Prescription drugs have caused an epidemic of abuse and addiction in the United States in the last couple decades. Headlines most often talk of the epidemiological consequences of opiates; however, prescription psychoactive medications deserve their fair share of the spotlight.
Prescription stimulants used for the treatment of ADHD and a few other, rarer disorders, have become more frequently abused over the last several decades as well. Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant that is thought to increase levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. These neurotransmitters are linked to pleasure, attention, energy and other functions, potentially to dangerous levels.
These powerful prescription amphetamines are now the most sought after drug on college campuses. More and more children are being handed a prescription for drugs like Adderall to cope with what many experts argue are normal stages of development.
Few people missed the headlines of an elementary school student being forced to take ADHD stimulants to stay in school. This trend is all too frequent in what some believe is a symptom of a broken education system. Teachers argue that the children disrupt class, and they very well may, however, extremely addictive drugs should never be considered the solution to such a problem.
When schools are not only condoning, but forcing some students to take prescription mind and mood altering substances, such as Adderall, it is no wonder that high school and college students today see Adderall and other such stimulants as a valid option.
For those starting with the mentality that the solution to the problem is a pill, the situation is already primed for addiction issues. Coupled with a society obsessed with instant gratification and it is shouldn’t be surprising to learn that over 1.1 million Americans abused prescription stimulants in 2010, according to SAMHSA.
Millions of American children are prescribed ADHD stimulants. Approximately 6.4 million children in the United States have been diagnosed with ADHD. Additionally, an estimated 6.1 percent of all children between ages 4 and 17 were prescribed ADHD stimulants in 2011, with about a 7 percent increase yearly, according to the CDC. Some states had as many as about 1 in 10 children in this age range on stimulant medication.
For the millions of children growing up with pills as an academic aid, the probability of progressing into prescription drug abuse and addiction is good. Even for the classmates of these kids, who see so many others taking pills to enhance their academic performance, the allure is intense.
When use of these prescription drugs becomes abuse, not many are surprised. Abuse of ADHD stimulants may look like taking more than prescribed, taking it to stay up or counter the effects of alcohol. Also, abuse translates to snorting the drug for a more intense effect, taking another person’s prescription, buying the drug off the street, or anything that is not specifically communicated and accepted by your prescribing physician.
Some who have been using the drug for an extended period, may not be able to feel normal without the drug’s effects. In less severe cases, the person may lack the energy to participate in normal activities, or even get out of bed. This is potentially Adderall dependence, which is characterized by a need for the drug of choice to feel normal and function at all.
Worse still, given the mood-altering effect of Adderall, stopping the drug can set off depression, which in its worst state could lead to suicide. This prescription drug has many of the hallmarks of other addictive drugs, legal or illegal. Stopping it suddenly can produce adverse reactions that pose serious risk to the individual.
Given the prevalence of Adderall abuse, many users and abusers disregard warnings due to the commonality of such behavior. Despite the prevalence, these are symptoms of an increasingly insidious problem that must be addressed. If the cycle of abusing the drug, needing more than prescribed, getting more, needing more, and so on is not challenged and treated, it often leads to death one way or another. Many prescription drug abusers graduate to other, harsher and more dangerous street drugs, while others attempt to managed their prescription drug habit. The result of either path typically ends in jail, death, or rehab.
There is a large number of people who were set on a path of self-destruction early in life. Understandably, many are in denial that this is a problem given that it is not necessarily abnormal. In order to live a happy, healthy and fulfilling life, however, you must face the fact that you have become addicted to a prescription drug and, even though the addiction is not your fault, your recovery is your responsibility. Only you can save your life. Do not wait until the situation is worse than any nightmare. You are not alone in this struggle. Get help today and find the better life that you deserve.