Can You Get Addicted To Adhd Medication
- While it is true that these medications can be abused and that a young person can become addicted, the use of stimulant medication to treat ADHD does not automatically lead to drug addiction. Adolescents and adults who are not being treated for ADHD make up the bulk of these media cases.
No Increased Risk From Medication
A study done at UCLA in 2013 found that for kids with ADHD, taking stimulant medication as children neither increases nor decreases their risk of becoming addicted later. The study analyzed 15 long-term studies following thousands of children from a mean age of 8 to 20.
We found the children were neither more likely nor less likely to develop alcohol and substance-use disorders as a result of being treated with stimulant medication, said the lead author of the study. We found no association between the use of medication such as Ritalin and future abuse of alcohol, nicotine, marijuana and cocaine.
The study undercuts claims that treatment in childhood leads to higher risk of substance abuse, and it also undercuts a group of earlier studies, analyzed in 2003, that had concluded that treatment with medication actually lowered the risk of later substance abuse by as much as half. The new analysis didnt find that protective effect.
Signs Of A Ritalin Addiction
Just like other Stimulants, Ritalin increases the levels of dopamine reaching neuron receptors in the brain. Dopamine is a naturally occurring chemical in the brain essential for activation of the brains reward system. The brains reward system reinforces behavior that activates dopamine production. Some people with ADHD have too many dopamine transporters, which results in low levels of dopamine in the brain. Ritalin blocks these transporters, keeping dopamine levels at a healthy level and increasing attention, focus, and impulse control. However, Ritalin influences a much higher amount of dopamine to reach receptors in the brain in those who dont have ADHD. Taking Ritalin can become a learned behavior after repeated abuse, spurring on the compulsion to take the drug regardless of consequences.
A telltale sign of a problem is continuing to use Ritalin despite wanting to quit. If someone recognizes that there are severe negative consequences associated with using Ritalin such as strained relationships and/or an unmanageably high price tag associated with use of the drug but still cant quit on their own, an addiction is likely present. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders outlines criteria of addiction. Learn how professionals diagnose Ritalin addiction today.
Other signs of an addiction include:
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Is Adhd Medication Addictive
When taking therapeutic doses as a healthcare professional prescribes, the risk of developing an addiction to ADHD medication significantly decreases.
Doctors may prescribe medications, such as methylphenidate or dextroamphetamine , for individuals with ADHD. These stimulant medications help people focus and control their emotions. They should not lead to addiction or substance misuse as long as people use these while following guidance from a doctor. However, they risk addiction or substance misuse if they use them for nonmedical reasons, such as trying to stay awake to study or work.
Additionally, there is no evidence that taking stimulant medications for ADHD makes individuals more likely to develop a substance use disorder later in life. Therefore, although children with ADHD have an increased risk of substance use disorders, this relates to the condition and not stimulant medication.
Dont Fear Adhd Medication
Numerous studies have shown an inverse relationship between drug therapy for ADHD and drug abuse. Perhaps the most compelling was conducted recently by Dr. Wilenss team at Harvard. They analyzed data from six studies and found that people with ADHD who received appropriate treatment in childhood were a remarkable 50 percent less likely than their untreated peers to abuse drugs or alcohol in adolescence or young adulthood.
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How Do Adhd Medications Work
Stimulant medications, one of the most common and effective forms of ADHD therapy, work by increasing dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain. This results in a calming effect which in turn provides the brain greater opportunity to focus clearly and for a child to be more productive. There are two classes of these medications, methylphenidate and amphetamine , and they are often prescribed in extended, or slow, release formulas to help a child maintain a steady focus throughout the day, such as while at school.
The Correlation Between Adhd And Addiction
When you understand the essential elements of ADHD, the conversation between addiction and ADHD becomes a lot simpler. There has been no evidence within the medical industry that having a disorder such as ADHD causes addiction or vice versa. However, it is more likely that if an individual does have an addiction, there could be a co-existing mental health disorder.
For any co-occurring disorder, the best approach is to seek treatment at a rehab facility that can completely accommodate all the individuals needs, requirements, and goals. At SHORELINE Recovery Center, Alcohol and Drug Rehab San Diego, we offer a dual-diagnosis drug and alcohol rehab facility. Additionally, our expert medical professionals also provide bespoke mental health treatment plans. With several flexible treatment options available, our professional staff is here to customize a San Diego drug rehab or alcohol treatment program that aligns patient needs with clinical best practices.
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How To Find Prescription Addiction Treatment Programs
So, back to the real question is ADHD medication addictive? It can be, but not if its use is controlled and monitored by a trusted professional. While it can be addictive, ADHD medication helps more people than it harms and is one of the most effective treatment options for ADHD.
Are you struggling to cope with your ADHD diagnosis? Does your ADHD co-occur with another mental health condition or substance abuse disorder? Are you worried that your struggle with ADHD will have a negative impact on your ability to live a happy, healthy, and rewarding life? For ADHD treatment in Burbank, CA, MCR is the best option.
