It’s no secret that Adderall is and Vyvanse have become some of America’s favorite drugs. It’s given to kids who have too much energy, and it is taken by students across the country to GIVE them energy and focus. It was hailed as a wonder drug for children during the explosion of ADHD diagnosis since the late 90’s, and it has been passed out like candy since then.
So why do people become so addicted to it? What started this love affair between America and stimulants? Turns out, it didn’t start over the last few decades, but much, much earlier.
The History of Amphetamines!
A brief synopsis, bear with me. So, back in the 1800’s, a Romanian chemist by the name of Lazar Edeleanu synthesized the first back of Amphetamines, did a whole bunch of research on it, but never really looked into how it affected people physiologically.
After that, an American biochemist named Gordon Alles decided it would be a good idea to inject himself with 50 milligrams of the drug to start experimenting with how it affected his brain, his behavior, etc. He was actually testing to see if the drug would be helpful in combating his allergies, but discovered that, while yes his allergies cleared up a little bit, but also discovered that he had a bunch of energy and he didn’t need to sleep, fancy that!
So, it became a miracle drug that both the Nazi regime and the allied forces used during World War II to help keep soldiers lively and full of pep! In the 50’s, amphetamines started to become popular among mothers and housewives and were dubbed, “mother’s little helpers” as they not only helped promote weight loss, but they also helped keep them active and focused and surprisingly attentive to detail (sound familiar?).
After that, there was this sort of downward decline of amphetamines when it started to become widely abused by bikers and beatniks and then the punk and gay communities started going in full force with speed, so the government started the crackdown on its ease of distribution.
The Current Status of Amphetamines
Today, American’s from elementary school age to adults in college and beyond are still getting prescribed the drug, just now in the form of Adderall and Vyvanse. Nowadays, it is usually distributed illegally, sold through college friends, etc.
Well, long story short, and coming from a now sober drug addict, because they got the job done. For students taking full course loads, most likely working a job, and sometimes even playing sports too, the extra boost seems necessary.
The tricky part, like with anything else in life, is finding a healthy balance. Like with any potentially dangerous and addictive drug, too much can happen easily, and it can happen without intention.
What Makes Adderall Addictive?
So, although it is prescribed like candy in the U.S., and has been deemed safe for use in children, it is still a drug. The effects of Adderall and Vyvanse are still similar to cocaine, and they are stimulants. Just like with any other drug, the user can develop a tolerance to the drug, requiring greater amounts and with increased frequency. This is the recipe for addiction.
Similarly to many other drugs, Adderall, and Vyvanse work by increasing dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is generally the body’s euphoria chemical, which creates the process of a “reward system”. In other words, the more a person uses it, the happier they feel, until the dopamine reserves start to deplete, and the user requires more and more.
In general, the side effects produced by stimulants such as Adderall and Vyvanse include:
- Nervousness, restlessness, irritability, and agitation
- Dizziness, headache, tremors, blurred vision
- Anxiety, agitation, fear, insomnia
- Weakness, diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting
Despite all of the side effects, people generally use it, at least for those who are not actually prescribed it, for added energy, focus, as well as for weight loss and increased athletic performance.
The dangerous part here, as well as with any drug that is taken without a doctor’s orders, is that, for people who abuse Adderall without a prescription, an inherent risk can come from mixing the drugs with other drugs.
For example, since Adderall and Vyvanse are both stimulants, when added to other stimulants such as cocaine, or with depressants such as alcohol, not to mention any other antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications, the combination can often lead to overdose, heart failure, or stroke.
Who Abuses Adderall?
Primarily speaking, and although we have mostly only covered a small age range, there has been evidence and data leading to the fact that Adderall is actually one of the most common drugs to abuse in the U.S., among many age ranges, if we are not including alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and nicotine in the picture.
Studies show that most people do not receive treatment for an Adderall addiction until the age of 23. This does show that most people are probably introduced to the drug during their teen years, and it takes a few more to feel the weight of the addiction enough to get help. However, Adderall is still widely used by Americans aged between 25-40, primarily to help with all of the busy hours of the day.
According to researchers, the most common types of people who abuse Adderall are:
- People with Eating Disorders
Why Adderall and Vyvanse Addiction Happen So Easily
The main difference between prescription drugs and illegal, street drugs, is that it is much easier for people to validate using the drugs since they form one way or another, came from a doctor’s orders.
Similarly to benzodiazepines, painkillers, and antidepressants, simply because a Physician prescribed them, allows many people to tell themselves that they are not dangerous or addictive, even if it says so on the bottle.
That validation, plus the ease with which studying, dieting, and energy comes from eating or even snorting the pill, leads many people into the elusive addiction of Adderall and Vyvanse.
Getting Sober With Restore
At the end of the day, some of us require a bit of additional help before comfortably moving into any type of sober residence. Addiction will show up at your door with both barrels blazing and it’s up to us that we know how to handle it appropriately. Nobody wants to be victim to this disease. If you or your loved one is ready to leave substance dependency behind and start a new way of life, please call 1-800-982-5530 or visit www.restoredtx.wpengine.com. Our teams of specialists are waiting to explore your options with a drug detox center.