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Friday, April 10, 2020
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Treatment of Opiate and Amphetamine Addiction: Adderall

Dr. Nathan Kuemmerle was a successful Hollywood psychiatrist to whom the young glitterati of the entertainment world came for treatment. The doctor helped them with prescriptions for Oxycontin, Xanax, and a lesser known medication, Adderall. By 2009, Dr. Kuemmerle was the number one prescriber of Adderall—high dosage Adderall—in the State of California. He was busy–too busy to do such mundane things as take a history or do a physical examination before he wrote prescriptions for which he was paid handsomely. He became an outstanding success and worked his way up in the Hollywood doctor-to-the-stars circuit and moved into a mansion befitting his rapidly expanding personal income. Then federal drug agents arrested him.

What is Adderall? In short, it is a psychostimulant prescription drug which benefits real patients by helping them to achieve hyperactivity and impulse control. Adderall is the generic name. There is no proprietary (brand) name anymore. Plain and simple, it is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine—two salts of each. In all, each pill has amphetamine aspartate monohydrate, amphetamine sulfate, dextroamphetamine saccharate, and destroamphetamine sulfate. There is a legitimate use for Adderall, most commonly in children and adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and for other people with narcolepsy. The name is so benign and innocuous. The disease is so real and so common, and there are no real tests for the diagnosis, just the doctor’s clinical judgment. Fortunately, most prescribers are assiduously honest and careful. Unfortunately, methamphetamine addicts can find doctors who are not. Crystal meth is not on the FDA’s approved drug formulary, but Adderall is.

There is a massive and growing illicit prescription drug business in the United States, and Adderall is working its way to the top of the list. Adderall is used for “recreational” purposes because it is essentially methamphetamine dressed up in proper clinical clothes. Addicts love it because it has both stimulant and euphoric properties.  It comes as no surprise that Adderall–like its cousin, methamphetamine in its myriad forms–has a high potential for misuse and a high liability for dependence. Once hooked, addicts are seldom able to get free of its talons. Adderall is known on the street as “beans”, “pep pills”, “double trouble”, “black beauties”, “dexies” and “speed”.  Its use is often associated with binge drinking–a deadly combination—and marijuana smoking.

Even taken in relatively small doses, acutely, amphetamines and Adderall cause: increased wakefulness, physical activity, respiration, and heart rate and blood pressure; decreased appetite, hyperthermia; irritability, prolonged insomnia, confusion, anxiety, tremors, and convulsions; cardiac arrhythmias and even cardiovascular collapse.

With long-term use survivors develop: violent and psychotic behavior, auditory hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, mood disturbances, homicidal and suicidal thoughts and aggressiveness–which can be acted upon—severe deterioration and infection of skin and teeth—which rot and are lost–and in some, profound anorexia.

Overdose results in a rapid onset of physiological deterioration, eventually leading to a heart attack or stroke. A meth or Adderall overdose may be recognized because the addict develops profuse sweating, rapid breathing, increased heart rate and dilated pupils. An individual who has overdosed on methamphetamine or Adderall with have a high temperature, kidney failure, and cardiovascular collapse–and it will all happen very quickly. Because of the rapid onset, death usually occurs suddenly and unexpectedly—sometimes with no warning.

Withdrawal causes a wide variety of symptoms and problems, including: irritability, depression, fearfulness, loss of energy, extreme craving for the drug, shaking or tremors, nausea, cardiac palpitations, profuse sweating and dehydration, hyperventilation, highly increased appetite, and addicts withdrawing from methamphetamine and Adderall–especially abruptly–may alternate from having a desire to sleep constantly, to not being able to sleep at all. Withdrawal symptoms can last for several weeks. Withdrawal symptoms can be fatal.

There are currently no medications approved for the treatment of methamphetamine addiction, and drug rehabilitation and other life-style change therapies have not proved to be of significant benefit. Just as the best treatment for HIV is abstinence before venturing down the risky sexual path; so it is for Adderall and methamphetamine. That is not moral or religious advice; it is the grim factual truth.

Adderall Statistics

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 6.4 percent of college students between the ages of 18 and 22 have used Adderall in a recreational way.  Along with this, a correlation has been found between participation in binge drinking and Adderall abuse, with 89.5 percent of students who reported abusing Adderall also involved in binge drinking [1].

Other statistics have shown that students who were in college full time and abusing Adderall for recreational purposes were three times as likely to have used marijuana, and eight times more likely to have used prescription tranquilizers recreationally as well [1].  These statistics reveal some of the dangers associated with Adderall addiction and abuse.

Adderall are more likely to overdose or inflict harm to their bodies when the drug is missed.


Adderall Withdrawal

Withdrawal from Adderall can be excruciating and unpleasant.  Many individuals may resort to their drugs again to cope with the difficult symptoms that occur with Adderall withdrawal.  Because of the nature of an Adderall addiction, a physical and psychological dependence can occur.  In a state of withdrawal from Adderall, the body will attempt to recuperate from the interference of the drug within its systems.  This process can result in the following symptoms:

  • Weakness
  • Tremors
  • Chills
  • Excessive sweating
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Anxiety/Panic Attacks

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