ANSWERS: 3
  • (1) Long-term use of amphetamines causes the brain to adapt to the drug's presence. A healthy, biologically balanced brain produces chemicals which regulate functions and states such as mood, stimulus-response, energy, appetite, etc. The introduction of amphetamine (a) causes the brain to increase its production of these chemicals, (b) causes the brain to expect amphetamine,and (c) causes the brain to deplete its own ability to produce the chemicals. Very long-term, consistent use of amphetamines often makes the adaptation irreversible, the result of which can be severe depression and/or psychosis. (2) The overstimulation and over-production of natural chemicals such as adrenaline and the endorphins produce strain on other organs, especially the heart. The result can be increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • My son has ADHD, and takes Dexedrine (Dextroamphetamine) I was told by his physician that long term use of a relatively low dose would not adversely effect him. I have also done research on this, the results of which are encouraging. The likelihood of a child who is properly diagnosed and treated of becoming a recreational drug user, is much less than one who receives no treatment. Many adults who use stimulants recreationally, actually had ADD/ADHD as a child, and were never diagnosed or treated. They are, at least in theory, self-medicating. A 'safe' dose should be determined by your physidian.
  • Neither Adderall nor Dexedrine are "literally speed in it's (sic.) purest obtainable form." The term "speed" (a.k.a. "meth" "tic" "crank") refers to N-methamphetamine which is an addictive psychostimulant and sympathomimetic drug ("sympathomimetic" means it mimics the effects of the central nervous system). Dexedrine is dextroamphetamine (the dextrorotary stereoisomer of amphetamine). Adderall is mixed amphetamine salts: dextro- and levoamphetamine. Ritalin is methylphenidate. None of these drugs are N-methamphetamine, although all four drugs are related. All of them are CNS stimulants, but their functions differ somewhat. The three prescription drugs are not known to cause physical dependence, although (like any drug) they can cause psychological dependence if used incorrectly. It is important to note that the ADHD brain does not respond to these drugs like the brain of a non-ADHDer. The ADHD brain is chemically and structurally different from the brain of a non-ADHDer. These differences are implicated in those behaviors & traits associated with ADHD; they also produce a "paradoxical effect" in response to stimulant medications. That is, while these drugs are associated with hyperactivity, aggression, emotional lability, disordered behavior, etc. in non-ADHDers, in ADHDers they produce opposite effects, reducing these symptoms. ADHDers taking appropriately prescribed stimulant medications tend to experience reduced hyperactivity, reduced aggression, & better ability to control their emotional responses and behavior. It you find your child's ADHD symptomatology increases in severity with medication, they should try another medication. If you try several with no improvement there are two possible reasons. 1/ some ADHDers do not respond to medication; your child may be one of them. Conversely, 2/ your child may not have ADHD at all. Have you had a full psychoeducational assessment done? This is extremely important to do for a variety of reasons. In any case, as samiam mentions, untreated ADHD greatly increases the risk of substance abuse disorders later in life, while treatment mitigates this. Note that the best treatment combines pharmaceutical and psychosocial interventions: "pills don't treat skills." The medication will improve the ability to focus, concentrate, sit still, pay attention, etc., thus increasing the ability to learn/acquire necessary skills. It does not teach the skills. It will not "fix" or "cure" ADHD, but a combination of pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical interventions is the current "gold standard" for ADHD treatment. If you are concerned about the potential for abuse of these medications, extended release formulations are available which have an extremely low incidence of abuse. Yes, there are also non-stimulant medications on the market, but the studies on them either show that they are not as efficacious as the stimulant medications, or are not entirely reliable studies (i.e., they have not been adequately studied in double-blind placebo trials).

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