7 Tips on How to Detox from Adderall
Adderall addiction is often found in high-achieving individuals who starting using or misusing stimulant drugs in hopes of giving themselves an edge in business, academia, sports, or creative arts and performance. Your addiction may have developed after you started misusing your own prescription, or from using pills given to you by a friend, or that you purchased illegally. No matter how it began, you probably had no intention of becoming dependent or addicted to Adderall, but now you find yourself obsessed with maintaining your supply, and unable to quit despite the negative life consequences caused by your Adderall use. If this is true for you, it may be time to detox from Adderall.
The best way to overcome Adderall addiction is through a medical Adderall detox that can give you a clean slate so you can start fresh, rebuilding your health, and improving your life through recovery treatments such as therapy.
Call Detox.com now to find Adderall detox centers near you!
What are prescription stimulants?
Prescription stimulants are medications that stimulate the central nervous system, increasing energy, attention, and alertness, while also elevating heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration. In the past, doctors used stimulants to treat a wide range of conditions, including neurological disorders, obesity, and respiratory problems like asthma. Once medical professionals began to recognize the high potential for abuse with these drugs, they prescribed stimulants less and less often. Stimulants such as Adderall are currently used for just a small number of conditions, including narcolepsy, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and in rare cases, depression, when patients have failed to respond to other forms of treatment.
When taken as directed by a doctor for a legitimate condition, prescription stimulants can be very effective and safe. They work because their chemical structures are similar to neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine and dopamine, which help the nerve cells in the brain communicate with each other and with the body. Stimulant drugs amplify the effects of these neurotransmitters. For individuals with conditions like ADHD or narcolepsy, this amplification simply corrects an imbalance that was already present in the brain, allowing for more “normal” functioning. Doctors begin with a low dose of stimulants, which they slowly increase until they reach optimum functioning. Prescribing too much stimulant medication can have counterproductive results for the patient, such as increased restlessness and anxiety, as well as cause serious health issues like irregular heartbeat and hypertension.
The Most Popular Stimulant Drugs: Adderall and Ritalin
Adderall (amphetamine) and Ritalin (methylphenidate) are the two most frequently misused prescription stimulants. When taken in larger amounts than prescribed, more often than prescribed, or by crushing and snorting or injecting the drug, stimulants cause an extremely rapid increase of neurotransmitters, particularly dopamine, which produces a euphoric high. An unnatural dopamine rush hacks into the brain’s reward system, teaching the user that misusing drugs is an “important” activity, like eating, thereby laying the groundwork for addiction.
What is considered Adderall misuse?
There are many ways to misuse prescription stimulants and develop an Adderall addiction. The most obvious ways are to crush pills or empty capsules that are meant to be taken whole, and then snort or inject the medication. Users who do this are deliberately seeking a recreational high. Another more obvious form of misuse is to use Adderall in conjunction with alcohol or other drugs, which can have unpredictable, and dangerous results, as well as increase your chances of becoming addicted to any or all of the substances taken.
But there are other, less obviously harmful ways to misuse Adderall. Taking more of your prescription more often is a form of misuse, as is taking medication that has not been prescribed for you. You may believe that the way you misuse Adderall isn’t a problem, because you take it to work longer hours or get more accomplished on less sleep. Don’t fool yourself. It doesn’t matter whether you misuse Adderall to get high or to accomplish something great—either way, you are making yourself vulnerable to an addiction that can devastate your health and happiness.
Misconceptions About “Study Drugs”
Many people misuse Adderall as an “academic performance enhancer,” like when they want energy to study for finals despite high stress and low sleep. For this reason, Adderall and other stimulant medications are often referred to as “study drugs.” But they aren’t only used by students. Professors, business professionals, athletes, and all kinds of artists have been known to misuse Adderall in hopes of improving their cognition and performance. But while stimulant drugs can improve the cognition and performance of individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, they may not do the same for someone without the condition, whose brain functions in a more standard way.
In some limited cases, when the medication is used in a small amount, people who misuse Adderall may actually get the results they want. Others will experience no results besides a faster heart rate and insomnia. And some will experience unpredictable and counterproductive reactions—for example, a graphic designer who takes Adderall to stay up all night finishing a project may find themselves pacing their office with anxiety and obsessively cleaning their desk instead of working.
Even if Adderall does seem to “help” you, you should know that after repeated use, the drug has caused changes in your brain and body that led to tolerance and addiction. Your brain has probably already reduced the amount of dopamine and other neurotransmitters it produces in an effort to counteract the unnatural levels stimulated by Adderall, as well as shut down some dopamine receptors. This is why you have to take more of the drug now to get the same effect, which puts an enormous strain on your central nervous system, and will eventually cause numerous unwanted side effects like insomnia and panic attacks—if it hasn’t already.
What are the side effects of Adderall addiction?
