Us Magazine attributed Lindsay Lohan’s recent weight loss to her abuse of the prescription drug Adderall, a stimulant usually prescribed to combat ADHD. Abuse of the drug is rampant among youth and college students, who often use the medication to lose weight or to stay up in order to study for exams. Adderall and other stimulants such as Concerta and Ritalin, are chemically very similar to methamphetamine, and when abused, pose similar health risks. Because the drug allows people to focus for longer periods of time, it deceives the user into believing that they will do better in school, but as with most drugs, the cons outweigh any pros. Long term abuse can lower the levels of dopamine in the brain, creating a need for larger amounts of the stimulant in order to achieve a “high.” Withdrawal can cause the user to feel dysphoria and depression. Abuse can lead to hallucinations, psychotic episodes, extreme paranoia, irregular heartbeat and even death. Giving the pills away or buying and selling them without a prescription is a felony. If anyone in the household is prescribed a stimulant, pills should be kept in a secure area and counted regularly.
Adderall abuse in teenagers and college students is common, as most students know someone with a prescription and can easily get the pills.
How to tell if your teen is addicted to or abusing Adderall? If your teen is prescribed Adderall, you should count their pills regularly and dispense the pills yourself. Regular contact with your child’s doctor is important. One of the most noticeable physical signs of stimulant abuse is dilated pupils. Whenever I abused Adderall, my pupils got gigantic. There was no hiding it. Kids on Adderall may be noticeably excited, overly talkative, or irritable. Stimulants often cause the user to feel very thirsty, and create a loss of appetite and eventual weight loss. Users often refer to “tweaking out” on something, which is when the user hyperfocuses on a task, such as obsessive cleaning, drawing, studying, or playing video games. Finally, Adderall and other stimulants cause sleep loss. Abusing stimulants can keep the user awake all night or, on a binge, multiple nights. Users coming down from the drug may “crash,” sleeping heavily all day following the binge. Withdrawal from the drug often makes the user feel extremely irritable, hostile, or depressed. Prescription stimulant addiction is very serious as addicts will often move on to abusing methamphetamine (meth, tweak, speed, or shit are some common street names) because it is a much stronger version of Adderall. Prescription Adderall abuse is taken very seriously and should be addressed by professionals. Adolescent drug treatment is a very helpful option in dealing with teen prescription drug addiction.