Adderall abuse is a growing problem in almost every American demographic today, especially among intelligent teenagers. Adderall is a drug used to treat people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but it is commonly used illegally by young people to increase focus and improve academic performance. Here’s what you need to know about teenagers and Adderall abuse.
What is Adderall?
Adderall is the combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, both of which are central nervous system stimulants designed to regulate brain chemicals that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control. If you do not suffer from ADHD, however, this medication can create an intense feeling of focus and concentration. This sensation will initially seem positive, especially when its use helps with concentration and test performance. Adderall can produce hyper focus and give the user the ability to maintain a high level of energy. This is why teenagers and young adults turn to this drug to get through tough times at school. However, this planned short-term use can lead to a dependence on the drug that teens are unable to overcome without medical intervention.
The Effects of Improper Adderall Use
Abuse of Adderall is defined as “any improper or not-as-prescribed use” of the drug, with or without a prescription. Extended use can lead to heart problems, overdose and even death, whether the user is addicted to the drug or not. Adderall can also be harmful to teens because it can stunt growth and development.
Today’s Teen Adderall Epidemic
Prescription drug abuse of all types is on the rise among teens today. Recent studies have concluded that 1 in 4 teens admits to prescription drug abuse, while 1 in 8 teens reports abuse of Adderall or Ritalin (a similar drug). This is concerning news for parents. One of the biggest issues with Adderall addiction is that the teens using it are not typical addicts, nor do they exhibit typical addict behavior. In fact, compared to teen abusers of other drugs or alcohol, Adderall users rarely exhibit the identifying marks of a drug abuser. Teens who abuse Adderall on a regular basis are often the top students in advanced classes, on track to go to college and active in sports and extracurricular activities. Most have no other behavioral issues and are highly goal-oriented. This can make it extremely difficult to know if your teen is abusing this drug.
How To Know If Your Teen Has a Problem
Remember that Adderall is highly addictive, and once addicted, the user will crave it continuously. Some warning signs that your teen may be abusing Adderall include complaints of severe headaches, dry mouth or excessive thirst, shaking, stomach pains, feeling “on edge,” inability to fall asleep or changes in appetite and weight. In advanced cases, users will experience a racing heartbeat, seizures, paranoid delusions, impaired speech, hallucinations, uncharacteristic aggression, changes in vision and changes in bowel movements. If your child is success-oriented and extremely driven, pay close attention to how often she stays up all night studying. Also, track her spending habits. Because Adderall is in such demand today, a single tablet can cost as much as $20 when obtained illegally.
If you suspect your teen has a problem, seek professional help immediately. Adderall addiction is treatable, but recognizing the problem is the first step. At Havenwood Academy, experiential therapy, group intervention and traditional behavioral counseling strategies are combined to help girls and young women battle a variety of emotional and mental illness. Contact them today to learn more about treatment options for Adderall addiction and abuse.