When you hear about Adderall, you likely think about the widespread abuse by college students on campuses across the nation. Dubbed as a “study drug,” the prescription medication has characteristics that enhance brain function, providing better energy, focus, attention, and memory. Realizing these advantages, stressed-out students looking to excel took Adderall and consequently developed a dependency or addiction that’s hard to overcome.
While that’s the story and reputation of Adderall today, most don’t know the history or true purpose of this innovative medication. Continue reading to learn more.
How It Began
Medication by the name of Obetrol designed to treat obesity was approved by the FDA in 1960 but didn’t get much traction from the general public. As a result, Rexar Pharmaceuticals sold the rights to another agency called Richwood. It was later renamed Adderall and approved in 1996 by the FDA as a treatment option for ADHD in kids. In 2001, it was turned into a slow-release pill called Adderall XR.
Adderall is classified as an amphetamine. It’s 75% dextroamphetamine, 25% levoamphetamine, and 5% of inactive ingredients. Its contents directly impact primary neurotransmitters in the brain known as norepinephrine and dopamine. Adderall ultimately stimulates the central and peripheral nervous systems causing the user to feel more alert and focused for long timeframes.
Due to its contents, Adderall has been classified by the DEA as a schedule II substance. That’s because it has been proven to have medical benefits but has a high risk of dependency and addiction.
When Adderall was introduced to the market, it was intended to help treat children who have ADD and ADHD. It has also been prescribed to patients struggling with narcolepsy.
Adderall Side Effects
Like most pharmaceuticals, Adderall does have some side effects. The most common include dry mouth, anxiety, headaches, frequent restlessness, insomnia, and digestive issues. In rare cases, users can experience heart palpitations and sexual dysfunctions.
Misconceptions And Abuse
So, how did Adderall become one of the top abused prescription drugs by teens and young adults? It ultimately boils down to misconceptions. There was a widespread belief that taking this medication could make you smarter. Others believed it would help enhance your athletic performance or lose weight. With these beliefs in mind, patients started using more of the medication than prescribed, which led to dependency and later addiction.
Individuals that wanted to experience the “benefits” of using Adderall started asking others for pills or getting them through a street dealer or black market. Because Adderall can enhance brain function and provide a sense of euphoria, students continue using them, despite the potential consequences.
Signs Of Trouble And Next Steps
How do you know when your use of Adderall is a problem? For starters, if you haven’t been prescribed Adderall, you’re putting your health and life at risk. Secondly, if you’re not using Adderall as prescribed by your doctor, you could develop an addiction.
What are some signs that you may be dealing with an Adderall addiction? Someone with an Adderall addiction will use the medication despite experiencing adverse side effects. They may try to quit but experience significant withdrawal symptoms. Finally, their dosage has increased, or they’ve started sniffing or injecting the substance for a more immediate high.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an Adderall addiction, you must seek assistance. You can reach out to your doctor, a rehab center, therapist, or your local human services department to find recovery options. Depending on the severity of your addiction and lifestyle, you’ll be offered in and outpatient services to detox Adderall from your system. Then a combination of therapies can be used to help you make better life choices to avoid using in the future.
Who knew that medication once created to assist with weight loss would ultimately become a drug to treat ADD in children? More importantly, who could have predicted that the drug would become so misunderstood that teens and young adults began using them to enhance their academic experience. Now, the nation faces an uphill battle with Adderall addiction. The best way to start combatting this problem is to educate the masses on the history and intended use of Adderall to debunk the myths and safeguard the future.