Stephen Roderick describes his addiction to Adderall in a 2013 New York Times article by Richard Cohen.
As a college student, searching for the magic solution to improve grades and performance, the stimulant drug seemed like the answer to a prayer. However, after taking more and more of the drug to achieve the same effects and adding in medications to help with sleep, what seemed like a dream soon became a nightmare. One can only hope Roderick sought Adderall addiction treatment to end the cycle of substance abuse in his life.
Solution or Addiction?
College students everywhere are having the same experience. “Addies” are readily available on campuses across the United States and students seeking to make the grade are turning to help from the pill bottle. In our society, performance is key. Further, students are inundated with stimuli and technology that wire them toward instant responses and immediate gratification.
Adderall and Brain Chemistry
Adderall is a combination of two primary compounds: amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It is generally used to regulate brain chemistry for children and adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
The drug works to regulate chemicals like dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine by controlling the synapses which produce signals releasing chemicals in a more regulatory manner. Adderall improves focus and attention, acting as a stimulant upon the central nervous system.
Mental and Emotional Effects
In the beginning, amphetamines produce alertness, euphoria, a sense of well-being, and trigger responses that mimic sexual gratification. Thus, the drugs are highly addictive to the user trying to recreate the initial feeling that all is right with the world.
Regular users quickly build a tolerance, and with prolonged use irritability, anxiety and aggression replace the feelings of ease and comfort. Chasing the initial euphoria teeters into obsession, and well-meaning users seeking to create a better version of themselves are stuck in the mire of addiction.
Recipe for Disaster
Persons seeking a boost via Adderall, who are not suffering from ADHD, may have certain personality quirks leading them down the dangerous path at the start. Perfectionism, lack of confidence and self-esteem issues can be reason enough to plant the notion of a need for a performance enhancer. Then the stage is set for the vicious cycle of addiction.
Because of the manner in which amphetamines alter brain chemistry, users can experience ill effects from the beginning. Adderall side effects can include jitteriness, loss of appetite, nausea and abdominal pain. Long term users and abusers of these drugs may experience cardiac arrhythmia, violent aggression, suicidal thoughts and a complete loss of sexual desire.
Roller Coaster Ride
Addiction is a complicated illness and recovery must be multi-faceted. Doctors are beginning to understand the mental and emotional factors that lead to addiction, as well as the affects that long term use has on the brain.
Adderall abuse creates changes in brain function and how the pleasure center of the brain reacts to stimuli. Treatment requires acknowledgment of the physical component, the emotional responses, and the compulsion to repeat the cycles over and over again.
The Journal of American Medical Association acknowledges the quandary in the treatment of drug addiction. The medical community views addiction as a social problem or an acute illness, when really drug addiction requires long-term care and consistent monitoring over time to be truly effective. Medical, psychiatric and psychological professionals must work in concert, along with self-help support groups for those suffering from drug dependence to achieve lasting recovery.
Ending the Turmoil
While relapse occurs at a higher rate with amphetamine abusers, recovery is not an impossible goal. With help and support, addicts can experience relief from the turmoil of Adderall dependence. Calling 800-768-8728(Who Answers?) can be the beginning a new life free from the cycle of chasing a solution that no longer works. Adderall addiction treatment specialists are standing by to help. Let them.
Cohen, R. (2013). The competition drug. The New York Times. March 4, 2013. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/05/opinion/global/roger-cohen-adderall-the-academic-competition-drug.html?src=recg&_r=0
Inaba, D. & Cohen, W. (2007). Uppers Downers All Arounders. Medford, OR: CNS Productions
McLellan, A., Lewis, D., O’Brien, C. & Kleber, H. (2000). Drug Dependence, a chronic medical illness: Implications for treatment, insurance and outcomes evaluation. The Journal of American Medical Association. Vol. 284 (213). Retrieved from: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=193144
Moeeni, A., Razaghi, E., Ponnet, K., Torabi, F, et. al. (2016). Predictors of time to relapse in amphetamine-type substance users in the matrix treatment program in Iran: a Cox proportional hazard model application. Biomed Central Psychology. 16. 265. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4960917/
Sherzada, A. (2011). An analysis of ADHD drugs: Ritalin and Adderall. Johnson County Community College Honors Journal. Vol. 3, Issue 1. Retrieved from: http://scholarspace.jccc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1021&context=honors_journal