Adderall is a prescription medication that is commonly used to treat people who have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). When used as directed by a qualified healthcare provider, Adderall can be extremely beneficial. But people who abuse this medication put themselves at risk for myriad negative outcomes, including addiction and Adderall psychosis.
What is Psychosis?
Psychosis encompasses a variety of symptoms that undermine a person’s ability to accurately perceive their environment and interact with others around them.
People who develop psychosis may experience the following:
- Hallucinations – This may include seeing and/or hearing things that don’t exist.
- Delusions – These are firmly held beliefs that are easily disproven or have no basis in reality.
- Disorganized speech – This may involve using nonsense words, jumping from topic to topic with no logical connection, or responding to questions with completely unrelated statements.
There is no single cause of all cases of psychosis. Some people struggle with psychosis as a result of a mental health disorder such as schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. Other people develop psychosis after being subjected to extreme sleep deprivation or abusing certain substances, as is the case with Adderall psychosis.
How Does Adderall Cause Psychosis?
Experts have not yet established a clear understanding of how Adderall causes psychosis. However, they have identified certain factors that likely contribute to this problem.
Adderall is the brand name of a medication that contains two stimulants: amphetamine and dextroamphetamine.
A 2012 study in the journal BMC Psychiatry reported that amphetamine psychosis may be the result of amphetamine-induced sleep deprivation, the use of sedating substances to counteract the effects of an amphetamine binge, or an existing elevated risk for psychosis in the person who has been abusing the drug.
The authors of this study also noted that as many as 25% of people who struggle with drug-induced psychosis are later diagnosed with a psychotic disorder.
Of course, this does not establish a cause-effect relationship between Adderall psychosis and psychotic disorders later in life. For example: Does the Adderall psychosis increase a person’s risk for a future psychotic disorder, or do people who struggle with Adderall psychosis already have a greater likelihood of developing a psychotic disorder?
Additional research is needed to provide greater clarity about the potential causes of Adderall psychosis.
Signs of Adderall Psychosis
Possible signs of Adderall psychosis may include the following:
- Seeing people, objects, or light patterns that aren’t really there
- Hearing voices or other sounds that seem to come from inside one’s head or from an external source, even though these sounds are not real
- Believing that you have magical powers or some extraordinary talent
- Thinking that you are being spied on by a person or organization that is out to get you
- Being unable to organize your thoughts and clearly express your ideas
- Finding it difficult to focus or concentrate
- Withdrawing from your friends and family members
- Acting with uncharacteristic aggression
- Exhibiting dramatic mood swings
In some cases, people with psychosis may show little or no desire to interact with others or even leave the house. Adderall psychosis can also cause a person to act in strange ways, such as holding their bodies in awkward positions, behaving in a childlike manner, dressing inappropriately, and ignoring their personal hygiene and grooming.
Dangers of Adderall Psychosis
Untreated Adderall psychosis can put a person at risk for considerable harm in virtually all parts of their life. The following are examples of the many potential negative physical, psychological, and social effects of Adderall psychosis:
- Poor performance in school or at work
- Failure to get and keep a job
- Inability to establish financial independence
- Trouble forming and maintaining healthy relationships
- Conflicts with family members and peers
- Being bullied, ostracized, swindled, or otherwise victimized
- Medical problems due to recklessness, poor self-care, or inability to follow a doctor’s advice
- Development or worsening of a co-occurring mental illness
- Being arrested, fined, or jailed due to reckless or aggressive behaviors
- Substance abuse and addiction
- Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
As indicated by the list above, untreated Adderall psychosis can be life-threatening. This is reinforced by a meta-analysis of studies on psychosis and suicide that was published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry. After reviewing 10 studies that involved more than 84,000 participants from 23 nations, the authors of this study found overwhelming evidence that psychosis can put people in danger of attempting to end their own lives.
“Individuals with psychotic experiences are at increased risk of suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and suicide death,” they wrote. “Psychotic experiences are important clinical markers of risk for future suicidal behavior.”
How to Get Out of Psychosis
Adderall psychosis can be devastating. But it is treatable. Comprehensive treatment for Adderall abuse and Adderall psychosis often involves both medication and therapy.
A 2022 article on Adderall psychosis treatment reported that several medications, including risperidone, aripiprazole, and haloperidol, have proved to be effective at reducing the symptoms of Adderall psychosis without significant side effects. These medications are also used to treat people who have mental health disorders that are associated with psychosis, such as schizophrenia.
The therapeutic component of treatment for Adderall psychosis can help a person resist the urge to continue to abuse this medication. During therapy, people can identify the concerns that may have led them to start abusing Adderall. They can also develop skills that will help them respond to these concerns in a healthier manner in the future, without resorting to Adderall abuse.
Begin Treatment for Adderall Addiction and Psychosis in Los Angeles, CA
If you have become addicted to Adderall, or if someone that you care about has developed Adderall psychosis, please know that help is available. Our treatment center in Los Angeles, California, offers personalized services for people whose lives have been disrupted by addiction and certain co-occurring mental health concerns. When you get the care you need, you can end your Adderall abuse and achieve improved health. Contact LA Detox today to learn more.