Adderall is a psychostimulant made from a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Because Adderall carries the potential of being abused and can be addictive, it was deemed a Schedule II substance under the Controlled Substances Act.
According to SAMHSA’s 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 425,000 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 reported abusing amphetamine products such as Adderall. The same survey found that 2.5 million adults between ages 18 and 25 had abused Adderall or similar prescription medications.
Adderall Addiction Starts with Adderall Abuse
Adolescents and young adults are often grossly misinformed about what it means to abuse a medication and the risks they inherit when they do so.
What is prescription drug abuse?
- Taking more than what is prescribed
- Taking the medication for recreational or any non-medicinal purpose
- Taking someone else’s medication
Why do people abuse Adderall?
Many young adults, especially college students, who have reported Adderall abuse said they did so in order to stay awake longer or to enhance academic performance. College students often feel overwhelmed by the combination of academic, professional, and social obligations they now must tend to, and so turn to stimulants like Adderall to push their bodies and minds to their limits. Adderall is a dangerous drug to begin with; when people start abusing it, things can go downhill quickly.
‘ScarFunkle’ can’t imagine handling his workload without Adderall
“I am extremely worried about my long-term health and can’t imagine a single way that Adderall is good for me in the long run. I am afraid of quitting, though. The withdrawal will be so hard. I am attending college, have a major in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science as well as Business Administration with minors in Economics and Speech, as well as my job, a girlfriend, involved in my fraternity, student government, and a calculus tutor on campus, I make my own electronic music and in the middle of creating a new social networking website. I don’t want to drop any of these activities as I love every one of them.”
Adderall Addiction Stories—Health Problems & Personality Changes
By listening to the personal stories of others who have experienced Adderall addiction, friends and family can learn about what signs and symptoms to look for if they fear someone close to them may be abusing or addicted to Adderall.
Sleep often eludes abusers of Adderall. Those who are addicted to Adderall will often stay awake for days at a time, and then crash—hard.
Maggie’s Adderall addiction story— wired weeks and weekend crashes
‘Maggie0704’ says, when she was taking Adderall, she would stay up until 4 or 5 a.m. every night, and then get up and go to work at 9 a.m. on weekdays. Then on the weekends, she would sleep the entire length of the day, only waking up to darkness and still staying up until 4 a.m. the next morning. She is thankful her parents put her in a rehab program. After quitting Adderall, ‘Maggie0704’ feels “back to normal” again.
‘KawaiiiGal’ increases her Adderall dosage and is worried about the results
After being diagnosed with ADHD, ‘KawaiiGal’ started out on 10 mg prescription of Adderall. Within roughly nine months of starting to take Adderall, her doctor increased her dosage to 30 mg per day. She says, “About a month ago, I felt like my body started having adverse reactions. I started to feel too speedy, and started having heart palpitations and anxiety attacks, and shortage of breath (having trouble being able to take one of those satisfying deep breaths)…”
Tremors or tics
‘RTHill1982’ has developed compulsory tics after building a tolerance to his Adderall prescription
Considering he has never had any type of attention deficit disorder, “RTHill1982” quickly built up a tolerance to Adderall once his parents made him start taking it with the hopes that it would improve his grades. At one point, his prescribed dosage was as high as 80 mg per day. “RTHill1982” was surprised to learn about one of the medication’s possible side effects firsthand. He says, “I have learned that Tourette’s/tic-like symptoms are a possible side effect of this med and I’m embarrassed to say that every day in this last year I have struggled with making involuntary noises in my throat. Keeping friends and family from hearing these weird sounds is hard enough but what really sucks is when I wear out my throat so much that eventually it becomes sore. Eventually I am forced into popping my ears constantly and I want nothing more than to be off this damn medication I never wanted on in the first place.”
Kristin gets ‘meth-skinny’ because of her Adderall abuse
Kristin says, when she was on Adderall she barely ate and was starting to “look like a meth abuser” as she puts it, a skin-and-bones frame and all drawn-out looking. She wasn’t too concerned about her weight loss until one day, she went to a doctor’s appointment and the nurse needed to use a child’s blood pressure cuff because her arms had gotten so tiny. After that, she knew she needed to make some immediate changes.
