8 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Improve Your Concentration After Adderall Addiction

young bearded man feeling bored, frustrated and sleepy after a tiresome, dull and tedious task, holding face with hand with a laptop on a couch laptop concept

Many might be surprised to learn just how prevalent Adderall addiction is, particularly within specific communities and cultures.

For instance, a 2003 study showed that approximately 25% of college students used stimulant drugs such as Adderall illegally to improve their concentration and enhance cognitive performance.

In addition, one of the students in the study commented that “Adderall can be a huge help, particularly when it comes to completing major tasks or assignments.”

Other participants said that Adderall helped them study better and understand more complicated ideas and that the drug allowed them to retain information more easily.

Researchers also found that many students take prescription stimulants like Adderall, a drug prescribed for ADHD, to reduce procrastination.

The literature also highlighted that while stimulant drugs such as Adderall can be helpful for those with ADHD, abusing these substances recreationally can lead to various complications, including Adderall addiction. (The Relationship Between ADHD and Procrastination, Verywell mind, Keath Low, March 03, 2023.)

This article explores Adderall addiction, its effects, and various ways to help you stop procrastinating and improve your concentration once you abstain from the drug.

If you think you or someone you know may have any symptoms of Adderall addiction, you should consult a healthcare professional for further advice and support. Early treatment can help you avoid the long-term effects of Adderall abuse and can improve treatment outcomes for many.

What is Adderall?

Adderall is a stimulant medication often prescribed to treat individuals with specific conditions, including ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) and narcolepsy, a neurological condition that affects a person’s sleep-wake cycle.

It contains two active drugs: Dextroamphetamine and Amphetamine, both active ingredients which help make the drug work more effectively. 

Adderall comes in two forms: an immediate-release tablet or an extended-release capsule (known as Adderall XR). 

Common side effects of taking Adderall

Like any drug, Adderall can cause various side effects ranging from mild to severe.

Mild side effects

It’s common for those who take Adderall to experience mild side effects while taking the drug; some of which can depend on factors such as your age, additional medications you might be taking, and any existing health conditions you may have. 

People who have taken Adderall have reported the following side effects:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Sudden mood changes
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Stomach pain
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Disorientation or dizziness

Severe side effects

The Difference Between Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Although rare, it is possible for those taking Adderall to experience severe side effects; if you think you are having a severe reaction after taking Adderall, you must call your doctor immediately. 

For those with medical emergencies, you must contact your local emergency services or visit your nearest hospital.

Some severe side effects of Adderall include the following:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Decreased blood flow to your toes or fingers
  • Psychosis (feeling as though you are losing touch with reality)
  • Delusions (includes having beliefs that aren’t true)
  • Seizures
  • Severe allergic reactions – including skin rash, flushing of the skin, and itchiness 
  • Excessively high mood and increased energy (called mania)
  • Risk of dependency and abuse

If you are concerned about any of the potential side effects of Adderall, consult your doctor or healthcare provider for further advice and support.

Symptoms of Adderall addiction

Various signs and symptoms are associated with Adderall addiction, and you must know what to look out for to get the treatment and support you need before things worsen.

Adderall addiction can occur when someone takes the drug for more extended periods than prescribed, takes more than the prescribed dose, or takes Adderall more frequently than they are supposed to.

Those who take Adderall may experience intense euphoria after ingesting the drug, making them want to take more of the substance. 

Eventually, this can result in a person needing to take higher doses of Adderall to experience its effects. 

However, as the drug begins to wear off, individuals often experience an unpleasant come down where they may feel anxious or depressed.

Common symptoms

Common symptoms of Adderall addiction include:

  • Neglecting your responsibilities and daily tasks to take Adderall.
  • Spending much of your time and money to obtain the drug.
  • Taking Adderall in various ways to hasten or increase the effects, including crushing or snorting it.
  • Neglecting your personal hygiene and basic self-care needs.
  • Visiting several pharmacies in an attempt to fill Adderall prescriptions.