Adderall can have side effects, even when taken as directed by prescription. Adderall misuse will increase the frequency and severity of these side effects, which include:
- Loss of appetite, weight loss
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and stomach pain
- Dry mouth
- Painful menstrual cramps
- Changes in libido or sexual performance
- Tremors/uncontrollable shaking
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- Restlessness and nervousness
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Swelling of the eyes, face, tongue, or throat
- Itching, rash, hives
- Blistering or peeling skin
- Unexplained wounds on fingers or toes
- Pain, numbness, or tingling in feet or hands
- Blurred vision or changes in vision
- Aggression, hostility
- Muscle stiffness or twitching
- Loss of coordination
- Fever and sweating due to dangerously elevated body temperature
- Teeth grinding
- Dizziness or faintness
- Slow or difficult speech
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Irregular heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Intense paranoia
7 Tips on How to Detox from Adderall
Adderall withdrawal includes a range of symptoms that may last for just a few days, or for several weeks. Symptoms include exhaustion, depression, intense cravings, irritability, sleep disorders, brain fog, problems with coordination, and more. Getting good advice on how to detox from Adderall will help you stay strong until you are safely finished with withdrawal symptoms and continue to progress in recovery after detox.
1. Get professional, medical help for your Adderall addiction.
Withdrawal from stimulants can be simply unpleasant, or dangerous, depending upon the user and their situation. Undergoing Adderall detox treatment at a medical detox center that has 24/7 care and monitoring, experts who know how to safely taper your dosage, and access to medications that can alleviate some of your withdrawal symptoms can help you start off your recovery in the best possible way. Also, depression can be severe during stimulant withdrawal, and an inpatient detox program can protect you from harming yourself.
2. Let yourself rest.
You will be very fatigued during Adderall detox, with extremely low energy and a nearly constant desire to sleep. This is partly due to withdrawal symptoms as your central nervous system readjusts, but may also be from chronic sleep deprivation. People with Adderall addictions tend to try to get by on far less sleep than they need, and suffer insomnia when they do want to sleep. Some users may even try to stay awake for 24 hours or several days at a time. You need plenty of rest to make up for your sleep debt, and to heal your brain and body. You may also have interrupted sleep and vivid dreams during withdrawal, and may need to stay in bed longer or take frequent naps to compensate.
3. Be an active part of your own recovery.
Despite your low energy, you should make an effort to take an active role in your early recovery by attending peer support or 12-step meetings, counseling sessions, cognitive-behavioral therapy, or any other treatments available at your Adderall detox facility. This work may feel difficult and draining in the moment, but the growth, wellbeing, and energy it creates over time will be worth every bit of effort you put in.
4. Be open to holistic treatments.
Mindfulness training, yoga, labyrinth walking, and art, music, and other expressive therapies are just some of the alternative, holistic healing treatments that you may be offered while undergoing Adderall detox and addiction treatment. These approaches can be incredibly beneficial to your recovery. In addition, if you are someone with ADHD who developed an Adderall addiction, you may have to rely on alternative treatments for the disorder, such as neurofeedback, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and biofeedback, so you can effectively manage your ADHD without making yourself vulnerable to relapse by using stimulant medication. There are also some non-stimulant drugs that can be effective in the treatment of ADHD.
5. Cognitive behavioral therapy is key.
In an ideal world, you’ll be able to transition from Adderall detox into a life free from reminders and situations that could trigger you to use stimulants. And of course you should try to avoid friends who use drugs as well as triggering environments when you can. But if you used Adderall to help you professionally, or to keep up with family responsibilities, avoidance may not be an option. In those cases, you’ll have to use coping strategies and new ways of thinking about stress, conflict, responsibilities, and stimulant use in general, to help you respond in a healthier way. Taking part in cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, or other forms of behavioral therapy during your Adderall detox (and after) will give you the tools you need to maintain your recovery, even in challenging situations.
6. Work with counselors and/or peers to plan ahead.
Individual and group counseling sessions can be great places to work out plans for what you are going to do when you check out of your Adderall detox program and start returning home at night. If you used Adderall as a recreational activity, then you’re going to need to stay busy to avoid boredom. Take a class just for fun, or pick up a new hobby. Start going to local festivals and museums. You need to fill the time you used to spend on stimulants with healthy activities. If, on the other hand, you used Adderall as a cognitive or performance enhancer, you’ll need to plan ahead for how you’re going to manage your energy, pace yourself, and say no when necessary. Without stimulants to keep you awake when you should be sleeping, there will be less hours in the day to do all the things you want to do—and really, that’s fine. Take some time during your Adderall detox to decide what your passions and priorities are, and plan to cut out anything that is unimportant or uninspiring.
7. Get into exercise.
Physical exercise is an essential part of general health and a huge boost to recovery. The dopamine and endorphins released during exercise can even help ease withdrawal symptoms and cravings during your Adderall detox. Getting into exercise will also set you up to develop a healthy habit that will support your recovery from Adderall addiction for the long term.
To learn more about Adderall detox, or for help finding a treatment program, call 800-483-2193 today!