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Dexedrine Addiction And The Best Rehab Centers For Treatment

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

February 14, 2019

Dexedrine is an amphetamine stimulant, often abused by people in search of a boost of energy before tests or other activities requiring greater focus. Individuals also seeking to lose weight may abuse this drug. When abused, Dexedrine can be addictive, and even fatal.

What Is Dexedrine?

Dexedrine is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that has been in use to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) for more than 50 years. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder affects more than two million people within the United States and includes an inability to concentrate alongside impulsive or hyperactive behaviors.

Drugs like Dexedrine are thought to quell some hyperactivity and improve focus in both children and adults with ADHD. Dextroamphetamine sulfate is also prescribed to patients suffering from narcolepsy, a rare sleep disorder.

Dexedrine Side Effects

At prescribed low doses, Dexedrine works within the body to help improve mental focus. Stimulants like Dexedrine have long been thought to increase neurotransmission of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. Dopamine is associated with memory and cognitive development. Norepinephrine is linked to overall attentiveness. Excess of both contributes to positive results in the treatment of ADHD.

When the drug is taken in higher than prescribed doses, the uptake of dopamine is severely inhibited and the excess excitement of dopamine neurotransmission within the central nervous system results in feelings of euphoria. An excess of norepinephrine leaves the user feelings hyper-alert and energetic. This can lead to addictive behaviors when the user begins chasing the high or seeking out higher doses of the drug to keep going.

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Is Dexedrine Addictive?

While many people who become addicted or dependent on Dexedrine began with a prescription for the drug to relieve a medical issue, they often end up abusing Dexedrine as they develop tolerance to the drug. As many as 25 percent of college students have reported using or abusing Dexedrine to help with studying and focus during tests.

Since many patients prescribed drugs like Dexedrine are children with developing brains, they may be at greater risk for addiction as the part of their brains related to decision making and rationalization is underdeveloped. Stress factors, predisposition to addiction, and underlying medical conditions can lead a person to become dependent on Dexedrine.

Addiction to Dexedrine is linked to the potency of the drug in raising dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine relates to the reward centers of the brain. Normally, dopamine is increased when survival needs are met like eating food, drinking water, or having sex (continuation of the species). When taking Dexedrine, levels of dopamine are increased at higher levels than occur naturally.

The body begins to reinforce a need for the drug akin to other basic survival requirements. This is one reason appetite for food is suppressed with continued use of Dexedrine- the body sees it the drug as more significant a role in its survival than food or water. Those who use Dexedrine to lose weight will likely need support to overcome poor body image or low self-esteem that initiated abuse of the drug.

Hyperactivation of the reward centers of the brain with Dexedrine abuse are linked to a powerful cycle of dependency that is difficult to break without professional treatment and support.

Side Effects From Dexedrine Abuse

Common side effects under normal use of Dexedrine include nausea, loss of appetite, nervousness, headache, and irritability. Signs of Dexedrine abuse are more serious and include:

  • heart palpitations
  • tachycardia (racing heart)
  • high blood pressure
  • insomnia
  • tremor
  • headache
  • gastrointestinal issues
  • sexual dysfunction

Chronic abuse of Dexedrine can correlate with psychotic episodes resembling schizophrenia. Changes in sleep, hyperactivity, and cutaneous conditions including lesions and rashes. Continued abuse of Dexedrine can cause a permanent decrease in dopamine levels produced naturally within the body leading to chronic fatigue and depression.

Signs Of Dexedrine Withdrawal

Symptoms relating to withdrawal from Dexedrine may be severe, especially if a person is abusing the drug in excess of normally prescribed dosages. Extreme fatigue and depression are common withdrawal symptoms and can create a cycle of dependency as the person begins developing tolerance for the drug. Even when the drug is tapered, these symptoms may persist for a period of a few weeks accompanied by insomnia, mood fluctuations, and restlessness.

Other physical side effects of withdrawal include aggression, irritability, confusion, and seizures. Depression and fatigue may last for much longer than the withdrawal period and should be addressed as a part of an individual treatment plan.

Typically, treatment for Dexedrine abuse includes a detoxification program in conjunction with medical monitoring and professional counseling. Side effects of withdrawal may be managed with medication and therapeutic support. Underlying health issues should also be addressed.

Dexedrine Overdose

Dexedrine overdose may be fatal and signs or symptoms relating to an overdose should be addressed immediately by a medical professional.

Symptoms of Dexedrine overdose may include:

  • muscle tremors
  • slurred speech
  • rapid breathing
  • aggression
  • muscle aches
  • vomiting
  • gastrointestinal upset
  • fatigue
  • convulsions
  • coma
  • hallucinations

Find Help For Dexedrine Dependence

If you or someone you love is struggling with Dexedrine dependence, can connect you with the resources and professional guidance to help you recover. Call today to confidentially speak to someone about treatment options that meet your individual needs. Contact today.

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