Multi-Concept Recovery is a Southern California outpatient rehab center specializing in mental health and addiction treatment programs. We provide programs not only for adults, but also for college students and teen treatment in Burbank.
If you answered yes to any of those questions above, contact Multi-Concept Recovery immediately because we can help. We treat our ADHD patients with respect, ensuring they receive the best medication, education, and therapy. Together, we can defeat your condition.
Why Are People With Adhd More Likely To Abuse Drugs And Alcohol
People with ADHD tend to be more impulsive and likely to have behavior problems, both of which can contribute to drug and alcohol abuse, researchers say. Also, both ADHD and alcoholism tend to run in families. A child with ADHD who has a parent with alcoholism is more likely to also develop an alcohol abuse problem. Researchers have pointed to common genes shared between ADHD and alcoholism.
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Misuse And Abuse Of Adhd Medication
When medications for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder became available, parents everywhere breathed a collective sigh of relief that their children would finally be able to enjoy a relatively normal social and academic experience. Since ADHD is not uncommonroughly 8% of children and teens aged 4 to 17 years have the conditionthe consequences of untreated symptoms can be substantial.
These children and teens were often labeled as behavioral problems because the symptoms of ADHDimpulsivity inability to pay attention, follow instructions, or sit still distractibilitycan lead to problems at school and outside of the classroom. Indeed, ADHD drugs have the potential to benefit those who need them by reducing the risks for injuries and car accidents. Research suggests these agents may be protective later in life against developing drug and alcohol abuse, although the evidence for this is somewhat in flux.
However, many of these medications have a downside. People who use their ADHD medications as prescribed are in no danger of becoming addicted to them. But some ADHD agents, particularly those with a stimulatory effect, can become addictive if abused. Many teens and young adultsa number of whom do not need and do not have valid prescriptions for ADHD drugsabuse them for the high they deliver when taken in extreme doses or otherwise not as prescribed.
What Are The Benefits Of Adhd Stimulant Medications
- Improved participation and performance at school
- Greater level of comfort in social or group settings
- Enhanced executive functioning skills
- Boost in self-confidence
- Increased impulse control
Many children will typically grow out of the most severe ADHD symptoms on their own, and the need for medication often dwindles as the brain matures.
More resources on ADHD medications and other effective therapies, like supplements, that Child Neurology Consultants offers can be found here.
Child Neurology Consultants of Austin has experience treating a wide range of neurological conditions in children and teenagers from 0 to 21 years old. To make an appointment with one of our board-certified pediatric neurologists, please contact us here.
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What Else Can I Do
You and your parents should watch for any if you take a new ADHD medicine. Your doctor will adjust the dose and how often you take the medicine based on how much the medicine helps and if you have side effects.
You may need to go for several visits with the doctor over weeks or months to find the right medicine and dose. After that, the care team will want to see you every 3 to 6 months.
Going to all of the follow-up visits is important so the care team can check your height, weight, and blood pressure. The care team will also monitor side effects and adjust the medicine dose, as needed.
To prevent problems, always do these things when taking ADHD medicine:
- Take the recommended dose.
- Take each medicine at the right time.
- Talk to a doctor before stopping the medicine or changing the dose.
- Keep all medicines in a safe place where others can’t get to them.
- Don’t give any of your medicine to anyone else.
Medicine is one part of treatment for ADHD. Treatment also can include therapy, parent support, and school support. Medicine works best when parents, teachers, and therapists help you learn any social, emotional, and behavioral skills that aren’t easy because of ADHD.
The Best Treatments For People Who Have Both Adhd And An Addiction Will Treat Both At The Same Time
In the case of substance abuse issues, patients need to be sober before beginning treatment for their ADHD, explains Dr. Johnson.
Dr. Johnson says that properly taking prescribed medication helps reduce the risk of substance use issues. Some general steps that people with ADHD can take to reduce their risk of addiction include taking ADHD medication as prescribed, exercising regularly, and having continual behavioral health checkups during treatment.
She also says that prescribers and clinicians can help their patients reduce their risk for misusing stimulants or becoming addicted to them by prescribing long-acting medications rather than shorter-acting ones.
For adults with ADHD, the key is diagnosing and properly treating the condition. But its also possible to reduce the risk that teens and adults will turn to substance use in the first place.
One of the strongest predictors of substance use disorders in adulthood is the early use of substances, and children and teens with ADHD have an increased likelihood of using substances at an early age, says Dr. Jeff Temple, a licensed psychologist and director of behavioral health and research in the department of OB-GYN at the University of Texas Medical Branch.
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Addictive Behaviors With Chemicals
The lifetime occurrence of substance use problems among adults in the general population is approximately 25 percent. They may be addicted to alcohol, recreational drugs, or prescription medications. In comparison, 50 percent of adults with ADHD have a history of dealing with substance use at some point in their lives.
Many reasons account for addictions among adults with ADHD, however two general causes come up again and again. First, adults with ADHD are more likely to self-medicate, particularly so when they lack awareness or understanding of their ADHD biology and have not yet learned how to manage it well. Second, many adults with ADHD are drawn to thrill-seeking and novel experiences. One individual said he liked to play with his brain.
