Last updated: 07/1/2021
Author: Dr Alan Lucks, MD
Reading Time: 6 minutes
Adderall addiction treatment is a complex and complicated process with many phases and requires a well-thought-out and comprehensive plan.
When there is an addiction, there is physical and emotional dependence, so it’s also important to know if you have any other underlying conditions such as depression or anxiety. These issues will be discussed with you and your health care provider before any decision is made.
Because there are no FDA-approved medications to cure an Adderall addiction, there is no “magic bullet” to make this process simple. Treatment involves a give-and-take approach to this problem, and it becomes a joint project.
Table of Contents
Inpatient and Outpatient Rehab for Adderall Addiction
Inpatient treatment of an Adderall addiction is safer than outpatient care. If you are treated as an inpatient, you are monitored carefully for any side effects or complications that may occur. Inpatient care has fewer risks than rehab as an outpatient.
You may insist on outpatient treatment for various reasons, such as if your addiction is mild or you cannot miss time from school or work. Discussions will occur between you and the rehab team to ensure the best decision for you and your health is made.
Detox from Adderall
The first step in treating Adderall addiction is to detox the system. It is safer to do this in an inpatient setting unless your addiction is very mild or you are very young. Inpatient treatment reduces some of the danger of withdrawal, which can be life-threatening, by offering close medical supervision and treatment.
Although no medications are approved for curing an Adderall addiction, some drugs (e.g., Thorazine) are given to counteract the withdrawal effects. Certain methods and techniques can be used to make this process less traumatic to your system. Your health care provider may prescribe naltrexone to decrease Adderall cravings while you are detoxing.
These are prescription medicines that are safer to use in an inpatient setting for detox.
Counseling is an important aspect of Adderall addiction treatment. Here, issues are discussed, and a recovery plan is developed to help in the future. Counseling may be a combination of:
Your family and friends are helpful in this phase of treatment as everyone will get a better understanding of the situation. If you are young, parental assistance and moral support are crucial.
The length of treatment will vary from person to person. In adolescents, counseling of 3 months or more improves outcomes.5 Relapses can occur, and more than one course of treatment may be necessary.6
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a form of behavioral therapy that is used commonly for many illnesses.6 It is especially effective in drug treatment programs such as for Adderall addiction. CBT tries to change how you think, feel, and behave.9
It deals with present-day problems rather than analyzing events that occurred many years ago. Coping skills are taught so you can make better decisions when faced with difficult choices. CBT methods include:
- Keeping a diary
- Scheduled therapy sessions
- Practicing CBT
Contingency Management (CM)
CM uses immediate reinforcement for beneficial behavior related to Adderall abuse and addiction. You are given incentives for positive actions related to drug addiction. These incentives may include money, prizes, or vouchers given when you attend therapy sessions or achieve goals related to your treatment.
Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)
MET is a counseling technique where the therapist tries to motivate you into continuing treatment and discontinuing drug use. The counselor discusses your need for treatment and provides feedback in a non-confrontational manner.
Twelve-Step Facilitation Therapy
This is the 12-step program used by Alcoholics Anonymous.7 This program begins by admitting that you have no control over your addiction, and help is required.
Many variants of this program are available, including those for Adderall addiction. You will look to a higher power to help you in recovery and attend regular meetings—the peer-to-peer support aspect is crucial and helpful.
In family therapy, relatives and even peers are engaged to help you deal with your Adderall addiction. A wide range of topics are discussed, including:8
- Unhealthy family situations
- Mental health issues
Family therapy is usually an outpatient event and is extremely important for adolescents. Family interactions are important, and the home environment is discussed in detail.
Overdoses can occur for multiple reasons. For example, you may increase your dosage of Adderall because you’ve built up a tolerance, and you need higher levels of the drug to get the same effects. Agitation or carelessness may also cause accidental overdoses.
Adderall, when crushed, snorted, injected via I.V., or rubbed into the gums, causes a large amount of the drug to enter the bloodstream quickly. This rapid, high-level stimulant is a shock to the body and can have serious consequences.
