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How to Help Someone Addicted to Adderall

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Helping someone addicted to Adderall can be difficult. In order to support your loved one, it’s important to educate yourself on the signs of Adderall abuse, and learn how to talk about treatment options.

Prescription drug abuse can be challenging to address. Many people who abuse Adderall or other prescriptions are getting the drugs from their doctor, for treatment of a serious medical issue.

People who are prescribed Adderall may be struggling with symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or narcolepsy. However, many people with Adderall prescriptions end up abusing the drug.

It can be overwhelming to realize someone you love may be dealing with Adderall addiction. It’s important to know the signs and symptoms of Adderall abuse and to share your concern with your loved one. You may also want to share the life-saving option of addiction treatment.

What Is Adderall?

Adderall is the brand name for dextroamphetamine-amphetamine. This stimulant drug may also be prescribed as Adderall XR, which is an extended-release tablet that releases the drug’s effects over time.

Adderall abuse rates have skyrocketed in recent years. Many people abuse this medication on college campuses, believing it enhances focus and academic performance. Unfortunately, Adderall is also known to be highly addictive and can lead to serious health risks.

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What Are The Signs Of Adderall Addiction?

People who are addicted to Adderall may be abusing their own prescription, or buying the tablets off the street. When a person is suffering from Adderall abuse, they may take the prescription in larger or more frequent doses than directed. This can result in euphoria, or feeling “high.”

Another way to abuse Adderall is to change the method of use. Adderall tablets are meant to be taken orally. People struggling with Adderall abuse may crush and snort the tablet, to increase the drug’s stimulating effects (insufflation).

Intranasal use can cause a person to become addicted to Adderall even faster. Snorting Adderall causes the full dose to hit the brain all at once and can result in overdose.

If a person is snorting Adderall, they may seem extremely alert or jumpy. People abusing Adderall may also struggle with severe mood swings, or display a change in personality.

Additional signs that someone is on Adderall include:

  • anxiety
  • agitation
  • missing cash or valuables
  • twitching body parts
  • persistent runny nose
  • difficulty falling asleep
  • tic-like behaviors
  • grinding teeth
  • insomnia
  • change in appetite
  • verbal outbursts
  • weight loss

How To Approach Your Loved One About Adderall Addiction

If you are concerned that someone you love is abusing Adderall, there is help available. Treatment centers across the U.S. work with families who are affected by Adderall addiction.

Your loved one can benefit from hearing about these treatment options from you. As difficult as it may be, it’s important to approach the problem directly.

Many times, family members think they’re making a big deal out of nothing, or that the problem will go away in time. Unfortunately, this rarely happens. If something seems “off” about your loved one, trust your instinct.

Approach your friend or family member about their drug use, and let them know that treatment is available. This type of supportive confrontation is sometimes called an intervention.

Types Of Interventions

The goal of staging an intervention is to help your loved one get help at an addiction treatment center.

There are several types of interventions, and there is no one “right way” for everyone. Each situation is unique, and only you will know the best approach for your family member.

Friend And Family Interventions

In this situation, a group of friends or family members approach the person suffering from addiction. A member of the group may bring up concerns about the person’s drug use, and others in the room may share how this person’s drug use has personally impacted them.

While it’s important to have several people present at the intervention, try to avoid having more than one person talking at a time. The person suffering from Adderall addiction may express a defensive or angry attitude. Try not to take any negative responses personally.

Communicate your support as a group. Let the person know this support will continue if they enter treatment. Share any treatment options that are available.

Professional Interventions

Some families have struggled with interventions gone awry. Perhaps they tried to have a difficult talk with their loved one, and the conversation did not go well. For this reason, many people find it helpful to have a professional counselor present at the intervention.

Addiction counselors and intervention specialists bring families together, in order to address addiction issues and explore treatment options. These professional experts offer an objective and informed viewpoint, and can help keep the conversation solution-focused.

Adderall addiction can be a life and death situation. It’s vital for your loved one to know they have an opportunity to recover. Regardless of which intervention style seems right for you, let your loved one know that treatment is available and recovery is possible.

Treatment For Adderall Addiction

Rehab centers across the country offer addiction treatment for those struggling with Adderall abuse. Many treatment programs offer on-site detoxification programs, in order to help those who are Adderall-dependent get through the difficult withdrawal stage.

Once a person successfully detoxes, they are able to begin treatment. This may include individual, group, and family counseling. Many rehab centers offer faith-based treatment options, as well as 12-step support and relapse prevention.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that people who spend at least 90 days in treatment have better recovery outcomes. If you are concerned about treatment cost, many private and public insurance companies can help to make treatment more affordable.

How To Support Your Loved One During Treatment

If your loved one agrees to go to treatment, it can be tempting to believe that the problem has now been solved. While it is a relief to know your loved one is getting the help they need, it’s important to realize they will now need your support more than ever.

There are several ways to support your family member while they are in treatment. If their rehab center offers family counseling sessions, make a point to attend. Showing up for your loved one will mean more than you know, even if they aren’t able to show their appreciation.

If your loved one is attending an outpatient treatment program, they may need transportation to and from their therapy sessions. Discuss expectations up front, and let them know how and when you are able to help.

How To Support Your Loved One After Treatment

After treatment, your loved one will need continued support. If they are coming to live with you, consider keeping a drug- and alcohol-free home. This way, they are simply transitioning from one sober environment (the treatment program) into another sober environment.

Many families attend support groups, in order to learn how to best understand themselves in relation to their loved one’s addiction. Taking good physical and emotional care of yourself will enable you to be a healthier support system for your loved one.

Don’t underestimate the power of a positive support system. Many professionals say it is one of the biggest contributing factors, among those who find lasting recovery.

For more information on how to help someone addicted to Adderall, contact one of our treatment specialists today.

MedlinePlus - Dextroamphetamine and Amphetamine

National Institute on Drug Abuse - Prescription Stimulants

National Institute on Drug Abuse - Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition)

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