Adderall Addiction And Adha
If you or a loved one suffer from ADHA, you can become addicted to Adderall if you are abusing the drug. However, you can too become addicted to Adderall with or without being diagnosed with ADHA. Anyone can become addicted to Adderall if the consumption and dosage are not monitored having ADHA does make your risk slightly elevated but so does a variety of many other mental health disorders.
There are several severe mental health-related problems associated with Adderall addition that could lead turn fatal this can be seen include:
- Chest pains
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Double Trouble Double Treatment
In her effort to break her dependency on marijuana and other drugs, Jennifer had been to countless 12-step meetings. She even attended a 28-day residential rehab program. But all was in vain, because her ADHD hadnt yet been diagnosed or treated.
I couldnt stay focused on recovery, Jennifer recalls. In meetings, my mind was on anything but what they were talking about. How ugly the walls were. How annoying the speakers voice was. Id think, How long are they going to talk? The coffee is getting cold. I have to meet so-and-so at the mall.’
The unfortunate truth is that ADHD makes substance abuse harder to treat and vice versa. I couldnt deal with my ADHD until I got sober, says 36-year-old David, a salesman in San Jose, California. But it was hard to stay sober before my ADHD was under control.
Whats the right way to get help? Recent studies suggest that its best to optimize the treatment for ADHD only after the individual has been sober for six weeks to a few months. The results wont be very dependable if you just try to blast through ADHD without waiting for abstinence, explains Dr. Wilens. Adds Dr. Dodson, You cant really tell whether ADHD medication is working if someone is intoxicated on something else.
Sometimes an ADHD diagnosis preempts treatment for substance abuse. Jim, of Greeley, Colorado, smoked marijuana for years without ever realizing he had a problem until he was treated for ADHD.
What Are Adhd Medications
The medication that is most commonly prescribed for the treatment of ADHD is a stimulant, typically a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It is used to increase attention, concentration, and focus, and to control behavior by balancing the neurotransmitters in the brain. It is considered effective for the treatment of ADHD and many people suffering from the disorder are helped greatly with this type of medication.
However, ADHD medication is often abused. In fact, studies show that the number of people for whom it is prescribed for the treatment of ADHD is smaller than the number of people who take it for its effects. Abuse is highest amongst students who take the drug to focus and increase productivity while studying. It is also sometimes abused as a way to lose weight or as a party drug due to its stimulant effects it allows an individual to drink more alcohol without becoming tired.
The medication can be habit-forming, and a person can become physically dependent on the drug. Physical dependence is a precursor to addiction, which is a difficult thing to overcome no matter what the addictive substance is.
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Addictive Behaviors With Food
Food addictions are considered to be both physical and behavioral addictions. They are so common that many people regard them as regular eating habits. Unfortunately, the foods that are most addictive are the foods that are the most unhealthy. A steady diet of them not only increases risk for obesity and physical illnesses, such as diabetes, but also wreaks havoc with mood regulation and cognitive functioning as blood sugar levels take a roller-coaster ride.
Highly processed foods, such as cookies and cakes, are addictive for the same reason that addictive drugs are addictive: They deliver a high dose and have a rapid rate of absorption. That sugar high you feel after a bowl of ice cream is an actual high. That carbohydrate craving you feel for a bag of chips is a real craving for carbs. Strong cravings are a symptom of addiction.
When does eating become a food addiction? Important factors to consider are:
- When having a cup of ice cream leads to eating the whole pint, there may be a problem. As there might be with eating half of a large pizza, the entire bag of chips, and so on.
- When a person is significantly overweight , or having health problems, such as hypertension or diabetes, but cannot stop eating, there is a problem.
- Making an effort to change unhealthy behavior, and being unable to do it by yourself, is a primary defining characteristic of addictive behavior.
Stimulant Medication In Childhood Does Not Lead To Addictive Disorders Later
With my colleagues at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital, I reviewed all available studies. We found no evidence that the use of stimulant medications for ADHD in childhood led to addictive disorders in adolescence or adulthood.
Instead, we found some evidence that the stimulant medications for ADHD protected patients from subsequent addictive disorders.
Additional evidence for a protective effect of stimulant medications came from a Swedish study of commercial health care claims from 2,993,887 adolescent and adult ADHD patients. The authors concluded:
These results provide evidence that receiving ADHD medication is unlikely to be associated with greater risk of substance-related problems in adolescence or adulthood. Rather, medication was associated with lower concurrent risk of substance-related events and, at least among men, lower long-term risk of future substance-related events.
This confirmed an earlier report from Sweden based on a study of 26,249 men and 12,504 women with ADHD.
So, the data are clear and unequivocal. When used therapeutically, the stimulant medications for ADHD do not cause addiction. Instead, because these medications control the symptoms of ADHD, they reduce the likelihood that a child with ADHD will, eventually, develop a substance use disorder.
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