Abusing ADHD Drugs And Eating Disorders
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a brain disorder that commonly manifests during childhood. A child that exhibits ADHD symptoms may suffer with them throughout their entire life. Children who have this disorder have difficulty concentrating, focusing on a task and maintaining attention. They are easily distracted, act without thinking, forget easily, and more.
This can cause behavioral problems such as hyperactivity, fidgeting, inability to study in school, and other problems that result when someone can’t sit still and focus on what is in front of them. It can make it very frustrating for not only the child, but for their parents, teachers and others that interact with them directly. One way ADHD can be treated is with medications.
What Is The Nature Of ADHD Medications?
ADHD medications come in two types – stimulants and non-stimulants. It may sound contradictory to treat a disorder whose nature is hyperactivity. However, stimulant medications such as Ritalin and Vyvance, work by increasing the transmission of brain chemicals such as dopamine and norepinephrine, which are key in the communication between nerves.
There are some who would actually characterize the disorder, not as a lack of paying attention, because those suffering from it have been shown to be able to hyper-focus on certain activities. But as a disorder caused by not having something key to their interest to focus upon, which results in doing behaviors that self-stimulate such as fidgeting, going off-subject, etc.
By administering a stimulant medication, the child no longer has to compensate with such behaviors. The medication relieves the subconscious need to self-stimulate.
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What Are The Hazards And Drawbacks To ADHD Medications?
These stimulant-type medications are often amphetamine based. As such, they can be and often are, a temptation for people to abuse them. Often by taking them without a need or without a prescription. Similar to people who suffer from an addiction to other highly abused drugs such as crystal meth and speed.
Studies have shown that as many as 6.8 percent of high school seniors abuse prescriptions such as Ritalin. They most often use them for effects such as getting high or appetite suppression. The number of college students abusing ADHD medications was 6.4 percent. They often use them to increase attention for exams and studying.
The potential for the developing a dependence on these medications can be just as bad or even worse in some situations, than street drugs.
Use Of ADHD Medications As A Dangerous Appetite Suppression Method
Vyvanse, a medication initially intended and most often used to treat ADHD, has also been used to successfully aid in appetite suppression for individuals suffering from binge eating disorders. Studies show that it significantly reduces the number of times those suffering from this type of disorder had the desire to eat in just over a week. This can be a beneficial tool because there is no drug currently on the market which has been specifically formulated to treat binge eating disorders.
But it has been shown that those suffering from eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia can abuse it in order to restrict proper eating. The medication makes a person feel full and also increases their metabolism, so they burn more calories. Like those using ADHD medication improperly, they will often steal it from family members or friends who have been legitimately prescribed the medication.
Side Effects Of Improperly Used ADHD Medications
There is much danger in taking ADHD medications without being supervised by a doctor. Not only can a person develop an addiction, but there is potential for overdose or dangerous interactions with other drugs, alcohol or even herbal supplements if they have not been treated with proper dosage. Not to mention that every medication comes with potential side effects.
Side effects of ADHD medications include:
- Aggressive behavior
- Suicidal thoughts
- Breathing difficulties
- Heart attack
- High blood pressure
Again, without doctor supervision, any side effects that might present may go untreated.
The effect of the medication can wear off over time. As such, many abusers may start taking higher and higher dosages. The potential for overdose is unfortunately high in those who take the medication without prescription and improperly.
There are also potential side effects if you suddenly stop the use of ADHD medications. Unfortunately, this is common in circumstances where they are often obtained by taking a few here and there from family or friends.
Possible symptoms of withdrawal include:
- Heart irregularities
- Mood swings, particularly toward depression
ADHD Medications May Be Easy To Obtain, But Difficult To Stop Abusing
Like many prescription medications that are misused and abused, ADHD medications are often unfortunately easy to find and used improperly. Just because they have a legitimate, beneficial use, doesn’t mean they can’t be dangerous when taken without doctor supervision and a prescription. If you or someone you love is misusing ADHD medication, contact RehabCenter.net and we can help you figure out what to do to help yourself or someone you care about.