Is Adderall Addictive? How Long Does It Take to Get Addicted?

2006 study in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence claimed that about 10 percent of adolescents and young adults who misused A.D.H.D. stimulants became addicted to them.

Adderall is a medication that is prescribed to individuals diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder (ADD) or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is designed to help promote focus and curb hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. When Adderall is taken as prescribed for this purpose, it can make a world of difference in the lives of those with this behavioral disorder. Unfortunately, Adderall can be habit-forming when it is abused, making it highly appealing for those looking to get a stimulant high. 

In the United States, approximately 2.5 million people are prescribed prescription stimulants like Adderall for the treatment of ADD/ADHD. A good portion of those who are prescribed this medication are children, teenagers, and young adults, primarily because the symptoms associated with this behavioral disorder become exasperated in school settings. That is why it is most common to see the abuse of Adderall in teenagers and young adults, as they have access to it and often utilize it as a study drug. 

Anytime Adderall is abused, the person abusing it puts themselves at risk for developing an addiction to it. Those with ADD/ADHD are already at risk for abusing drugs and/or alcohol to treat their symptoms, while teenagers and young adults remain impressionable and tend to fold easily to peer pressure. This does not mean that adults do not become addicted to Adderall, as this specific prescription medication is commonly abused by people of all ages. In fact, another large demographic of people who abuse Adderall are middle-aged women, specifically those women who are trying to “do it all” while balancing their families, careers, social lives, and so on. Regardless of who is abusing this drug, however, the potential to become addicted to it remains.

How Long Does It Take to Get Addicted to Adderall?

So, how long does it take to get addicted to Adderall? That depends based on several various factors. It might take one person as little as a few days to get addicted to Adderall while it takes weeks for someone else because of factors such as the following:

  • Age 
  • Weight
  • Body chemistry
  • Metabolism
  • Presence of physical and/or mental health problems
  • Other substance abuse 
  • How much is being taken at once
  • The frequency that it is being abused
  • The method of consumption

It is common for people to think that someone has to abuse a drug like Adderall for a long time before they end up addicted to it. Unfortunately, that is a misconception. A prescription drug like Adderall is highly addictive because of the intense high it produces. Not only does a person feel euphoric when high on Adderall, but they also get a huge rush of energy. In a world like today’s, it is important to many people to have everlasting energy in order to accomplish all that they want to do. But, when the high from Adderall wears off, users tend to get extremely exhausted and even depressed. This is because the brain is no longer being overstimulated by the Adderall, so a crash occurs. All users need to do to make that crash go away fast is to keep using, which is where the development of addiction begins. 

People who abuse Adderall and continue to do so regularly are going to become tolerant of it. This means that their bodies will become accustomed to it, forcing them to increase the amount they use in order to achieve the high they want. But, as they keep taking more Adderall to feel that high, their bodies develop a dependence on it. Dependence refers to the process that occurs when the body starts to rely on the presence of a drug in order to function. So, if that drug is no longer being abused, several painful withdrawal symptoms can develop in response. The more use that occurs once a person becomes dependent on Adderall, the more likely they are to establish a psychological dependence on it, too, which is considered full-blown addiction. 

This process of tolerance to dependence to addiction does not happen in the same time frame for all Adderall users. As mentioned before, many factors play a role in how quickly a person becomes addicted to Adderall. Generally speaking, though, addiction tends to develop quickest when a substance is being abused heavily and in great frequency. Addiction can also develop faster based on the method of consumption. People who crush Adderall tablets, dissolve them in water, and inject them directly into their veins are those who are most likely to become addicted to it faster. That is simply because the drug is being put directly into the bloodstream, skipping over any digestive process that would otherwise occur if swallowed. Adderall addiction may also develop faster in those with pre-existing mental health conditions that impact their decision-making skills, impulsivity, and behaviors. But, it is important to note that any type of Adderall abuse can lead to the development of addiction extremely quickly. 

Treatment for Adderall Addiction

Adderall addiction does not typically produce withdrawal symptoms severe enough to warrant a stay in detox, which is often the first step in the treatment process for most recovering addicts and alcoholics. Therefore, Adderall addicts tend to go right into the therapeutic process of treatment. This can be done in inpatient treatment, partial hospitalization programs, intensive outpatient programs, or outpatient treatment settings, depending on the severity of their addiction. When their program is complete, they can utilize the relapse prevention skills they build while in treatment to keep from abusing Adderall again, as well as stay connected to services that keep them on the road to recovery. 

Do You or Someone You Love Need Help? Call Us Right Now

If you or someone you love is addicted to Adderall, now is the time to reach out and ask for help. We understand the doubt and fear that you or your loved one might have when it comes to the idea of treatment, but know that without it, attempting to stop using Adderall for good is unlikely. 

Do not wait. Call us right now. We can help you.

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