Dexedrine is a brand name for Dextroamphetamine, a potent Central Nervous System (CNS) Stimulant. Dextroamphetamine is also sold under the brand name Dextrostat. Dexedrine is prescribed for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Dexedrine promotes focus and calm in people with ADHD and energy and wakefulness in those with sleep disorders — if used in a manner inconsistent with prescribed instruction, however, Dexedrine addiction can develop.
Dexedrine is classified as a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act. This means it has a recognized medical use but also a high likelihood of abuse and addiction. Dexedrine is administered as a pill to be taken orally. Seek help for a Dexedrine addiction.
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Dexedrine Abuse And Effects
All Amphetamines have a high potential for abuse and addiction, and Dexedrine is no exception. Abuse is classified as any type of use other than directed by a doctor, including use without a prescription or taking more than prescribed. Dexedrine abuse goes back decades. It has been abused for studying and test-taking, boosting athletic performance, and helping with weight loss.
Dexedrine isn’t as commonly prescribed as other Amphetamines but has the same risks when abused. There are serious side effects caused by Dexedrine abuse, including:
- Restlessness and insomnia
- Loss of appetite
- Blurred vision
- Increased blood pressure
- Chest pain
- Dry mouth
- Weight loss
- Circulation problems
Greater doses of Dexedrine, along with long-term abuse and addiction, may cause more serious side effects, including:
- Delusional thoughts
- Amphetamine-induced psychosis
- Difficulty thinking clearly
- Manic behavior
- Aggressive behavior
The more often a drug is abused, the higher the risk of addiction becomes. This is because medications change the user’s brain chemistry. Dexedrine stimulates the release of dopamine (known as the “pleasure hormone”) in the user’s brain and blocks excess dopamine from being transported away. The drug begins to create higher amounts of the “feel-good” endorphins, which naturally occur at lower levels. After some time has passed, the addict’s brain stops producing these endorphins on its own because it no longer needs to.
People will continue to use this medication because, if they don’t, they will not “feel like themselves” without it. This is because when the user stops taking the drug, they will be depleted of dopamine and experience withdrawal symptoms as the brain attempts to readjust. This can result in compulsive drug use as the drug becomes something they take out of a need, rather than because it’s fun. At this point, a physical dependence has formed; the risk of developing an addiction is now much higher.
The Dangers Of Dexedrine
Due to the high potential of health risks from Dexedrine and cases of sudden death by regular users, the following warning label has been added to all prescriptions of Dexedrine to advise consumers of the potential health risks:
Amphetamines have a high potential for abuse. Administration of Amphetamines for prolonged periods of time may lead to drug dependence and must be avoided. Particular attention should be paid to the possibility of subjects obtaining Amphetamines for nontherapeutic use or distribution to others, and the drugs should be prescribed or dispensed sparingly. Misuse of Amphetamines may cause sudden death and serious cardiovascular adverse events.
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Signs Of A Dexedrine Addiction
Once someone’s brain has been rewired to need Dexedrine, it can be extremely difficult to stop using it. An addicted user will rely on Dexedrine to help them study or perform their athletic duties despite patterns of repeated abuse and negative consequences. Someone addicted to Dexedrine may recognize that they have a problem and be unable to stop using it, instead continuing to put their health at risk and damage relationships with people they care about. Learn all the signs of an addiction to Dexedrine.
Signs of a Dexedrine addiction include:
The user continues to abuse Dexedrine despite overdosing, blacking out, driving while under the influence, or other dangerous and life-threatening consequences.
Social Or Interpersonal Problems
Dexedrine abuse has caused relationship problems or conflicts with others.
Neglect Of Major Roles
Dexedrine abuse has caused the user to fail to meet responsibilities at work, school, or home.
The user experiences uncomfortable or painful withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking Dexedrine or reduce their dose.
The user no longer feels the same effects from their previous dosage, meaning they have to take increasing amounts to get the desired effect.
Using Larger Amounts For Longer Time Periods
The individual uses larger and larger amounts of Dexedrine and spends longer and longer periods of time abusing the substance.
Repeated Attempts To Control Use Or Quit
The individual has made multiple attempts to either use less Dexedrine or stop entirely and has been unsuccessful.
Physical Or Psychological Problems
Dexedrine use has caused physical health problems, like liver damage or lung cancer, or psychological issues, like depression or anxiety.
Giving Up Activities
The individual spends less time on activities they once enjoyed due to their spending time abusing Dexedrine instead.
When the user is not under the influence of Dexedrine, they experience a strong desire to use the substance; this can even be physically or psychologically painful.
Dexedrine Addiction And Abuse Statistics
Approximately 13 million Americans use Amphetamines like Dexedrine without medical supervision.
year of approval
Dexedrine was approved by the FDA in 1976 to treat ADHD and narcolepsy.
There were 15,585 emergency room visits related to ADHD treatment medications like Dexedrine reported in 2010.
Dexedrine Addiction Treatment
Many people start using Dexedrine because they perceive it as a safe way to enhance performance. Many do not fully understand the risk of addiction until it is too late.
If you are addicted to Dexedrine, you aren’t alone. Help is available in the form of many different resources, including:
- Rehabilitation programs
- Support groups
- 12-step programs
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Detoxification is an important part of treatment to avoid withdrawal symptoms that may lead to a relapse. Uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms may include headaches, depression, and fatigue. Detox is usually part of rehabilitation programs, and it generally takes a week to get the substance out of the patient’s system and restore normal levels of dopamine to the brain.
There are many treatment programs and support groups across the country. If you are ready to beat your addiction, contact a treatment provider to find available treatment options in your area.
Ashish Bhatt, MD, MRO
Doctor of Addiction Medicine
Learn about Dr. Ashish Bhatt
Dr. Bhatt has been Addiction Center's Medical Content Director for more than three years, providing his expertise to ensure quality and accuracy.
Doctor of Addiction Medicine
Expert in adult and child psychiatry
Over 20 years of professional experience