after prolonged and heavy use tend to suffer from depression, chronic fatigue, and sleep disruptions as a result. Prolonged misuse of Adderall can lead to sleep disorders as well as personality changes and psychosis.
Taking Adderall with certain other drugs can cause serious side effects. Adderall is known to interact with acidifying agents, alkalinizing agents, tricyclic antidepressants, serotonergic drugs, CYP2D6 inhibitors, and MAOI inhibitors. Some of these interactions can be fatal.
Sudden death has been associated with Adderall use, even in prescribed dosages. Adults are more likely than children to suffer from cardiac abnormalities resulting from Adderall use. Anyone being treated with a stimulant drug like Adderall needs to be assessed for potential health risks and have cardiac issues ruled out so that they can safely take the drug.
Adderall Misuse in Students
The sad truth is that young adults in college have a lot of stress put on them. Sometimes, that stress feels like it is excessive, and students end up resorting to stimulant use. College students will often try to get Adderall from someone they know who has a prescription, like a family member or friend, or will “doctor shop” by going to multiple doctors and pharmacies to get numerous prescriptions at the same time.
One study conducted by the National Institutes of Health discovered that 10% of all college students surveyed took Adderall without a prescription on a regular basis. That number jumped up to 11% in 2018. Males were found to be more likely than females to misuse Adderall.
Overall, college students have a higher rate of Adderall use over non-college peers aged 18 to 25. The juggling act of jobs, schoolwork, exams, and a social life can cause a high amount of stress that the human mind and body is not able to keep up with. This stress level can lead students to think that taking stimulants will lead to better grades, but achieving higher marks while taking Adderall inappropriately is typically is not the case.
Effects on the Body When Adderall Is Snorted
What happens when you crush an Adderall pill up and snort it? The truth is that snorting Adderall puts you at an increased risk for experiencing its harmful side effects. Crushing and snorting increases the drug’s potency, and many people will crush multiple tablets at a time in order to gain a quick, serious high.
The most immediate effects of snorting Adderall include:
• Psychotic episodes
• Irregular heartbeat
• Anger and aggression
• Rapid breathing
• High blood pressure
• Problems with blood circulation
• Heart failure
• Sudden death
The regular snorting of Adderall can also lead to conditions like drug addiction, mood disturbances, paranoia, and psychosis. Taking Adderall orally as it is intended to be ingested lessens the likelihood of severe reactions.
Signs of Adderall Addiction
Addiction comes in many forms and looks a little different for everyone. How can you tell if someone is addicted to Adderall? Sometimes, the signs are obvious. Other times, the person misusing Adderall will go to great lengths to conceal their dependency. Knowing how to spot Adderall misuse is absolutely the first step in getting help for yourself or a loved one.
Here are some of the most prevalent signs of Adderall addiction:
• Taking Adderall at higher than prescribed dosages in order to enhance its euphoric effects
• Taking Adderall that is prescribed to someone else, typically a friend or family member
• Mixing Adderall with other drugs or alcohol
• Snorting, smoking, or injecting Adderall
• Feeling a strong and persistent urge to keep using Adderall
• Taking Adderall to get high
• Taking Adderall in order to get better grades or perform better on the job
• Experiencing withdrawal effects after stopping Adderall usage
In particular, snorting Adderall can prompt some fairly specific signs:
• Sinus congestion
• Crusting of the nasal cavities
• Runny nose
• Recurring sinus infections
• Difficulty swallowing
• Damage done to the nasal septum
Adderall remains in the system for about four to six hours when it is prescribed in its regular, immediate-release form. Adderall XR May, the extended-release form, can stay in the system for a lot longer. You will notice the signs most easily during this time, but the “down time” between dosages can also be revealing, especially if withdrawal occurs.
Unfortunately, Adderall is easy to overdose on, especially if you snort it. Crushing up a few tablets is simple, and it gets into the bloodstream rapidly. Many young adults who snort Adderall mix it with alcohol or other drugs, especially other stimulants, which increases the likelihood of negative side effects. Snorting Adderall makes it that much more potent, so it does not take much to overdose on it.
An Adderall overdose is a serious situation that requires immediate medical attention. Signs of an Adderall overdose include:
• Heart attack
• Rapid breathing
• Stomach pain
How to Prevent Adderall Overdose
Adderall overdose can be prevented. Always take Adderall only as prescribed to you by your doctor. Never exceed the dosage on your own, and certainly refrain from taking someone else’s medication. If someone asks you for your Adderall, do not give it to them.
Sometimes, tolerance breaks are recommended by doctors since the body can build up a tolerance to Adderall over time. These breaks typically last from a few days up to a week and are supervised by a doctor.
Treatment for Adderall Addiction
Adderall addiction is treatable at Defining Wellness Centers. Using trauma-based therapy as a focus can get to the heart of what is causing an individual to misuse Adderall or any other substance. Every addiction has its roots in a personal trauma of some sort, and substance misuse is as much physical as it is mental.
Experiential therapy options for Adderall addiction can include Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), psychodrama, equine therapy, and art, music, and play Therapy. These tools let clients work with staff to evaluate the traumas that caused their addictions and to find healthy ways of coping with them. It gives the brain time and space to adapt and heal itself.
Cognitive therapies pair quite well with experiential therapies when treating Adderall addiction. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of treatment that teaches clients how to recognize faulty and harmful thought patterns, address what caused them, and turn them into helpful and realistic thought patterns. Sometimes, this can involve facing one’s fears, using role-play to develop better ways of interacting with other people, and learning techniques to calm the mind and relax the body.
Dialectal behavioral therapy (DBT) is another tool that can be useful in treating Adderall addiction. The aim of it is to help clients improve their self-image, to better their communication skills, and to develop healthier coping skills. DBT offers mindfulness techniques, which means being able to objectively assess your emotions, thoughts, behaviors, and external events as they happen. This promotes better emotional regulation and the ability to cope with a crisis when it occurs. DBT and CBT are often used in conjunction for those with addictions, and these methods show a lot of effectiveness at helping clients work through some really difficult emotions and thoughts.
Technology can also play a role in recovery. For example, at Defining Wellness Centers, we use Alpha Stim to provide our clients with relief from depression, anxiety, pain, and insomnia; these are all symptoms common with Adderall misuse. Alpha Stim’s unique waveform technology is the most widely used and researched cranial electrotherapy stimulation device on the market. It passes between two electrodes, one on each side of the head, that are clipped to each earlobe. They work to stimulate and to modulate certain nerve groups within the brain utilizing a very low electrical current. With Alpha Stim, clients face no risk of addiction and no side effects of usage.
Adderall addiction can be dangerous to the point of being deadly. Snorting Adderall makes it riskier because of its enhanced potency. Reaching out to get help for yourself or a loved one is just one phone call away. Take the first step in your recovery journey now, and your body and mind will greatly benefit from it.
It is possible to reclaim your life from Adderall addiction. There are people waiting to help you get started today, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team at Defining Wellness Centers.