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Thursday, March 25, 2021

Is My Child Addicted to Adderall?

Adderall is one of the most frequently prescribed medications for treating ADHD, which is why children as young as 7 or 8 years old might begin taking this drug to improve their ability to pay attention in school, stay on task and listen to directions. While using Adderall under a doctor’s supervision can provide children with more clarity and focus in their daily lives, its reputation as a readily available “study drug” has created a problem on campuses nationwide. As a parent, what should you know about Adderall addiction and recreational use?

A Parent’s Guide to Adderall

While you may understandably worry that your child might try drugs like marijuana and alcohol, you should also be alert to issues caused by legally prescribed medications like Adderall. After all, the easiest way for kids and young adults to obtain access to drugs is to look in the medicine cabinet.

For children who don’t have ADHD, using Adderall is illegal and dangerous, because prescription stimulants have a high potential for abuse and addiction. Students who take Adderall in hopes of excelling on a test or competing in a sports event may find the drug has unpleasant side effects, such as dizziness, restlessness and impaired decision-making abilities. In some cases, users also experience a racing heart rate or irregular heart palpitations.

Adderall misuse has become a prevalent problem among college students. However, don’t assume your middle schooler or high school-aged student is immune to peer pressure to experiment with taking someone else’s prescription medication. Whether they’ve heard the drug can help fuel an all-night study session or they’re merely curious about its effects, they might start asking among their classmates to determine if they can get access to it.

Warning Signs of an Adderall Addiction

If your child is using Adderall as prescribed, their risk of developing a substance abuse disorder is low. However, if they start taking the medication differently than directed – such as crushing and snorting pills to experience the effects sooner, or taking a higher dose – they might develop a dependence.

Red flags of a worsening Adderall addiction may include:
  • Secrecy and isolation
  • Weight loss due to a lack of appetite
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Sleep disruptions
  • Anxiety or paranoia
  • Loss of interest in maintaining friendships or pursuing hobbies
  • Unpleasant withdrawal symptoms if they try to taper off or quit use

How to Be Part of the Solution

If your child takes Adderall to manage their ADHD symptoms and you’re concerned they might be giving or selling their pills to classmates, talk to them – using age-appropriate terms – about how to respond if other students ask to use their medication. Make sure they know it’s against the law to share Adderall with other people, and reassure them that you’re always available to talk about any questions or concerns they might have. Keep all prescription medicines in a safe place, and promptly dispose of any unused doses.

Don’t assume prescription drugs are safe for anyone to take merely because they are legally available. Adderall and other stimulants can be highly addictive when misused, which is an essential lesson for children to learn.

Young Adult Addiction Treatment

At Hope Academy, we understand you might not see a clear path forward when you realize your child is struggling with addiction. Rest assured that we have worked with many parents and young adults who are dealing with the heartbreaking issue of substance misuse. Our team of trained medical specialists can help treat these problems at their roots and teach your child to thrive. Reach out to us today to speak to a recovery advisor.
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