Amphetamines are a stimulant medication often prescribed to treat people of all ages diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Those with persistent ADHD are more impulsive than their peers and have a harder time paying attention and focusing. Generally, ADHD shows up when a person is in pre-school or their first few years of elementary school. However, sometimes people are diagnosed in adulthood. Although, for many people, the symptoms of ADHD become less severe with age, they can persist well into adulthood.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “ADHD diagnoses are increasing.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note:
- Approximately 11% of children 4-17 years of age (6.4 million) have been diagnosed with ADHD as of 2011.
- The percentage of children with an ADHD diagnosis continues to increase, from 7.8% in 2003 to 9.5% in 2007 and to 11.0% in 2011.
- Rates of ADHD diagnosis increased an average of 3% per year from 1997 to 2006 and an average of approximately 5% per year from 2003 to 2011.
With the increase in diagnoses comes an increase in medication prescription, which means there are more prescription amphetamines in the population and more amphetamines means more chances for abuse. If you or someone you love have become dependent on prescription amphetamines, there is help available. Call Amphetamines.com at 800-768-8728(Who Answers?) and speak to someone.
In a Monitoring the Future survey, the following percentages of young people had used amphetamines non-medically at some point in their life:
8th grade: 6.8 percent
10th grade: 9.7 percent
12th grade: 10.8 percent
Based on these numbers every one in ten 12th graders has used amphetamines to get high.
But, why do they do it? Because prescription amphetamines suppress appetite, increase wakefulness, and increase focus and attention, they are most frequently abused to enhance performance or control weight. In addition, because they can produce euphoria, they may also be used to get high.
Drug and alcohol addiction is, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “a chronic, often relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences to the addicted individual and to those around him or her. Although the initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people, the brain changes that occur over time challenge an addicted person’s self-control and hamper his or her ability to resist intense impulses to take drugs.” If your brain has decided it needs additional amphetamines, beyond what you have been prescribed, you may not have noticed your growing dependence because it has felt so natural.
Abuse and Dependence
The easiest way to determine whether or not are abusing amphetamine medication is to monitor your usage. If you are taking the medication in a way other than intended by your doctor, taking it without a prescription, or taking it to get high, you are abusing the medication. Other non-medical usages include:
- Taking the medication in a manner other than prescribed: crushing the pills and snorting them
- Taking the medication in larger doses than prescribed
- Taking the medication more frequently than prescribed
- Taking the medication with alcohol or drugs
- Taking the medication for a longer period than prescribed
If you are curious about whether you may be dependent upon the medication, stop taking it for a period and see if withdrawal kicks in. If your brain and body have become dependent upon the chronic introduction of the medication, they will have developed a tolerance and that will mean that you need to keep taking it to avoid withdrawal.
If you have developed a dependence and feel you are heading toward or already enmeshed in an addiction, you are in danger. Non-medical use of prescription amphetamines can kill you. To seek treatment and resources, call Amphetamines.com at 800-768-8728(Who Answers?) and speak with someone who can connect you to the help you both need and deserve.