While there are often stories in the news about painkiller addiction and the individuals who enter inpatient substance abuse treatment to overcome their dependence on these drugs, it is important for people to realize that painkillers are not the only prescription medications that they can become addicted to. Elle magazine published an article by a woman who was addicted to the medication Adderall for several years. This is one of many drugs that is commonly prescribed for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but is often taken by people who are trying to focus on work or school.
The author, Ruthie Friedlander, explained that when she was first prescribed Adderall, she truly believed she needed it. It was a very chaotic time in her life, and she was having trouble focusing. After a short session with her doctor she was given a prescription for the pills, and she soon found that she was addicted.
“It took about a month for me to get hooked. I remember the first few times I felt symptoms of withdrawal – clammy hands, dry mouth, and nausea among them. But that Adderall-induced feeling had become my new normal. I wasn’t only doing well in school; I was doing well in life. Need to be up for an early breakfast? Take a pill. Need to be happy for dinner with the parents? Take a pill. Need to feel super energized for the Barney’s Warehouse liquidation? Pre-sample sale pill popping was fine by me,” Friedlander wrote for Elle.
She explained that while she knew that people good get addicted to prescription pills, she did not think that it could happen to her. Friedlander thought that she would stop using Adderall after she graduated college, but she found that she was afraid she would gain weight if she stopped so she continued to do so. She had resigned herself to taking the pill forever until the one night where she was out to dinner with her mother, who expressed that she thought Friedlander was using drugs.
“It was less confrontation than inquiry, but it was enough to make me think about thinking about stopping. I mean, I never had ADHD. What I had, in retrospect, was depression,” Friedlander wrote for the news source.
After coming to this realization, Friedlander went to therapy where she got the help she needed to wean herself off of Adderall.
Exploring Adderall abuse
While anyone can get addicted to Adderall, abuse of this drug is particularly common among college students. CNN reported on a study conducted at the University of Kentucky, which found that 30 percent of students had illegally used ADHD drugs like Adderall or Ritalin. While many people may assume that this drug is safe to take in many forms because it is prescribed by a doctor, it is important to note that the federal government has labeled Adderall a schedule II drugs.
CNN spoke to Raymond Kotwicki, M.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Emory University’s school of medicine in Atlanta, who explained that students need to understand what while Adderall may temporarily help them concentrate, it could cause mood or functioning problems over time.
Furthermore, there are side effects to using Adderall. Kotwicki explained that jitters, headaches, stomach problems and even psychosis can occur when people are taking Adderall. These side effects may be more common among people who are abusing this drug.
Prescription pills can be dangerous, and people who are using these drugs without the supervision of a doctor should consider contacting an addiction treatment center where they can get the help they need.