Treatment for Adderall Overdoses
Adderall overdoses are usually treated in a hospital since you will typically need gastric lavage, activated charcoal, and I.V. fluids to help hydrate you and eliminate some of the drugs.
The main objective in treating you at this stage of the illness is to provide supportive care, so you don’t experience organ failure. If the medical team can stabilize your vital signs and prolong normal organ functions, your body rids itself of the Adderall and heal.
The medication Thorazine may also be given to help counteract Adderall’s effects on your central nervous system.
Adderall Aftercare Treatment
Upon completion of an Adderall treatment program, success continues with counseling and supportive services. Because Adderall addiction can reoccur, counseling should continue to ensure that any flare-up or relapse is caught early and dealt with.
Other medical problems you may have, such as depression and anxiety, will also require ongoing treatment. You mustn’t feel abandoned and realize that help is continuing to assist you.
Call 800-926-9037 Who Answers? to speak with a treatment specialist and find an Adderall rehab center.
Approved Uses of Adderall
Adderall is approved for the treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy.
ADHD is a disorder where you exhibit impulsive behavior, an inability to focus, and hyperactivity. In children, these symptoms exceed what you see in their peers. No blood or lab tests can diagnose this disorder, so a medical evaluation is usually done by a physician or psychologist.
In children, teachers and school personnel can help aid with the diagnosis. ADHD has no known cause, but a genetic component may play a part in this disease. Other contributing factors in developing ADHD appear to be premature birth, brain injuries, smoking, alcohol use, and stress during pregnancy. Both children and adults may have this abnormality.
Narcolepsy is a sleep condition characterized by drowsiness and an inability to stay awake during normal daytime hours.2 If you have narcolepsy, you may fall asleep during the day at inopportune times.
Narcolepsy is dangerous depending on the activity done at the time it’s triggered—it is not unusual to fall asleep while driving, for example. Although narcolepsy has no cure, medications such as Adderall and behavioral therapy can help.3
While Adderall has legitimate uses, it can be easy to get addicted to it because:
- It a highly addictive substance.
- Adderall addiction can be present with the misuse of other substances.
- Patients take Adderall at higher levels or more than prescribed.
- Individuals take inflated doses to “feel high.”
- Genetics may play a part in addiction.
- Environmental factors may make it more addictive.
- Psychological issues may increase addiction risk.
Why Is Adderall Misuse and Addiction Dangerous?
Adderall is an amphetamine and a strong stimulant. Even at “normal” doses, it can cause sudden death when structural cardiac abnormalities or other heart problems are present.
Giving the lowest dose of Adderall is the desired policy because of the possibility of misuse and overdosage.6 The dangers of Adderall misuse include:
- Lower threshold for seizures
- Drug interactions that cause multi-organ abnormalities
- Sudden death
- Increased blood pressure.
- Bipolar episodes
- Suppression of growth in children
The signs and symptoms of Adderall misuse include:4
- High blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeats
- Increased body temperature
- Possible paranoia
- Feeling “high”
- Decreased appetite
- Weight loss
- Difficulty sleeping
- Mood swings
- Food and Drug Administration. Adderall (II). March 2007.
- Ropper AH, et al. Sleep and Its Abnormalities: Introduction. Adams and Victor’s Principles of Neurology. 10th New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2014.
- Scammell, T. E. (2015). Narcolepsy. New England Journal of Medicine. 373:2654-2552.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020). Misuse of Prescription Drugs Research Report.
- Hser, Y. et al. (2001). An Evaluation of Drug Treatments for Adolescents in 4 US Cities. Archives of General Psychiatry. 58(7), 689-695.
- National Institute of Drug Abuse. (2014). Principles of Adolescent Substance Use Disorder Treatment: A Research-Based Guide.
- Alcoholics Anonymous. (n.d.). What is A.A.?
- Hogue, A. and Liddle, H.A. (2009). Family-Based Treatment For Adolescent Substance Abuse: Controlled Trials And New Horizons In Services Research. Journal of Family Therapy. 31(2), 126-154.
- Davis, K. (2018). How does cognitive behavioral therapy work?