Adderall is an amphetamine drug that has a stimulant effect on the body. It is common to prescribe it to teens and adults as a treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Despite its accepted medical use, however, Adderall is a Schedule II controlled substance because of its high potential for abuse. It is only available with a nonrefillable prescription, and people who use or possess Adderall without a valid doctor’s order may face criminal charges.
Your teenage son or daughter may not require Adderall to treat ADHD. However, he or she could be obtaining it from friends who do need it, or from other illicit sources, and abusing it.
What are some signs that a teen may be abusing Adderall?
In people who do not have ADHD, taking Adderall can cause physical exhaustion, loss of appetite, insomnia and increased heart rate and blood pressure. Prolonged use can result in long-term side effects that may be serious and irreversible. They may experience panic attacks, anxiety, mood swings, aggression and hostility.
A teen who abuses Adderall may start losing hair in large clumps or start having stomach problems or seizures. Chronic Adderall abuse often leads to the development of psychotic symptoms resembling those of schizophrenia.
Why do teens abuse Adderall?
Adderall abuse has increased among college and high school students in particular. Many believe that taking a stimulant drug like Adderall can help them improve their academic performance. For this reason, many students refer to the drug by slang terms such as “smart drugs” or “study buddies.”
However, cognitive function tests have shown that Adderall does nothing to help improve academic performance. It does create a spike in the brain chemical dopamine, which causes students to feel more alert as they study. They may believe that they are studying more effectively and retaining more of what they learn, but research indicates no positive change in brain function.
Adderall is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States. Unfortunately, this makes it fairly easy for a teen to obtain.