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Stimulants and the Holidays: When Reality Sets In

A lonely young woman looks out the window during the holidays.
So-called study drugs like Ritalin and Adderall always end up taking more than they give.

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It could be that you stated taking Adderall or Ritalin during grad school so that you could study longer. Or perhaps your career demanded long hours—and you turned to these so-called study drugs for help.

If so, you’re not alone.

According to a 2016 study by the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, there was a sharp rise in the number of 18 to 25 years olds abusing the drug between 2006 and 2011—a trend that has shown no signs of slowing down. Specifically, nonmedical use increased by 67 percent and emergency room visits spiked by 156 percent.

But you never took Adderall or Ritalin to get high. And now that you’ve got a bit of time off for the holidays, you’ll lay off the pills.

But will you be able to?

Am I Addicted to Adderall or Ritalin?

You’ll quickly find out the answer to this question once you stop taking them. If you’re physically dependent on the drugs, you’ll experience withdrawal symptoms like body aches, insomnia and fatigue.

But if you’re truly addicted, you’ll feel a compulsion to use the drug, even when there are negative consequences. In other words, you will have lost control over your use of stimulants and will need them just to function—even if you don’t have to do anything that is particularly demanding that day.

Because Adderall and Ritalin come in a pill bottle, many people think they can safely use them, even though they don’t have a prescription for them. It’s only when they stop using them—perhaps on a vacation or over the holidays—that they realize the power of these medications.

The Next Step

The worst thing you can do is to keep taking Adderall or Ritalin—and drink alcohol or use other drugs at holiday get-togethers. The combination can lead to alcohol poisoning or even heart issues.

The fact is, many people are ignorant about how addictive—and dangerous—these study drugs can be. They take them to focus better and, with repeated use, eventually find they can’t focus at all unless they take them. Depression, anxiety and even thoughts of suicide can follow.

Help at The Raleigh House

At The Raleigh House, we take a whole-person approach to addiction treatment. That means we don’t just address the physical side of addiction. We also look at the mental, psychological, emotional and social aspects of recovery. When you walk through our doors, you’ll be assigned your own master’s level therapist who will work with you to come up with a plan for rehab—and to succeed without stimulants. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about the stimulants addiction treatment program at The Raleigh House.

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