Kaitlyn is recently single due to her inability to control her Adderall addiction
“For over a year now, I have been sneaking my girlfriend’s Adderall. We have been together for two years, and she just recently broke up with me because I finally broke down and told her the truth. She told me if it happened again, we were done…and I didn’t listen.
“I took 4 more…like what the f*** is wrong with me?
“I’m obviously addicted, as I was able to convince myself that I could get away with taking more knowing full well what the consequences were. I’ve hurt her…bad. And she is so depressed by it. I asked her to stay with me, and that I would get help… and she just needed to keep fighting with me. But she just simply said she doesn’t have any fight left in her. I get it. I really do. But it still doesn’t make the hurt go away.
“She is the love of my life, and she is the woman I want to eventually marry. I have to make things right. I have to get help. Not just to save myself, but to save our relationship. It’s so hard getting through the day without Adderall and without seeing her. But I have to be strong. I have to get her back. I’m so disgusted with myself for letting things get this far.”
Mandy’s Mom has an Adderall addiction that makes her abusive and hateful
“My name is Mandy, and my story is about my Mom and her current state of mind, as she is truly addicted to Adderall and Ritalin.
“My mom has become a monster. I don’t even think she is herself, anymore.” Mandy says she has her own place now but goes to visit her mom every so often. But ever since she started abusing Adderall (among other medications), she became extremely violent.
Mandy talks about one of the days she went to visit her mom. “She and my dad were having an argument like they always do…they have never been in a violent fight, but that night my mom was being taunted. Being high on Adderall, she picked up the bedside fan and hit him with it about 8 times, and she pulled his hair. My brother had to break the fight up. My mom really messed up Dad’s elbow, but because he was drinking HE went to jail.
“My mom is vindictive, spiteful, controlling and she also lies, steals, hits, says mean cruel things. She told me how if dad were asleep she would have killed him! As far [gone] as she is when using Adderall, I think she could.”
Other physical symptoms
‘Allie88’ loses control of her Adderall addiction…and starts to feel the consequences
“As I write this, I have been up for an entire 24 hours already and have taken more than I can even count. I stopped counting the amount I pop in my mouth a day, I am too afraid to calculate and I am beginning to feel the physical side effects more and more. My body parts fall asleep all the time, my vision and hearing is erratic, the scariest is that I feel pains in the area of my heart frequently and I have been breaking out in pimples and rashes all over my face, arms, legs, buttocks and other places of my body.”
Adderall Addiction Stories That End in Recovery
Tyler says a high GPA wasn’t worth his sanity
“My name is Tyler Ward. I am 22 years old and I took Ritalin, Focalin, Adderall, Vyvanse, and every other ADHD medication since I was 8-11 (I really do not know what age I started it all…it was VERY YOUNG).”
Tyler is a college senior at a private university in Florida. As a finance major, the amount of analytical work he had to for his classes and various projects was entirely overwhelming to the point that he said he simply could not do the work without his medication.
While taking the psychostimulant, Tyler says he became lazy, overweight, and was rarely happy. The only time he remembers being happy during that period was either when he reached the peak of his Adderall high and smoked a cigarette or when he got a good grade on something he had used his Adderall to work on.
Tyler knew the psychostimulants were bad for his body, but his reason for staying on the medication was the same as any other person’s who is addicted to Adderall: “However, it was completely legal and my doctor prescribed it to me.”
Tyler was terrified of what would happen if he stopped taking the pills right in the middle of his senior year, when he was already straining himself to balance school and his job at a financial portfolio company. He currently had a 3.8 GPA and if he continued to do well, was guaranteed a job right out of college starting at $75,000 per year. He was not about to throw all that away.
One day, as he was sitting at home, doing some tedious work involving pages and pages of numeric data, he debated taking more than his usual dose since his dose from that morning was starting to wear off and he still had a lot of work to do. Then he remembered that the last time he did that, it made him sick and he wasn’t able to sleep for days. In the end, he decided not to take the extra dose, but every day he struggled in his race against the clock, trying to see how much he could accomplish before the effects of the drug wore off.
