A common brain disorder that affects young children and adults is known as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the disorder consists of an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.
Inattention is characterized by someone wandering off tasks, lacking persistence, and an inability to sustain focus. Hyperactivity is defined as someone fidgets or otherwise moves excessively in times that seem inappropriate. Lastly, impulsivity is when a person acts in a hasty fashion in a moment without first thinking about the potential for harm. Someone’s impulsivity may interrupt others, or they could make serious decisions without considering the long-term consequences.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, an estimated five percent of children struggle with ADHD. The number roughly translates to around 6.1 million, which is a statistic released by the National Survey of Children’s Health in 2016. In that same study, it was shown that 9.4 percent of children aged two through 17 had ever been diagnosed.
Disorders like ADHD are not new, but some of the treatments that alleviate the symptoms are new. Parents may be apprehensive about using medications like Dexedrine to treat their children because they can cause addiction, but some cases require strong medications.
While Adderall and Ritalin are the most common stimulant medications used to treat ADHD, there is another medication called Dexedrine that is used in the treatment of this disorder. Let’s take a more in-depth look at how the drug interacts with the body and how it can be addictive when abused.
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Dexedrine is a prescription stimulant drug that shares similarities to the drug Adderall. It is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant and is used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy. In some cases, Dexedrine has been known to treat depression and obesity. Dexedrine is an amphetamine drug, and someone who has ADHD and uses Dexedrine will experience a calming effect allowing them to focus.
Unfortunately, despite how useful it can be for those struggling with ADHD, Dexedrine is frequently abused. It is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance in the United States, which means it has medical use but has a high potential for abuse or severe dependence. Dexedrine is widely believed to affect dopamine in the brain. The drug is similar to other ADHD medications, which are all treatments to stimulants the central nervous system.
When drugs like Dexedrine are used as prescribed, the likelihood of addiction lessens. However, when someone abuses the medication and uses it recreationally, they may experience side effects as a result. Some symptoms of Dexedrine abuse can include taking it in any fashion other than as prescribed.
Dexedrine abuse can also take form in taking higher doses than prescribed to experience a euphoric effect or taking it more often than prescribed. Someone abusing the substance will crush the tablets or empty the capsules to snort or inject Dexedrine.
Common symptoms of abuse may include:
Other symptoms of abuse can include:
Rare, but severe side effects of Dexedrine may include:
People commonly abuse Dexedrine recreationally to achieve its effects. These can include an increase in energy as well as a burst of euphoria. It’s routinely used by individuals looking to increase their performance at work or school. While it can be a useful drug in those who use it as prescribed, Dexedrine addiction brings many adverse effects. Those who abuse the drug can have mood-related side effects, which can include:
Dexedrine affects our dopamine pathways in the brain, which activate the brain’s reward system. Addiction is defined as compulsive, out-of-control drug use. The more someone abuses the drug, the more likely they are to develop an addiction. Dexedrine addiction is followed by tolerance and physical dependence. Someone addicted to Dexedrine will put obtaining the drug over everything in their lives. Another sign of addiction is continuing to use the drug despite adverse, mental, or physical side effects that occur as a result.
The first step in the continuum of care to treat a stimulant addiction is medical detox. While stimulant withdrawal is not deadly when compared to alcohol or benzodiazepines, it can still serve as a stable environment during a less than stable period. During this time, the client will be supervised 24-hours per day to ensure safety.
Despite stimulant withdrawal not causing immediate danger, detox is an unpredictable time that requires medical professionals to be on hand. It allows the client to focus on getting sober instead of other outside factors. Medication can also be provided in the event of a tough detox, which will alleviate some immediate symptoms.
The severity of your Dexedrine addiction will determine the next step. You may be placed in a residential treatment center or an outpatient facility to address your most pressing needs. No matter the pathway the clinicians decide for the client, you will be a part of therapy sessions that address the root causes of the addiction.
The therapies a client can expect to take part in may include:
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(n.d.). Drug Scheduling. Retrieved from https://www.dea.gov/drug-scheduling
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, June 6). Prescription Stimulants. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-stimulants