Dexedrine Abuse and Treatment

Dexedrine is a highly addictive medication that is widely abused to improve academic and athletic performances.

Dextroamphetamine addiction | Table of Contents

Understanding Dexedrine 

Dexedrine and Dextrostat are the brand names of the potent CNS stimulant dextroamphetamine. Dexedrine is commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, as it enhances focus, calmness, wakefulness, and energy. It is mostly available as a pill and is classified as a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act, implying that it has a medical purpose but with a high risk of addiction and abuse.


Is Dexedrine addictive?

Dexedrine is a Schedule II drug that contains a high capacity for potential abuse. Dexedrine abuse can lead to dependence and addiction.

How does Dexedrine treat ADHD?

Dexedrine acts on the central nervous system and increases the number of neurotransmitters in the brain. The boost of dopamine and norepinephrine helps improve a person’s focus and concentration and reduces hyperactivity and impulsive behavior.

Why take Dexedrine for ADHD instead of Ritalin?

When compared with equal doses, Dexedrine is stronger than Ritalin.

Dexedrine Effects and Abuse 

Like most amphetamines, Dexedrine retains a high risk of abuse and addiction. Abuse refers to any use of a drug that goes against a doctor’s prescription, such as taking more than prescribed. Dexedrine abuse dates back decades, with individuals abusing it to study, boost athletic performance, and reducing weight. Dexedrine is not as commonly prescribed as other amphetamines, but the risks of its abuse are almost the same.

Some of the serious side effects of Dexedrine abuse are:

  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Dry mouth
  • Nervousness
  • Agitation
  • Blurred vision
  • Chest pain
  • Weight loss
  • Circulation problems
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Tremors
  • Fever
  • Restlessness and insomnia

Taking higher doses of Dexedrine over an extended period can contribute to more serious side effects such as:

  • Seizures
  • Amphetamine-induced psychosis
  • Dizziness
  • Delusional thoughts
  • Difficulty thinking clearly
  • Manic behavior
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Hallucinations

Prolonged abuse of Dexedrine may pave the way for addiction as the medication imposes drastic changes on the user’s brain chemistry. Dexedrine triggers the release of dopamine in the brain and prevents excess dopamine from being transported. With prolonged use, the drug starts creating massive amounts of dopamine, causing the user’s brain to stop producing them naturally. As a result, individuals may continue using Dexedrine to supply the brain with dopamine and to avoid withdrawal symptoms that follow drug discontinuation.


Who can take Dexedrine?

Dexedrine is prescribed to patients suffering from ADHD who are 3 years of age and older.

What are the side effects associated with Dexedrine?

Some of the common side effects may include nervousness, a false sense of well-being, trouble sleeping, restlessness, and irritability. Once the side effects have subsided, the patient may experience fatigue, drowsiness, trembling, weakness, or depression.

Signs of a Dexedrine Addiction

Once an individual’s brain is rewired to depend on Dexedrine, it can be quite difficult to stop using it. An addict will continue to rely on Dexedrine to boost academic and athletic performances despite the negative consequences.

Some of the other signs of Dexedrine addiction are: 

  • Continuing to use Dexedrine despite facing DUI charges, overdoses, blackouts, and other life-threatening consequences.
  • Facing relationship conflicts due to Dexedrine use.
  • Neglecting major responsibilities at home, school, or work due to Dexedrine abuse.
  • Experiencing painful and distressing withdrawal symptoms when trying to reduce or quit Dexedrine use.
  • Taking increasing amounts of the drug to attain the desired effect.
  • Spending a longer period of time abusing the drug.
  • Failing to quit or reduce Dexedrine use despite many attempts.
  • Undergoing physical health disorders, such as liver damage and lung cancer, or psychological issues, such as depression or anxiety, due to prolonged Dexedrine use.
  • Not engaging in activities that were once enjoyed.
  • Experiencing strong desires to use the drug, which can sometimes be physically or psychologically painful.

Dexedrine Abuse Statistics 

  • Over 13 million Americans use amphetamines such as Dexedrine without medical advice.
  • Dexedrine was formally approved by the FDA in 1976 to specifically treat narcolepsy and ADHD.
  • About 15,585 emergency room visits were made in 2010 due to ADHD-treatment medications such as Dexedrine.

Dexedrine Addiction Treatment 

The majority of Dexedrine users misuse the drug believing that it is a safe way to enhance performance. Many users fail to understand the risks of Dexedrine abuse until it is too late. Nevertheless, there are many resources currently available to help those struggling with an addiction to Dexedrine.

Dexedrine addiction treatment may involve:

  • Detoxification
  • Therapy
  • Rehabilitation programs
  • Support groups
  • 12-step programs

Medical detox is a crucial part of the treatment process to minimize withdrawal symptoms that lead to relapse, including depression, fatigue, and headaches. A typical detox takes a week or so to remove the drug from the patient’s body and restore normal levels of dopamine in the brain.

After the completion of detoxification, patients may undergo treatment at an inpatient or outpatient treatment program to help address their psychological dependence on the drug. The duration of each patient’s treatment at rehab may depend upon the severity of their addiction.

Aftercare programs are a critical aspect of all recovery programs as they provide patients with access to counseling and support groups once they complete a rehab program.

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