The diagnosis and treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has greatly improved in recent years. According to the National Institutes of Health, 3 percent – 5 percent of the general population suffers from this disorder, with a high concentration about children. Boys are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than girls. Left untreated, ADHD can be an extremely limiting disorder. Children struggle in school, tend to get in more trouble and may engage in risky or even life-threatening behavior. The use of relatively new prescription medications such as Adderall and Ritalin, however, has provided significant relief for millions of children and adults. This relief, however, is not risk-free.
ADHD medications are actually very similar to notorious stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamine. It may seem counter-intuitive, but the stimulant effects of carefully crafted amphetamine salts in Adderall and Ritalin actually help legitimate ADHD sufferers to calm down, focus their attention and control their impulses. While there are certainly potential side effects to prescribed use, most people who genuinely have ADHD, and who use their medication exactly as prescribed, tolerate the drug very well. Many consider it to be a life-changer. Abuse of the drug, however, can be deadly.
When ADHD medication is taken by someone who does not have the disorder it functions much like cocaine. It provides an intense feeling of euphoria and confidence, decreases the need for sleep and food, and increases concentration and memory. These same effects can happen when a person who does have ADHD takes more of the drug than is prescribed. It can be crushed and snorted or even injected, in order to intensify the effects; however, this is extremely dangerous. The following are five side-effects that may happen if you abuse your ADHD medication.
You were prescribed your medication because you needed it. It likely has helped you perform better in school or on the job. Taking more than is prescribed, or taking it in an abusive way in order to feel high, will almost certainly reduce the efficacy of the medication in treating your ADHD. As your body develops a tolerance for the higher dosage you will no longer experience the same level of high. You will need larger and more frequent doses and your brain will demand it in ways that are much more powerful than conscious thought.
Amphetamine abuse can cause the following significant and problematic personality changes:
- Increased aggression and even violence
- Loss of interest in relationships and activities that were once important to you
- Reckless sexual behavior
- Emotional abuse of others
- Anxiety disorders
If left untreated these changes can become permanent. Many amphetamine addicts completely lose themselves in the disease.
Amphetamine addiction is among the most difficult chemical dependencies to overcome. The high that it produces is intense and all consuming. Again, there is little difference between a person addicted to ADHD medication and a person addicted to crystal meth or crack cocaine. Relationships crumble. Careers are derailed. Addicts will do anything to score their next hit, including criminal activities that land them in prison. Most people who abuse their ADHD medication will eventually switch to cocaine or meth because it can be more easily available and affordable. Over time their physical health deteriorates as well.
Another very real and immediate potential side-effect of ADHD medication abuse is overdose. High doses of amphetamine salts can cause any of the following overdose symptoms:
- Heart attack
- Intense pain
- Sudden death
Chronic abuse can also cause organ failure, sleep disorders, and suicidal thoughts or actions. Ritalin overdose is a tragedy waiting to happen when you start abusing your medication.
ADHD medication abuse can also lead to withdrawal effects if and when you stop using it. Rebound symptoms can include any of the following:
- Rebound hyperactivity
- Dangerous actions
- Panic attacks
- Migraine headaches
- Respiratory distress
These symptoms can be incredibly intense and even life threatening. They can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. Many who experience this kind of amphetamine withdrawal eventually succumb to their cravings and relapse.
24-Hour ADHD Medication Helpline
If you have concerns about your own ADHD medication abuse, or if you are worried about the potential addiction of a friend or loved one, please call our toll-free helpline today. Our staff members are standing by with answers, care and help. We can connect you with the most effective amphetamine addiction treatment resources and with ADHD treatment professionals. We can even help confirm investigate options related to insurance and financial aid for treatment costs.
There are no strings attached when you call and you can remain completely anonymous if you choose. You have absolutely nothing to lose by picking up the phone. ADHD medication is a serious drug. Abusing it will rob you of everything you love about life long before it actually kills you. Don’t let another day go by without taking steps toward freeing yourself or your loved one from this terrible disease. Call now.