In addition to the above symptoms, those with Adderall addiction may experience various withdrawal symptoms when trying to cut down or stop their use of the drug, including:

Photo of a therapist writing down notes during therapy with her female patient. Close-up of psychologist comforting his depressed patient. Psychologist having session with her patient in office
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Paranoia
  • Blurry vision
  • High blood pressure

8 ways to stop procrastinating and improve your concentration after Adderall addiction

Procrastination can fuel negative feelings such as guilt or shame, and it is common for those in recovery from Adderall addiction to experience some of these negative emotions once they stop taking the drug.

Although researchers have found a link between ADHD and procrastination, this doesn’t mean that people with the condition must continue suffering from its effects.

Fortunately, there are various strategies to help you stop procrastinating and improve your concentration, whether you have ADHD or are recovering from Adderall addiction (or both), including the ones below.

1. Minimize any potential distractions while completing a task or project

If you get easily distracted while completing a task, you might find it helpful to limit the amount of distractions that divert your attention away or disrupt your focus.

This may involve putting your phone on silent, turning the radio or television off, and letting your colleagues, friends and family know you don’t want to be disturbed. 

2. Treat yourself 

It’s always a good idea to have some reward or treat to look forward to after completing a task or assignment, particularly those you find the most tedious.

For instance, you may reward yourself with a luxurious bubble bath, have coffee with a friend, or binge-watch your favorite Netflix series after a long day.

Having something to look forward to can help you push through the negative emotions that may be causing you to procrastinate or put important things off, allowing you to focus on the positive sides of getting the job done.

3. Break tasks up into smaller segments 

focused woman staring a post it notes on board

When a task seems too big or monumental, the overwhelming feeling you get can suck the joy out of any project or assignment!

However, experts say that breaking tasks into smaller segments can help prevent them from feeling too complicated or overwhelming.

For example, if you decide to clean out your medicine cupboard, you might find it helpful to put all the bottles and containers into a neat pile instead of shoving everything into bags and hauling them into the outside bin. 

Having everything neatly placed in one spot gives you time to think about your next move, helping to keep your mind clear and focused.

4. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself 

We are all guilty of putting too much pressure on ourselves occasionally.

However, this approach can be counterproductive and often results in tasks being further delayed or never completed at all.

Returning to our medicine cupboard analogy, you could consider clearing out half the cupboard one day and revisiting the task the next day or whenever feasible.

That way, you can break the task into smaller chunks and avoid exhausting yourself by doing too much at once.

Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day! Good things take time.

5. Cultivate a sound support system

Procrastination is a universal problem experienced by many, particularly those with ADHD.

Cultivating a healthy support system can help you vent your worries and concerns with others who can relate to or understand the challenges you face with procrastination. 

Having people to turn to when times get rough can help you identify and unpack any challenging feelings and emotions, allowing you to reframe them in healthier, more positive ways, which may help reduce procrastination and improve your concentration.

6. Try practicing the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a fun and easy way to get the most out of your time management. This technique can help those who struggle with procrastination and concentration achieve better results when completing tasks.

Francesco Cirilli developed The Pomodoro Technique in the 1980s, a model that includes a structured method of tools, processes and principles to help you learn how to manage your time and boost productivity.

This technique teaches people vital skills, including awareness and self-observation. 

Researchers have noted that these skills make changing your relationship with time possible, helping you reach your goals with less effort and reduced anxiety.

7. Fuel your body

Chalk hand drawn brain with assorted food, food for brain health and good memory: fresh salmon fish, green vegetables, nuts, berries on black background. Foods to boost brain power, top view

You must keep your energy levels up while completing any important task. 

That dreaded “hangry” feeling when you neglect your basic needs, such as food and water, can lead to anger, hunger, and a lack of motivation which may be the difference between completing a task or not.

Avoid skipping meals throughout the day and stay as hydrated as possible. In addition, cultivating a balanced diet of complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats can help you stay fueled for longer.

Furthermore, try adding healthy snacks such as fruit, seeds or nuts to avoid getting hungry between meals.

8. Seek professional help

Studies have shown that specific treatments such as acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) can help reduce procrastination, particularly in individuals with ADHD.

ACT involves committing to healthier coping patterns and behaviors while learning to accept negative thoughts and circumstances. 

