Understanding Teen Drug Use: Adderall Addiction Symptoms

The abuse of prescription medications is continually on the rise. Adderall is one of the most often bought, sold and stolen prescriptions medications. It’s a legal stimulant that has similar symptoms and effects as illegal stimulants. Adderall is commonly prescribed to individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or narcolepsy. When taken as prescribed, Adderall is highly effective in treating the symptoms of these disorders. It creates a calming sense and increases focus, making everyday tasks easier for those who previously had difficulties.

However, when used improperly or by someone other than for whom it’s prescribed, Adderall can cause physical and mental health problems. While it stimulates the mind, making it easier to stay alert and focused for longer periods of time, it also affects the brain’s ability to appropriately react. Long-term or excessive use can produce Adderall addiction symptoms and physical dependence quite rapidly.

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While it technically doesn’t relate to Adderall addiction symptoms, it’s worth noting that many people believe Adderall is somewhat of a “gateway drug,” leading individuals to experiment with harder drugs. According to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Adderall users are (when compared to their peers):

  • 3x more likely to use marijuana
  • 5x more likely to abuse prescription painkillers
  • 8x more likely to abuse prescription tranquilizers
  • 9x more likely to use cocaine

What makes Adderall even riskier for teens is the belief that because it’s prescribed by a medical professional, it’s safer than illegal drugs. In fact, about 33 percent of teens reported the feeling that using prescription medication (without the prescription) is fine, while 26 percent said that using someone else’s Adderall is fine as long as it’s being used as a study aid. Furthermore, 16 percent stated that they believe prescription medications offer a safer high than illegal drugs. With those types of beliefs, it shouldn’t be a shock that so many teens abuse Adderall.

Adderall Addiction Symptoms

How are parents supposed to know if their teenager is improperly using and very likely addicted to Adderall? People tend to believe that they’d know if somebody was addicted to drugs. However, addiction to this substance is a bit different. Abusers of Adderall don’t follow the stereotypical “druggie” standards. In fact, they’re often the straight-A student or star athlete.

Since it can be hard to recognize an Adderall addict, there are several signs and symptoms of substance abuse and addiction. Parents should watch out for strange behavior in their teens, or a sudden change in their social circles. In addition, there are numerous other clues, such as:

  • Frequent headaches
  • Stomach pains
  • Nausea
  • Excessive sweating
  • Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Edginess or nervousness
  • Shaking
  • Extreme thirst or dry mouth
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations or delusions
  • Impaired speech
  • Changes in vision
  • Abnormal aggression
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sudden onset of seizures

If parents suspect their teenagers may be improperly using, abusing or addicted to Adderall, the best thing to do is to have a conversation with them without confrontation. Teens should be approached calmly with the reasons for the suspicions, and reassured that they’re loved and supported. For those who believe their teen may be abusing substances, operators at the 800-447-9081 hotline are waiting to help.

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