Adderall is a prescription drug used to improve focus in some individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In other cases, the drug is used for the treatment of a sleep disorder called narcolepsy, which is characterized by extreme episodes of sleepiness during daytime even if adequately rested.
Adderall is made from a mixture of amphetamines. Though it has a somewhat similar composition to the illegal drug meth (methamphetamine), Adderall is FDA-approved for treating ADHD. Adderall is a prescription drug, however, so you cannot get it without going to your doctor first.
When used properly, Adderall is effective against narcolepsy and ADHD. But some people misuse it as a study aid or a smart drug, making them more prone to dependence, addiction, and overdose.
If you suffer from an addiction to this drug, Adderall detox is one course of treatment you need to go through. Can it be done at home? Read on to find out more about the detox process and if it’s possible to perform at home.
Why is Adderall addictive?
Adderall is addictive when it is not used properly. When your doctor prescribes it to you, usually you start with the lowest possible dose. If it is not effective, your doctor will increase your dose by a little. It goes up incrementally until your doctor finds a dose effective for you.
When you use Adderall as prescribed, the risk of addiction is very low. But if you begin to misuse it, such as when you increase your dose on your own, the potential for addiction is much higher. This is because Adderall can have pleasurable, stimulating effects.
Adderall is a stimulant, and it acts on three specific brain molecules: serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. These molecules are known as neurotransmitters, which are like chemical messengers that transmit signals between neurons (brain cells). Adderall makes these three neurotransmitters more available, in effect speeding up the transmission of signals in the brain.
Too much Adderall can lead to a euphoric high because of the stimulating effects of the drug. This is what some people crave, so they take large doses of Adderall to get high.
Other people seek the improved levels of concentration that Adderall can give them. For that reason, some students and young professionals use Adderall as a kind of “smart drug.” Students who take the drug claim it helps them study better and focus more. Young professionals who take the drug say that they can vastly improve their productivity in the workplace.
Some individuals even crush Adderall tablets or empty the contents of Adderall capsules and snort the powder. They claim that taking the drug this way gives them a faster and more powerful high. But this is not the intended way of taking the drug. Doing so only exposes users to a greater risk of addiction and overdose.
What is Adderall detox?
Once you enroll in a treatment program for Adderall addiction, the first stage of treatment is Adderall detox. This process aims to eliminate all Adderall from your system. After detox, your body will be able to tolerate a zero dose of the drug.
Once you begin to stop taking Adderall, your body will react to its sudden absence. You will experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, which may include:
- Powerful urges to take more Adderall
- Panic attacks
- Heart palpitations
- Extreme hunger
- General unhappiness
- Suicidal tendencies
These symptoms can be made worse if you quit the drug cold turkey. For this reason, medical professionals do not advise you to stop taking Adderall right away when detoxing. Instead, a gradual taper works better.
When tapering off, your dose of Adderall is lowered progressively until you are taking none of the drug at all. This method gives your body ample time to adjust. After detox, the strong cravings for Adderall will have been gone.
Is it safe to detox at home?
Adderall detox at home seems promising, especially given the high costs of medically assisted detox programs. These programs can cost as much as $1,000 per day, so understandably, not many people can afford them. If you have insurance, it can offset a significant part of the cost, but you still have to pay whatever is not covered out of your own pocket. But if you detox at home, you likely do not have to spend a dime.
However, despite the cost savings, there are inherent dangers to detoxing at home. For one, you do not have medical professionals always standing by to come to your aid in case of an emergency. For example, if you experience seizures while detoxing, no one can rush to help right away. A family member needs to bring you to the hospital first before you can get medical attention. Those few minutes can become life or death situations, depending on how severe the seizures are.
Also, you may be putting your family members at risk. It is entirely possible for your behavior to turn aggressive while detoxing from Adderall. Inadvertently, you might channel this aggression towards members of your family. Your children, in particular, may become traumatized by such an experience.
Additionally, there is the danger of self-harm. Withdrawal may cause you to think of hurting yourself, so you need someone trained to help you avert those thoughts. Your family members might not know the right thing to do in case the threat of self-harm arises.
For these reasons, detoxing in a professionally managed setting is much more advisable.
Is it still possible to detox from Adderall at home?
If you really want to do home detox, you can increase your chances of success by getting professional help. You will need a team of medical and mental health professionals to assist you at home. Your family will also be taught how to guide you in your recovery journey.
The rule of thumb in home detox is always having professional help at the ready.