Dexedrine Misuse, Addiction, and Treatment

Dexedrine is a brand-name medication that contains the prescription stimulant, dextroamphetamine. Prescription stimulants like Dexedrine have a known potential for misuse.1

Prescription drug misuse is a major public health concern across the nation.2,3 In 2021, an estimated 3.2 million Americans aged 12 and older reportedly misused Dexedrine or other prescription amphetamines.4

Keep reading for more information about the risks of Dexedrine misuse, Dexedrine addiction, and how to get help if you or someone you love has lost control of their prescription drug use.

What Is Dextroamphetamine Used For?

Dextroamphetamine is the primary active component of the prescription brand formulation Dexedrine. Dexedrine and other prescription amphetamines are used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and the sleep disorder narcolepsy.1

When used as directed, Dexedrine can be a helpful part of an overall treatment plan designed to manage these conditions. But like other central nervous system (CNS) stimulants, Dexedrine carries a risk of misuse and addiction. Any use beyond the way it is prescribed can be risky and dangerous.1

Dexedrine Misuse

Dexedrine misuse can occur in several different ways, including:5

  • Using the medicine more frequently or in greater doses than recommended.
  • Taking someone else’s prescription.
  • Taking the drug via non-oral routes (e.g., snorting, smoking, or injecting).
  • Using Dexedrine for non-medical reasons (i.e., to get “high”).
  • Mixing the medicine with other substances.6

Non-medical use of prescription stimulants is especially common among young adults aged 18–25, who misuse these medications at higher rates than other prescription drugs.3

Research indicates that prescription stimulants are often diverted and misused among this age group as a “study drug” or to otherwise enhance performance at school or work. In other cases, young adults may be misusing these medicines to lose weight or merely to get high.2,3

Although less common, older adults may sometimes misuse Dexedrine and other prescription stimulants to improve memory.5

Dexedrine Side Effects

Dexedrine misuse may result in unwanted, adverse side effects. Common side effects of Dexedrine include:1

  • Headache.
  • Insomnia.
  • Increased heart rate.
  • Tremors.
  • Dizziness.
  • Upset stomach.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Decreased appetite.
  • Weight loss.

Using prescription stimulants through non-oral routes (e.g., snorting, smoking, or injecting) increases the likelihood someone will experience adverse health effects.3

Dexedrine Overdose & Other Health Risks

Chronic Dexedrine misuse can also have more serious effects, including marked personality changes and psychosis. Dexedrine may also worsen pre-existing bipolar disorder, depression, and other mental health conditions.1

At high doses, misuse can also increase the risk of:1,5

  • Dangerously high body temperature.
  • Seizures (especially in people prone to seizures).
  • Heart attack.
  • Stroke.

Additionally, a person can take too much of a prescription stimulant and overdose. Signs of an amphetamine or Dexedrine overdose include:1

  • Restlessness.
  • Confusion.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Panic states.
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Rapid breathing.
  • Heart rhythm disturbances.
  • Unstable blood pressure.
  • Dangerously elevated body temperature.
  • Muscle tissue breakdown (rhabdomyolysis).
  • Convulsions.
  • Coma.

An overdose is a medical emergency. If you think you or someone else is experiencing an overdose, call 911 immediately.

Often, people who misuse prescription drugs obtain them illicitly. This can pose even further risk because there is no guarantee of what they’re getting. Pills purchased on the street might be completely fake or contain other dangerous ingredients, like fentanyl.7

Fentanyl is an extremely dangerous synthetic opioid and the number one cause of fatal overdoses in the U.S. Ingesting even the tiniest amount of fentanyl can lead to overdose or death.8,9

Dexedrine Addiction

Prescription stimulants like Dexedrine can be addictive. Long-term misuse could ultimately lead to a substance use disorder or Dexedrine addiction.5 A Dexedrine addiction may involve someone continuing to use the drug despite its negative impact on their health and well-being.

Non-medical use of prescription stimulants is associated with the use of other licit and illicit substances. Polysubstance use may increase the risk of subsequent use disorders and addiction.2,10

Studies also show that people who misuse prescription stimulants by snorting, smoking, or injecting them are more likely to develop substance use disorders.3

In 2021, an estimated 1.5 million Americans met the criteria for a prescription stimulant use disorder.11

Dexedrine Withdrawal

Someone who uses Dexedrine regularly at high doses may experience withdrawal if they suddenly quit or cut back their use of the drug.1

Symptoms of Dexedrine withdrawal can include:1

  • Extreme fatigue.
  • Depression.
  • Sleep changes or problems.

Though stimulant withdrawal is seldom associated with severe physical symptoms or medical complications, some psychological symptoms may benefit from professional monitoring.12

Dexedrine Addiction Treatment

If you or someone you love is struggling with prescription stimulant misuse, professional treatment can help.

At River Oaks, we offer different types of addiction treatment designed to meet the individual needs of each patient. For example, someone with a mild addiction may benefit from an outpatient program where they can still live at home and tend to daily responsibilities. But a person fighting a severe addiction or with a history of relapse might find a residential rehab more useful.

Because there are no medications specifically approved to treat stimulant use disorder or manage withdrawal, evidence-based behavioral therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), contingency management (CM), and motivational interviewing (MI), are the main components of stimulant addiction treatment.2

Complementary approaches, such as exercise and mindfulness techniques, may also be used to augment stimulant addiction treatment and promote long-term recovery.2

Embarking on the journey to recovery takes courage and can be easier with the right tools and resources. At our inpatient addiction treatment near Tampa, our main priority is helping people who are battling addiction feel safe, comfortable, and supported.

To learn more about paying for rehab with health insurance or how to pay for rehab even if you don’t have insurance, call us at . We can help you or your loved one get admitted today and start the road to a happier, healthier life.


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