ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and addiction are often the center of a chicken or the egg conversation. Did ADHD create the addict or did the addiction create ADHD? Many studies have pointed toward the childhood use of stimulant ADHD medications as a precursor to adolescent and adulthood addiction. Amphetamines like Adderall and Vyvanse, or older medications like Ritalin, have been statistically linked to drug abuse. Adderall is a widely abused drug specifically for it’s effects for ADHD: increased focus, more energy, and suppressed appetite. Addiction is seen as an offset of ADHD due to a lack in coping skills outside of medication. ADHD creates noise in the brain, constantly distracted and hyperactive. Depressant drugs like alcohol, benzodiazepines or opiates are attractive to people with ADHD because they quiet the mind. Stimulant medications like cocaine, crack, synthetic drugs or meth can be addictive for ADHD because the effects mimic medications they are used to already. One neuroscientist revealed that ADHD drugs like Adderall and drugs like Meth are scientifically quite similar.
A study of 13 men received daily doses of methamphetamine, d-amphetamine (adderall), and a placebo. The methamphetamine and d-amphetamine proved identical effects. Included were:
- Enhanced focus
- Heightened concentration
- Reduction in feelings of tiredness
- Increased blood pressure and heart rate
At one point in the study, the subjects were offered the chance to exchange monetary reward for another dose of the medication. Patients equally chose doses of d-amphetamine and methamphetamine over the money. Noted was that the patients had difficulty distinguishing between the methamphetamine and the d-amphetamine.
What this means
Prescription methamphetamine is used for treating obesity. Military systems around the world prescribe d-amphetamines to soldiers to maximize their productivity on and off the battlefields. The neuroscience of ADHD continues to call a reckoning with the reliance on stimulant prescription drugs. In the future, there may be a time when methamphetamines in prescription form are destigmatized and used to treat different illnesses. Meth found on the street is made from an astonishing array of chemicals from draining liquid to antifreeze. While there is no advocacy for abusing these pills, a regulating legal system supervising them could change the face of meth and stimulant abuse.
If you are concerned you or a loved one are addicted to stimulant drugs like Adderall or Meth there is help. Refuge Recovery offers detox, intensive outpatient and partial hospitalization treatment. For more information call (323) 207-0276