Due to Adderall’s ability to increase the brain’s dopamine levels and disrupt normal transmissions in the brain, even medical use of the drug can be habit forming. As Adderall use increases, its potential for addiction can increase, with the CDC reporting on some of the highest risk groups among high school students.
Statistics from the 2009 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey showed the highest percentage of prescription drug abuse to be among white high school students. A total of 23 percent of white students admitted to non-medical use of Adderall or other prescription drugs, compared to 17 percent of Hispanic students and 12 percent of black students. High school seniors were at the highest risk age-wise, with 26 percent of 12th graders reporting prescription drug abuse compared to the 15 percent of ninth graders.
Increased Risk of Addiction
Certain characteristics and environmental factors can also increase a person’s potential for developing an addiction to Adderall. Peer pressure can play a role in drug abuse and subsequent addiction, as can genetic factors. Mayo Clinic reports that a family history of addiction to alcohol or drugs can increase the risk of addiction for all family members. The risk is typically highest if a blood relative, such as brother, sister or parent, is the one suffering from addiction.
Psychological issues can increase a person’s risk for addiction, especially if someone is suffering from depression or anxiety. Those diagnosed with other disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or even ADHD, may find it is easier to become addicted to substances than those without any psychological problems.
Loneliness can help prompt addiction when people turn to drugs as a way to alleviate uncomfortable or distressing emotions. Lack of family involvement can also play a role. Children who lack parental supervision and are largely left on their own have a higher risk of both encountering and abusing drugs.
The Long-Term Effects and Recovery
The consequences of Adderall addiction, or addiction to any drug, can include a wholesale decay of the body, mind and spirit. Physical and mental health can deteriorate, as can any hope for or faith in the future. A person’s world becomes extremely small in the throes of addiction, with the next hit or snort as the only thing that matters.
The risk of death and addiction are always intertwined at some level. Death can come from a drug overdose, severe allergic reaction or fatal side effects. It can also occur through suicide when the mental anguish and despair of addiction simply becomes too much to bear.
Recovery programs are always an option, with Adderall addiction often responding well to the same type of recovery programs used to treat other stimulants, such as cocaine and methamphetamine. NIDA reports that a number of behavioral therapies have been effective as part of an Adderall treatment plan, inclusive of cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, motivational management and 12-step facilitation.