The term amphetamine addiction probably doesn’t conjure images of a prescription bottle of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medicine. However, Adderall, the most common prescription for ADHD, is a type of amphetamine. The misuse and abuse of prescription stimulants are on the rise. Studies show that as many as 5 million adults in the United States misuse prescription stimulants. Most people who become addicted to these medicines report first getting it from a friend or family member with a valid prescription.


While the effects of prescription stimulants can include euphoria, people don’t usually begin taking it to get high. The term study drug occurred because of the increased use of these medicines among teens in high school and college. The drugs are often taken during times of stress as a way to increase focus and concentration. However, research reveals that students do not perform better while taking these drugs. Misuse of so-called study drugs can lead to addiction.


Signs of Addiction

Stimulants excite the nervous system. While they may have a calming effect on patients with ADHD, patients who misuse the drug may experience an extreme energy boost or euphoria. Repeated use of the drug can change the way the brain works, leading to an extreme craving for more medicine. If you know someone who misuses prescription ADHD medications, it is important to watch for signs of abuse.

  • Immediate signs after taking medicine may include hyperactivity, talkativeness, a desire to work, and feeling social.
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Mood swings
  • Paranoia and anxiety
  • A large amount of time being spent on finding and using the drug
  • Improper use, including crushing and snorting the medicine or dissolving it in water for injection


Effects on the Body

Discovery InstituteWhen a person misuses stimulant drugs, they often use too much. As the body builds a tolerance it becomes more difficult to feel the effects. Using large quantities of prescription stimulants can have serious side effects including:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Slowed speech
  • Muscular or verbal tics
  • Hoarseness
  • Dizziness
  • Numbness in extremities
  • Seizures
  • Decreased appetite

Repeated stimulant abuse can lead to binges in which large quantities of the medicine are taken for several days at a time. During these periods little to no sleep is experienced and little food is consumed. Binges can lead to malnutrition and the effects are often ignored until the drugs are no longer available. Without drugs extreme fatigue, depression, and anxiety may be experienced. High doses can lead to cardiovascular problems and stroke.


Drug Rehab in NJ

Since prescription stimulants are designed to build up in the body over time, withdrawal can be particularly slow. Symptoms can be difficult to endure so it is important to seek the help of a medical professional. Withdrawal symptoms may include depression, intense cravings, headaches, and mood swings. In severe cases, mental side effects may include hallucinations and violent behavior.

Stimulant addiction often responds best to inpatient treatment. Our detox center in NJ are equipped to handle different treatment plans based on the diagnosis and needs of each patient. The effects of stimulant addiction on the body and brain are reversible. Asking for help is the first step toward a life free from drugs – contact us today.


Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

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