Is Adderall a Gateway Drug? - The Discovery House Los Angeles CA
Is Adderall a Gateway Drug?

Is Adderall a Gateway Drug?

What is Adderall? 

Adderall is a prescription central nervous system stimulant. Because it is used to improve focus and energy levels, it is often referred to as a study drug. Adderall addiction is an increasingly common problem, especially among teenagers and young adults. 

What Does Adderall Treat? 

Adderall is most commonly prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Doctors also prescribe it for narcolepsy, a condition that is far less common than ADHD and involves suddenly falling asleep at inappropriate times. 

Most medical professionals are cautious about prescribing Adderall because it is considered a high-risk prescription. It comes with the potential for abuse and addiction. Individuals who are prescribed Adderall can mitigate this risk by following their doctor’s instructions. 

Always take your medications the way that your doctor suggests. This means taking the appropriate dosage, not mixing your medication with other substances unless your doctor deems them safe, and taking them through the appropriate methods (i.e., swallowing instead of snorting.)  

Is it Dangerous to Take Adderall Non-Medically? 

Sticking to the instructions on our prescriptions is not the only way to reduce the risk of addiction. It is also important to avoid taking medications prescribed to others. Swapping, stealing, or buying prescription medications can be dangerous. 

These medications have been deemed appropriate for someone else’s health, disorder, and other characteristics, not yours. Still, studies of nonmedical use of Adderall and other prescription stimulants tell us that roughly 60% of respondents got the medication from a relative or friend. 

Many high school and college students abuse Adderall to stay awake or boost their concentration during exam weeks. That’s how it got the nickname of the study drug. This practice is not only dangerous, but it can also be ineffective. 

Studies comparing the test results of sober students and those under the influence of nonmedical Adderall showed similar results. In fact, those under the influence of nonmedical Adderall often scored slightly lower, showing further evidence that Adderall should only be taken by those who doctors decide that truly need it. 

Is Adderall a Gateway Drug?

We’ve established that it is addictive, but is Adderall a gateway drug? Most who use it medically don’t intend to use Adderall as a gateway drug. But Adderall can be addictive and act as a gateway to more dangerous substances as your tolerance builds. 

Adderall Gateway Drug Statistics 

While there are medical uses for Adderall, the misuse of this prescription stimulant has become a serious public health problem. In 2017, an estimated 18 million people misused prescription stimulants, depressants, or opioids.  

And Adderall is now one of the most common medications linked to prescription drug addiction. Whether you begin taking it medically or non-medically, many people find it hard to stop taking it. But long-term abuse can damage your health. 

What Makes Adderall Addictive? 

Adderall works by altering certain chemicals in our brains. The result is a wave of euphoria from the increased production of pleasure-inducing chemicals. These chemicals can also boost our focus, attention, and energy. 

But this feel-good effect is also what makes Adderall addictive. It is also the reason that Adderall is a Schedule II drug. Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse and the potential to lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. 

Cocaine, methamphetamine, and opium also fall into this drug category. But unlike these illicit substances, Adderall does have medical uses, which can make it confusing. Many people believe that prescription drugs are safe under all circumstances. 

This is a false and dangerous belief. And it makes it harder to identify abuse in the early stages. Nevertheless, there are always warning signs to look out for. The section below will detail some of the most common warning signs. 

Warning Signs of Adderall Addiction 

Warning Signs of Adderall Addiction 

If you’re worried that you or someone you love is addicted to Adderall, this is the first warning sign. When it comes to substance abuse, our instincts are generally correct. Most don’t have the necessary training to make a formal diagnosis, and that’s okay.  

There are warnings signs that may help you determine when it’s time to seek professional help. One of the first is mood changes. Typically, this would involve feelings of aggression or uncharacteristic mood swings. 

But it may also include things like hiding your drug use from loved ones, lying about your habits, or spending a disproportionate about of time obtaining drugs. Many will neglect hobbies, work, friends, and family because they are too focused on their drug use. 

Insomnia, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and stomach pains are also common warning signs of Adderall addiction. Once our brains or bodies become dependent on a substance, withdrawal symptoms will make it increasingly harder to quit. 

What Are Withdrawal Symptoms? 

These symptoms kick in shortly after you stop using the substance. Unfortunately, even when you take Adderall exactly the way it was prescribed, it can still result in physical dependence. This is one reason why doctors are becoming more cautious about using it. 

While following your prescription can lessen the risks, nothing can remove them. As your body becomes used to the effects of Adderall, you’ll need more of it to achieve the desired effects. And the withdrawal symptoms that appear when you go too long between doses may keep you coming back for more long after you decide to stop using it. 

Common Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms 

Interestingly enough, many Adderall withdrawal symptoms are opposites of the initial effects. Some of the most common Adderall withdrawal symptoms include depression, fatigue, and trouble concentrating. 

This shows us clearly that Adderall abuse, addiction, and long-term use can damage our mental health more than it helps it. Drug cravings, trouble falling asleep or staying asleep despite feeling tired, and mood swings are also common. 

These mood swings often involve bouts of depression, anxiety, or panic. Some even experience suicidal thoughts during withdrawals. Because it can have such a wide and overwhelming range of effects on our mental health, detoxing from Adderall at home can be dangerous. 

Everyone is different. The combination of mental and physical side effects that you experience during withdrawals may not be the same as what someone else experienced. These symptoms can range in terms of both type and severity depending on several individual factors. 

The dosage, frequency of use, method of use, and other substances in your body are just a few of the things that may alter your experience. But because so many people experience mental health impairments, we recommend detoxing in the comfort and safety of an accredited facility. 

Adderall Abuse and Addiction Treatments 

Adderall Abuse and Addiction Treatments 

Adderall addiction treatment centers like ours focus on treating the problem at its source. Treating only the symptoms instead of the root causes will leave the door open for future battles with addiction. Our residential drug treatment center offers effective addiction treatment with supervised detox.

From there, we will help you determine if inpatient or outpatient care will better suit your unique addiction, symptoms, and needs. In both settings, we offer proven addiction treatments, including behavioral therapies and peer support groups.  

Getting Help at The Discovery House 

If you or someone you love is abusing or addicted to Adderall, help is available. It’s time to rediscover your life at The Discovery House. Call us today at 818-452-1676 for more information about substance abuse rehab programs that work.