Why is Adderall Prescribed to Addicts in Recovery?

Recovering from addiction is a real struggle. Alcoholics and addicts in recovery may be diagnosed with other illnesses, such as depression, bipolar disorder or attention-deficit disorder. As a result, they may be prescribed other medications to manage their illness.

Some of these medications are addictive. So why would doctors write prescriptions when Adderall abuse is a significant problem? Here’s what you need to know.

Dual Diagnoses

Many people find out that they have other mental illnesses or learning disabilities once they begin receiving treatment for addiction. Most rehab programs include evaluation by professional counselors who are trained to look for other underlying issues. These other issues give the addict what is called a “dual diagnosis” of both addiction and the other mental health or learning issue.

The Significance of a Dual Diagnosis

Receiving an additional diagnosis can be a major relief for alcoholics and addicts. Suddenly, there’s an explanation for many of the struggles they’ve had for their entire lives. Many even discover that their substance abuse was an attempt to self-medicate to manage their other issues. When an addict in recovery is discovered to have a dual diagnosis, it means that they can finally get adequate and appropriate treatment for all of their issues.

Are Medications Risky in Recovering Addicts?

Why is Adderall Prescribed

Adderall should only be prescribed in severe ADHD cases.

Alcoholics or other addicts are understandably nervous about taking additional medications, even when it’s necessary to manage their health. Antidepressants, which are prescribed for people with a history of anxiety or depression, generally present little to no risk of relapse for substance abuse.

Prescription opioids to manage pain after injury or surgery must be highly supervised in recovering addicts. Stimulant medications such as Adderall or Ritalin can be risky as well. Some people with undiagnosed attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may find that prescription stimulant treatment manages their symptoms well enough to reduce their risk of relapse of drug abuse. However, Adderall XR abuse is a significant problem, and people who are already addicted to other substances may be more vulnerable to developing an additional addiction.

Does A Recovering Addict Have to Take Medication?

The decision to take medication or not should always be made under a doctor’s supervision. While medicines like antidepressants can help people to stay in recovery and therefore prevent relapse, stimulants are more questionable. Adderall XR abuse is much more likely because stimulant medications themselves contain a form of amphetamines. The addictive potential of stimulant medication is very high and therefore taking these medicines could easily lead to relapse. Deciding whether or not to take amphetamines should be considered carefully because poor focus and distractibility are normal symptoms in early recovery. If the doctor decides that ADHD is a significant dual diagnosis that must be medicated, it may be safer to first try Strattera (atomoxetine), a non-stimulant medication.

How Can You Tell If Someone is Abusing Stimulants?

Those who love someone in recovery are often as nervous as the addict themselves about medication. If the addict you love comes home with a prescription for stimulant medication, you will want to watch closely for the following signs of Adderall XR abuse:

  • Rapid speech
  • Sweating
  • Running out of pills early or “losing prescription bottles”
  • Sleep disturbances (either sleeping very little or too much)
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia

According to the Mayo Clinic, other symptoms of substance abuse include mood swings, hostility, poor decision-making ability and stealing or forging prescriptions.

Recovery includes more than just avoiding the substances that previously presented a problem. The addict in recovery needs a supportive team to help them navigate sobriety. Most people in recovery will always need to be more cautious than others about taking medications, especially potentially addictive drugs.

If someone you love is struggling with Adderall abuse or other addictions, call our helpful hotline today at 800-768-8728.

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