Although Adderall can be very effective in helping people who have been diagnosed with ADHD, it can be harmful when used by people who do not have ADHD. It can also be harmful if taken by someone at higher doses than prescribed to them. In either case, long-term Adderall misuse can lead to significant physical and emotional problems. The side effects of Adderall misuse can include addiction, which is also known as substance use disorder (SUD).
Early intervention and treatment are essential to ensure the safety and health of individuals with SUD. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), “the most effective way to help . . . is to intervene early.”
Risk Factors for Adderall Addiction
Individuals prescribed Adderall to treat legitimate issues like attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may misuse the substance. However, most people who misuse Adderall do not have a prescription and misuse illegally obtained versions of the drug. Illegally obtained Adderall may have other substances mixed in, making the drug even more dangerous.
Risk factors for developing an addiction to Adderall include:
- Socioeconomic status
- A prescription for the drug
- Access to a loved one’s prescription Adderall
The following individuals may also have a higher risk:
- Individuals between the ages of 18 and 25
- Students who need to focus on academic progress
- Athletes and career professionals
- Individuals with eating disorders or body image issues
Adderall is often referred to as a “study drug” because it allows students who misuse it to focus for more extended periods. However, side effects negate any desired enhancements. For many people, Adderall use decreases their ability to successfully study and focus without the drug. Adderall can have other significant long-term health effects.
Common Reasons People Misuse Adderall
Prescription Adderall misuse includes taking more than the prescribed dosage or for longer than prescribed. Taking someone else’s prescription or purchasing illicit forms of the drug increases the risk of dependency and addiction.
People commonly misuse Adderall to experience effects such as:
- Increased positive mood
- Decreased appetite
- Better short-term ability to focus, especially at school or work
Motivations can also involve a desire to escape unwanted negative emotions or an attempt to meet impossible goals. Unfortunately, Adderall misuse usually increases stress in the long run due to its negative effects on the brain.
Adderall Misuse and the Brain
Substance misuse of any kind comes with inherent dangers and possible health side effects. However, some substances have more severe symptoms and side effects that can linger after abstinence and treatment.
Long-term Adderall misuse affects the brain and can cause multiple health issues, including:
- Cognitive damage leading to problems with working memory
- Difficulty with self-realization
- Decreased confidence in cognitive abilities
According to Pharmacy: Journal of Pharmacy Education and Practice, Adderall misuse frequently impairs cognitive functioning. Noticeable side effects of Adderall misuse have been shown to affect autonomic activation, including the regulation of heart rate and blood pressure, and working memory.
Long-Term Physical Side Effects of Adderall Misuse
The long-term side effects of Adderall misuse can include:
- Malnutrition and significant weight loss
- Increased risk of heart disease, heart attack, or stroke
- Scarring and skin conditions caused by skin picking
- Physical dependency
- Body aches
- Anxiety, panic, depression, or mood swings
Early intervention can protect your loved one from the long-term effects of Adderall misuse. An intervention is one option for helping someone find the motivation to seek treatment for their substance misuse.
Interventions for Adderall Misuse
If your loved one misuses Adderall, you might wonder how to help. Early intervention and treatment are the best way to assist them in avoiding addiction and other long-term side effects. Showing them compassion and remaining supportive while communicating your concerns can increase the effectiveness of interventions.
A New Hope Recovery provides intervention and consultation services. We understand that most families want to find ways to solve these issues on their own. However, getting a professional assessment and treatment recommendations can help families find the best way to help their loved one.
How Can You Make a Difference?
Interventions, treatment, and recovery come with challenges for everyone. You can help your loved one by being compassionate and staying supportive. A New Hope Recovery encourages families to play a role in recovery because it benefits everyone. Family dynamics can sometimes change due to substance misuse, and treatment provides a space for healing.
Early intervention can save your loved one from further pain and long-lasting side effects. You can continue making a positive difference during their treatment and aftercare by doing the following:
- Holding your loved one accountable for their actions without judgment
- Being willing to forgive and treat them with compassion
- Not blaming them for symptoms of their condition
- Providing emotional support and encouragement
- Improving communication by being honest and actively listening
- Practicing self-care and modeling a healthy lifestyle
Adderall is a common study drug used by professionals, athletes, and students to increase focus and improve mood. Unfortunately, the drug is highly addictive when misused, and it is relatively easy to access. Some individuals with legitimate prescriptions might misuse the drug by taking it for longer or at a higher dose than prescribed. The long-term physical and emotional effects of Adderall misuse include cognitive issues that interfere with memory and motivation. If your loved one struggles with Adderall misuse, you could benefit from getting a professional mental health assessment and consult. Early intervention and treatment are the best ways to avoid the long-term health effects of substance misuse. The dedicated professionals at A New Hope Recovery can help you and your family find the best treatment options. We offer referrals, intervention services, and consultations. To learn more about how we can help, call us today at (407) 501-8490.