Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a serious condition that affects adults as well as children and teens. Stimulant medications are effective in treating this condition, but concerns about the potential for abuse of these medications, or even addiction to them, (Focalin addiction, Adderall addiction, and Ritalin addiction) are valid. Let’s take a closer look at how to discern if you are developing an addiction to the medications prescribed for your ADHD.
Stimulants or amphetamines are highly “reinforcing,” meaning that when you take them, you experience a significant change in how you feel, and usually quite quickly. This means that they can be very effective, but it also means that their potential for abuse or addiction is quite high. How can you tell if you’re getting into the danger zone with these medications?
- Are you using a larger dose than your doctor prescribed? Are you taking your prescribed dosage more frequently than you should? Building a tolerance to medications and needing to take more to get the same effect is one indicator of a Focalin addiction.
- Have you changed how you’re taking your medication? Going from swallowing your pills to snorting them is a significant red flag indicating addiction.
- Are you taking your medication to address your ADHD, or are you trying to get too much done in too little time (studying, writing papers, and keeping your part-time job, for example)? According to recent research, the profile of a “typical” abuser of stimulant medications is someone who is driven, hard-working and overburdened with academic and other demands.
- Are you feeling more nervous, jittery, feverish, experiencing an increased heart rate, or other physical symptoms? Focalin addiction, or an addiction to other stimulant medications such as Ritalin or Adderall, changes how your body functions. These changes can range from uncomfortable to life-threatening (increases in heart rate and blood pressure may become dangerous). Seek medical attention if necessary.
- Do you experience mood changes? Have you become more irritable or paranoid? As an addiction to stimulant medication develops, changes in mood and mental status are common.
If you suspect that you are developing a Focalin addiction or addiction to any other stimulant, seek help. You can safely treat your ADHD without risking addiction, but you need to trust the experts — doctors, therapists and other treatment professionals — and let them help you.