Can Adderall Abuse Lead to Addiction

By Frank J. Granett R.ph, Special for  USDR

The Price of ADHD Business health segment on the Price of Business radio recently interviewed Dr. Damon Raskin M.D. As a board certified addiction medicine specialist with nationally recognized Cliffside Malibu addiction treatment center in California, Dr. Raskin related that Adderall has become widely abused with other benzodiazepine prescription medications including Xanax, Klonopin and Valium. Adderall abuse with other prescription medications may lead to addiction which requires a delicate balance between detox and withdrawal treatment in order for healing to  begin.


The illicit consumption of Adderall on college campuses in the US has reached epidemic status. Adderall is the most widely abused scheduled Class II controlled substance consumed by young adults to gain focus and executive function while attending college. The Adderall epidemic on college campuses is also referred as “academic doping” for the short sighted purpose of increasing performance on college exams and assignments. Although the short term effects of Adderall may be positive, the long term side effects toward overall health and wellness are now known. Increased blood pressure, heart rate as well as decreased sleep and appetite may occur. More serious long term effects due to higher dosing and abuse may include extreme anxiety leading to depression as well as aggressive or paranoid behavior. A more alarming and related statistic regarding behavioral challenges on college campuses involves suicide. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death in the US college student population. Additionally, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in Washington DC revealed a 270 percent increase, during a 5 year period, in emergency room visits due to the abuse of ADHD stimulant medications including Adderall. This statistic was collected by the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) and involved individuals over the age of  18.


Many college students believe that taking Adderall only in preparation for exams is not addictive behavior. However, this behavior may lead to a dependence on the drug which creates a pattern. If the patterned behavior is disrupted due to the lack of obtaining the drug, then stress and anxiety may occur. Additionally, tolerance of the drug may also lead to addictive behavior. Tolerance occurs when the drug is used for a long period of time, and requires increased dosing to achieve the desired effect.


Academic doping on college campuses requires immediate intervention to prevent abuse as well as long term addiction. Universities have begun the implementation of strict regulations regarding the prescribing of Adderall at college clinics. The University of California at Fresno was one of the first universities to implement strict ADHD prescribing regulations. Many universities are now following their lead. Attention to the academic doping epidemic has also reached the US Congress. Senators are encouraging universities nationwide to implement stricter ADHD prescribing  protocols.


Adderall is the most widely prescribed ADHD stimulant. ADHD-like symptoms are very real and can become debilitating to a child or adult. Ruling out underlying nutritional, physiological and environmental risk factors should be comprehensively assessed prior to prescribing ADHD stimulant therapy. ADHD prescribing protocols at university clinics for college students should also be reformed. Developing a healthy focused mind prior to premature drug therapy is possible and requires a differential diagnosis involving healthcare professionals from multiple fields of expertise. Or, take the short term solution and cover up the underlying cause of symptoms with premature use of ADHD stimulant  therapy.


Learn how to develop a healthy focused mind prior to premature drug therapy by following The Action Plan for Behavioral Conditions at www.CAOOY.org or review The American Epidemic: Solutions for Over-medicating Our  Youth.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.