In the United States, many people are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), especially, children every year. Typically, these patients are prescribed medication to help manage their symptoms. Certain medications are very useful in treating ADHD. However, these drugs can also be extremely addictive when abused. Many people abuse ADHD medication by taking it when they don’t have the disorder to improve concentration and focus. This abuse is seen frequently in students and young adults to give them an edge academically and enhance their study time which can lead to addiction.

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What Are ADHD Medications?

The most commonly prescribed medication to treat ADHD is a stimulant which is a combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. Its purpose is to increase focus, attention, and concentration by balancing the neurotransmitters in the brain to control behavior. It’s a highly effective form of treatment and has helped millions of people who have ADHD. Unfortunately, it’s widely abused and often used as a party drug or to lose weight due to its stimulant effects. People who consume alcohol can drink more while on ADHD medication without becoming tired. The drug can be habit-forming, and one can become physically dependent on it.

What Is Considered Abuse?

It’s considered abuse if anyone takes a prescribed medication outside of the instructions. Administering or obtaining the drug in any of these ways is abuse:

  • Taking doses more frequently than prescribed
  • Taking higher doses than prescribed
  • Chewing, snorting, or crushing the medication
  • Taking someone else’s prescription
  • Taking the medication for recreational use

Additionally, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency if you’re taking a controlled substance without a prescription, it’s illegal and can lead to addiction problems. Abusing ADHD medication can put your mental and physical health at risk.

Signs And Symptoms Of ADHD Medication Abuse and Addiction

There are specific signs and symptoms to look out for if you suspect someone you know is abusing ADHD medication. The physical symptoms you may notice include:

  • The inability to stop moving or fidgeting
  • Diarrhea, nausea, or constipation
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Shaking of hands and feet
  • Weight loss and loss of appetite

Mental signs of ADHD medication addiction are:

  • Unusually excitable
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Restlessness
  • Paranoia or nervousness
  • Excessive talking
  • Hallucinations

Never ignore these symptoms if you or a loved one takes ADHD medication as it can indicate abuse or addiction. Getting help right away can increase your chances of getting clean and avoid the long-term effects of addiction.

Effects Of ADHD Medication Addiction

Continual abuse of non-prescribed ADHD medication can lead to severe physical and mental side effects. It can lead to cardiovascular issues, psychosis, withdrawal symptoms as mentioned above, dangerous weight loss, and injury to the nasal cavity if snorted. Addiction also creates financial problems, issues at work or school, legal problems, co-occurring abuse of alcohol or other drugs, and damage to your relationships with friends and family.

Treatment For ADHD Medication Addiction

Luckily, ADHD addiction is treatable. If you or a loved one is struggling, there are several options available including treatment facilities that will provide safe detoxification. Detoxing from ADHD medication is usually not life-threatening. However, it can be very uncomfortable. In a detox facility, you’ll be medically supervised and receive the support you need to stay clean. Staying away from ADHD medication if it’s not prescribed to you and you don’t suffer from the disorder is the only way to prevent abuse and addiction.

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