Dexedrine & ADHD Stimulant Drug Abuse

Any use of amphetamine drugs impacts the entire central nervous system, your behavior, and your mental state.

Dexedrine & ADHD Stimulant Drug Abuse

Dexedrine is a brand-name prescription medication containing the generic stimulant drug dextroamphetamine.

Like other stimulant medications prescribed to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dextroamphetamine is widely diverted and abused, a practice that can have severe short- or long-term consequences.

Why Dexedrine Is Abused

While ADHD is not fully understood, it appears to involve abnormally low levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. This is believed to impact a person’s ability to regulate emotion, impulsivity, and concentration, all hallmarks of ADHD.

Dexedrine and other ADHD medications like Adderall/Adderall XR (amphetamine salts), Ritalin/Concerta (methylphenidate), and Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine), increase dopamine and norepinephrine levels when taken, relieving ADHD symptoms and helping to manage certain sleep disorders like narcolepsy.

However, if these drugs are taken at higher doses, they can drive dopamine levels past the normal range. This ramps up the central nervous system to increase energy, focus, and wakefulness, and can trigger a highly addictive euphoria similar to a methamphetamine high.

Dexedrine’s Legal Classification

This high potential for abuse is reflected in Dexedrine’s classification as a schedule II controlled substance, a status applied to all stimulant medications used for the treatment of ADHD, including Dexedrine.

Schedule II classification by the FDA and DEA indicates that a drug has a high potential for abuse and may cause severe physical or psychological dependence/addiction.

Using or possessing Dexedrine or any other prescription drug without a proper medical prescription is a criminal offense, as is selling or giving your medication to someone else.

Dexedrine Vs. Adderall

While both Adderall and Dexedrine contain dextroamphetamine sulfate, Adderall also contains dextroamphetamine saccharate, amphetamine aspartate, and amphetamine sulfate.

Because dextroamphetamine is stronger than amphetamine, Dexedrine acts as a more potent drug than Adderall by weight and may be considered to have an even greater risk and potential for recreational abuse.

Side Effects Of Dexedrine

Common side effects of Dexedrine use include:

  • cramps
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • headache
  • irritability
  • loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • nervousness
  • restlessness
  • stomach upset
  • sweating
  • tics
  • trouble sleeping
  • weight loss

Serious side effects and adverse effects that should be reported to your healthcare provider include:

  • circulation issues in your fingers or toes
  • chest pain
  • heart pounding or racing heart rate
  • mood swings
  • depression
  • hallucinations
  • twitching
  • changes in sex drive
  • significant weight loss
  • prolonged erections (in males)

Short- & Long-Term Effects Of Dexedrine Abuse

Any use of amphetamine drugs impacts the entire central nervous system, your behavior, and your mental state.

And when abused in high doses or by those who haven’t been prescribed Dexedrine, the drug can also cause a variety of serious health effects, especially if the drug is used repeatedly over a long period of time.

These effects may include:

  • dependence and withdrawal symptoms
  • drug addiction
  • heart, lung, or brain injury
  • high blood pressure
  • increased risk of heart attack or stroke
  • malnutrition
  • sleep dysfunction
  • anorexia and severe weight loss
  • psychosis
  • depression, anxiety, and mental health deterioration
  • scarring, abscesses, and infections if Dexedrine is crushed and injected into the body
  • nasal tissue damage and dysfunction if Dexedrine is crushed and snorted
  • lung and breathing damage if Dexedrine is smoked
  • increased risk of stimulant overdose, which may cause sudden death

Dexedrine Overdose

Overdosing on prescription stimulants can be fatal, especially when a person is also using other drugs or alcohol. However, stimulant overdoses can also be harder to recognize than opioid overdoses, which can delay life-saving treatment in an emergency.

If you or someone around you begins experiencing the following signs and symptoms, immediately call 911 and contact your local emergency services:

  • abnormal heart rate or rhythm
  • fast breathing
  • chest pain
  • confusion
  • overly fast reflexes
  • confusion or agitation
  • muscle twitching
  • painful urination or inability to urinate
  • fever
  • dilated pupils

Other Cautions

There are certain important cautions that those who are taking Dexedrine should know, even if the drug is being abused. These include:

  • Some people are allergic to Dexedrine and other common ADHD meds, and should avoid them.
  • Dexedrine can cause manic episodes and other mental reactions, and should be used by caution by those with personal or family history of psychosis, bipolar disorder, depression, or suicidal thoughts.
  • Dexedrine may cause cardiovascular emergencies or sudden death when taken by those with heart problems.
  • Dexedrine should not be taken within fourteen days of a MAOI inhibitor due to the risk of a harmful and potentially fatal drug interaction.
  • Dexedrine may react with certain antidepressant drugs, certain supplements, and other medications.

If you or a loved one lives with Dexedrine addiction or another form of stimulant drug abuse, please contact us today to learn about our outpatient substance abuse treatment options.

Written by
Northeast Addition Editorial Team

Published on

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This page does not provide medical advice.

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