For those recovering from Adderall addiction, enlisting in addiction treatment can help you overcome your procrastination and dependency issues, allowing you to live a more healthy, fulfilling life,

Some of these treatments may include:

Cognitive behavioral therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective therapy for Adderall addiction; this treatment can help change destructive behaviors and expectations that may lead to substance abuse, helping you effectively manage your triggers to prevent relapse and future drug use.

CBT can also help you address maladaptive thoughts and behaviors, empowering you to reframe negative experiences, leading to healthier coping mechanisms and alternative stress management methods.

Detox management 

The first step in any addiction program is usually medical detoxification.

This treatment helps rid your body of toxic substances such as drugs and alcohol under the guidance and management of experienced healthcare professionals.

Quitting “cold turkey” without proper guidance and support can lead to severe complications, including dehydration, seizures, and even death.

Therefore you must consult with a healthcare professional before engaging in medical detox.

Detox management programs usually occur in inpatient rehab facilities that provide integrated treatment programs such as behavioral therapy, group therapy and family support for those recovering from substance addiction.

As well as the above, addiction treatment programs must include a holistic approach to help address any underlying mental health issues that may be causing a person to engage in substance abuse for treatment to be effective. 

Young woman in meeting with female psychologist

These programs typically involve a combination of different therapies, including:

  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Individual therapy

The association between ADHD and procrastination

As mentioned, Adderall is a commonly prescribed drug for individuals with ADHD, a neurodevelopmental disorder that causes various symptoms, including hyperactivity, severe attention and concentration issues, and impulsivity.

Studies show that roughly 9.4% of children have been diagnosed with ADHD. 

However, the condition affects adults, too, with reports indicating that the prevalence of ADHD among adults is around 4.4%. (The Relationship Between ADHD and Procrastination, Verywell mind, Keath Low, March 03, 2023.)

Procrastination is defined as the act of delaying or postponing something. And we are all guilty of procrastinating at some point in our lives, some of us more often than others!

While procrastination is a common issue for many, it is not recognized by healthcare professionals as a diagnostic symptom of ADHD.

However, those with ADHD often experience various challenges when confronted with a specific task or assignment; for instance, they may become easily distracted, lack focus and attention, and may struggle with decision-making and how to track their progress during any given project or task.

It is common for people with ADHD to leave tasks unfinished and get easily distracted by someone or something else, leading to projects being put off, delayed, or never completed at all.

Furthermore, research posits that those with severe ADHD may experience higher levels of procrastination, leading to internalizing symptoms such as anxiety and depression. (The Relationship Between ADHD and Procrastination, Verywell mind, Keath Low, March 03, 2023.)

As well as internalizing symptoms, procrastination can also lead to other unpleasant feelings and emotions, including:

  • Shame
  • Guilt
  • Sadness
  • Frustration

Experts explain that by helping individuals address procrastination, some of the internalizing behaviors that frequently occur in ADHD, such as depression, shame and anxiety, may be reduced or alleviated.

Adderall addiction treatment at Tikvah Lake Recovery

Tikvah Lake Recovery provides personalized addiction and mental health treatment to those with Adderall addiction and other substance and behavioral addictions.

We offer various treatments to those wanting to overcome drug or alcohol addiction, and, in our experience, an integrated approach to therapy is the most effective and results in the best treatment outcomes for our clients.

Our multi-professional, experienced team understands that no one thing causes addiction, and no single treatment cures it. Therefore, we treat the “whole” person, not just their addictive symptoms, through our individualized addiction treatment programs.

To learn more about our Adderall addiction program, please contact an admissions counselor today for further information and support.

Procrastination doesn’t have to be a way of life; there are ways to overcome these issues, and it all begins with proper care, treatment and support.

We are here and ready to help!

Additional resources

  1. The Relationship Between ADHD and Procrastination, Verywell mind, Keath Low, March 3, 2023
  2. All About Adderall, Healthline, Helen Marshall, BPHARM, MRPharmS, April 17, 2023

About Adam Nesenoff

Adam Nesenoff has been working in recovery for over ten years.

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