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Hi, my college daughter is abusing Adderall. She had problems with concentration, so she thought it was all right to buy this drug on the street. Now she is addicted, and I don’t know what to do.

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I have college children with the same problem. When I realized that my both daughter and son are addicted to Adderal, I was in shock. It was the last thing I expected from them, I really thought they were smarter. They confessed me everything. First, my daughter tried to get a prescription, but doctor wouldn’t give it to her. He said that there is too many college kids addicted to adderall. This drug can be found on the street illegally for $2 to $8 a pill, which makes this abusing much easier. I sent my children to a therapist who decided what next to do, and how to get off of adderall.
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I am a college student, and I have pretty severe ADD, and I have taken a pretty strong daily dosage of Adderall/Adderall XR for quite a few years. Though I know very little about how addiction is traditionally treated, I still think that I might be of some help. I have developed a pretty comprehensive understanding of the medicines used to treat attention disorders by reading articles from medical journals (good way to kill time).
From personal experience, the tendency to abuse dextroamphetamines stems from one (but occasionally both) of the two distinct effects of the drug. Some are drawn to the intense feelings of excitement and even euphoria felt at high dosages, often obtained by grinding it up and snorting it. Some, like me, are drawn to its ability to increase self-control, concentration, information retention, and overall productivity to incredible levels. I believe use of Adderall to achieve the euphoric effects more closely resembles a traditional drug addiction, and fortunately I have no firsthand experience in this area.
However, I did (and still do) feel a strong attraction to the productivity inducing aspects of the drug. A little more than a year ago I gradually began to self-medicate increases in my daily intake to the point where I was well exceeding (200-400%) my prescription. Just to give you an idea, at the peak of my intake, if I was buying off the street, I would be spending about 230 dollars a week on Adderall. It was not uncommon for me to go 80-100 hours without sleep, and even a day or two without real food. At some point during my use of Adderall, I have had nearly all of the listed side effects to varying degrees. I would just drone the hours away in my room building electronics or doing pointless research on whatever seemed interesting, not wanting to ever come down from the marathon of high-intensity concentration.
Inevitably, I would start getting tired, or, more commonly, I would realize how long it had been since I had last slept and would force myself to come down. One way or another, down I came, sometimes sleeping away entire weekends broken only by trips to satisfy my starved body’s demand for nourishment. In the waking hours that enveloped my multi-day sprees, I was frequently depressed. While on high dosages of Adderall I would become antisocial and easily irritable, and was overall an unhealthy person, both physically and mentally. So I decided to normalize my dosage.
I firmly believe that in order to best treat addiction you need to understand its appeal. The reason drugs are so dangerous is because they feel so good. As a kid, we are told that if we put our minds to it and try our hardest we can do anything. Adderall allows you to dedicate yourself completely to a task and work your hardest (a little harder even) for ridiculous stretches of time. While you are off it, it can be difficult to accept an average level of productivity when you know what can be done with just a few cheap orange (or blue or pink) pills.
For me, the key to stopping my abuse was at the end of the day, when I felt myself slowing down, I would find some friends to go out and do something for an hour or three, and once I was normal, to learn not to put unwarranted value in being productive when it wasn’t required. It wasn’t easy, but it was entirely possible, and as long as you understand the causes of your own behavior and gradually cut back using realistic strategies.
Pucciarelli, you mentioned that your daughter has concentration problems, which causes her to buy off the street. If she has psychiatrically verifiable attention deficiencies, she should get tested and treated accordingly. There are six major medicines prescribed as treatments to attention problems, and Adderall is arguably the worst in terms of potency and potential for abuse. There is even a relatively new non-stimulant based treatment called Strattera (Atomoxetine) that has little to no potential for abuse. Just this past February, the FDA approved Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine), which affects the body exactly the same as Adderall, but with substantially lessened potential for abuse. The reason I am sitting where I am today (UCLA) is because my family and I found out what problems I was having, thoroughly examined my situation, and treated them effectively.
I hope my personal experiences enable anyone who reads this testimony to better understand Adderall and its abuse and maybe even use it to help yourself and others.
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This is great help for me, I just discovered my son is addicted to adderall. Thank you.
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