Finally, Tyler snapped. “I was going insane and I knew that I couldn’t live the rest of my life like this,” he says. At first, Tyler just wanted to stop his medication and run away from it all—his job, school, his abusive girlfriend, and from his parents, who would surely be confused as to why he stopped taking the Adderall if things seemed to be “going so well” for him.
Tyler says, “Instead, I put in my two-week notice and joined a gym. I sat in the sweat room for two hours a day feeling like I was sweating all the toxins out of my body after a long workout. I switched to eating all organic healthy foods. I began even showering with organic soaps and body washes and shampoos to ensure that I was releasing excess chemicals from my body and not adding any.” Tyler also stopped drinking excessively.
“I lost 35 pounds, got a six pack abs…my company” (a venture he started while in school, but had never invested any serious time in, until now) “is starting to take off now and I am about to graduate college. My GPA has dropped from a 3.8 to a 3.4…but just think…what were those 0.4 points worth? A whole new life I tell you. They were worth every bit of a whole new life.”
To the readers of his Adderall addiction story, Tyler says, “You, just like me, thought you were doing well for yourself either through bringing yourself false success or happiness.” But now, Tyler has realized the means don’t always justify the ends; he thinks everyone would enjoy their own successes even more knowing they had to work to overcome them, instead of ‘speeding their way to the top.’
James involves loved ones in his recovery process to help hold him accountable
“The most important thing you can do is talk to the people in your life whom you love. When I broke down and decided to quit for good, the first thing I did was call my mom. By this point she knew I was abusing Adderall. I told her I was done. That I wanted to cancel my prescription. Had I not involved my mom in my attempt to quit, I wouldn’t have lasted very long. Admitting your addiction to loved ones, and stating your intention to quit, solidifies your commitment through the days of intense cravings that follow cessation.
“If none of these options sound appealing, let me leave you with this: you won’t regret quitting. It will suck at first, but you’ll soon be reintroduced to the natural joys of life, and wonder how you ever eschewed them for such an artificial feeling. After some time, the simple joys of life will fulfill you again. After the worst part of the withdrawal, your true self will emerge and give you the strength to continue your recovery. You’ll look back in horror at the person Adderall turned you into. Recovery will become your new addiction. And unlike Adderall, it only gets better with each passing day.”
‘Q’ shares his Adderall addiction story about how he quit…and survived
“There is a special place where I go in the mountains to solve my personal problems. So I planned a four day weekend to achieve the quit. I took enough pills with me for one last addie blast but the day was unremarkable and my last dance with Adderall was anticlimactic. I burned my last pill in the campfire at midnight on June 3…
“After the residual energy wore off the next day I went into withdrawals for three days. I had to take one extra day off work but I was able to function again by day 4…
“I believe that a balanced diet with good nutrition and limited sugar intake helped me to recover better. The supplements I took also made for a better recovery: l-Tyrosine, fish oil capsules, and a good multivitamin. Whenever I feel the need for speed, I consume lots of caffeine, red bull, five hour energy, and any other herbal supplement that purports to energize…
“Each day is better than the day before in recovery, and I know that eventually I won’t constantly think about Adderall after I have fully recovered. Recovery could take me longer than a year and if it does, so be it…
“We take pills for a quick and easy fix for life’s problems. Isn’t it ironic that there is no pill to speed (no pun intended) up the recovery process from (pill) addiction? The only thing that works is continuous time away from your drug(s) of choice. It is great to be free!”
How to Avoid Writing Your Own Adderall Addiction Story
Sometimes, it takes hearing someone else’s Adderall addiction story for other people to realize that they too may have a problem. Adderall isn’t the first thing a person thinks of when he or she hears the word addiction because it is a completely legal medication that is prescribed by health care professionals on a daily basis. Hopefully, reading some of these Adderall addiction stories can change some perspectives as to just how dangerous the drug really is.
For those who think they may have a problem, these last few Adderall addiction stories are excellent examples of people who truly thought they could not function without Adderall. Then they quit. After the initial withdrawals, a person’s quality of life increases immeasurably.