Dexedrine Addiction | Abuse, Effects, Signs, & Treatment
According to estimates, as much as 4.4% of adults and 9.4% of children in the United States have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.
ADHD is a condition thought to stem from low neurotransmitter levels, specifically dopamine, and can cause serious issues with concentration, fidgeting, disruptive talking, learning, organization, and impulse control.
Fortunately, healthcare providers have a variety of tools available to treat ADHD in both adults and children. This includes stimulant medications designed to boost a person’s neurotransmitter levels to a more normal state to promote a calmer, clearer, and more controlled mental space.
However, stimulant medications like Dexedrine are also commonly abused for their primary effects and side effects, including the ability to produce a euphoric and addictive stimulant high when abused in high doses.
Dextroamphetamine, the active ingredient in the brand name medication Dexedrine, is an amphetamine-class drug that primarily works by blocking transporter molecules in the central nervous system that target the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.
This increases the neurotransmitter levels active in the body, which also tends to greatly increase a person’s mental and physical stimulation.
Dextroamphetamine is similar to other stimulant drugs like methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta), mixed amphetamine and dextroamphetamine (Adderall), methamphetamine (Desoxyn), and lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse, which is converted to dextroamphetamine inside the body).
Just as with these other Schedule II prescription stimulants, Dexedrine is commonly abused outside the medical system.
Why Misuse Dexedrine?
Some high school and college students may take diverted stimulant medications to improve their mental performance, concentration, and wakefulness to earn better grades.
Other times, the drugs may be abused to improve confidence and self-image, or to suppress one’s appetite for the purpose of weight loss.
As with other stimulants like methamphetamine and cocaine, some people abuse dextroamphetamine medications in much higher doses than usually prescribed, producing a euphoric stimulant high.
This can even, in some cases, include crushing and either snorting, swallowing, or injecting Dexedrine to increase the intensity of effect.
Side Effects Of Dexedrine Abuse
The most common side effects of dextroamphetamine use include:
- upset stomach
- loss of appetite
- dry mouth
- trouble sleeping
- weight loss
However, abusing dextroamphetamine in higher doses or when it was not prescribed to you can increase the likelihood of experiencing heightened side effects. You may also experience other, less-common side effects or adverse reactions such as:
- elevated heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and breathing rate
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- mood swings
- muscle twitching or shaking
- lapses in inhibition/self-control
- false sense of well-being
- increased sexual interest
- frequent or prolonged erections (in males)
An overdose occurs when a person takes too much of a medication, provoking effects that put one’s health and safety at risk. In the case of a central nervous system stimulant like dextroamphetamine, overdose symptoms can vary greatly and may include:
- nausea or vomiting
- aggressive or violent behavior
- mental confusion
- dangerous overheating
- psychosis (hallucinations, delusions, and/or paranoia)
Those with pre-existing health problems, including heart conditions, high blood pressure, and mental disorders, are at a particularly high risk of these effects.
In extreme cases, death or sudden death may even occur due to cardiovascular collapse, stroke, heart attack, seizures, or dehydration.
One’s risk of experiencing life-threatening complications increases when dextroamphetamine is mixed with opioids, alcohol, benzodiazepines, large quantities of caffeine, or other common CNS stimulants or depressants.
Signs Of Dexedrine Abuse & Addiction
While many people abuse prescription drugs like Dexedrine in different ways, there are some common signs that can include:
- taking medication in higher doses or more frequently than prescribed
- taking medications that aren’t their own
- attempting to steal or buy drugs illicitly, including buying drugs online
- running out of one’s medication or losing them and attempting to get refills more often
- experiencing strong side effects of Dexedrine
- experiencing mood swings from high and energetic to low and sedated
- becoming defensive or evasive when questioned
- disengaging from one’s responsibilities, relationships, and passions
- becoming concerned or experiencing cravings and other early withdrawal symptoms when Dexedrine isn’t available
Dexedrine Addiction Treatment Programs
There are a variety of addiction recovery treatment options that may be used to help someone overcome Dexedrine addiction, including:
- medical detox: a professional service designed to help manage acute withdrawal symptoms and cravings when the drug is first discontinued
- inpatient rehabilitation: an intensive form of treatment that takes place in residential treatment facilities over an extended period of time, highly recommended for treating stimulant use disorders
- cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): a form of psychotherapy that helps participants identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors that contribute to Dexedrine addiction
- peer support groups that provide emotional support, encouragement, and guidance during recovery
- aftercare and case management for continuing, long-term support
If you or your loved one lives with Dexedrine addiction or some other form of substance use disorder, contact Bedrock Recovery Center today and let our expert treatment providers give you the care and support you may need.
- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) - Drug Fact Sheet: Stimulants https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/Stimulants-2020.pdf
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - DEXEDRINE® (dextroamphetamine sulfate) SPANSULE® sustained-release capsules and Tablets https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2007/017078s042lbl.pdf
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) - Prescription Stimulants DrugFacts https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-stimulants
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) - Treatment of Stimulant Use Disorders https://store.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/pep20-06-01-001.pdf