Can You Get Addicted To ADHD Meds?

Substance use disorder can rear its head in various forms and one such scary trend is the misuse of prescription medication. The meds prescribed for ADHD have been reported to create dependencies and addictions for those with or without the diagnosis. The question then is: are ADHD meds addictive?

ADHD Medication & the Risk of Addiction

There are two main types of ADHD medication: stimulants and non-stimulants. The main concern with ADHD medications in terms of potential addiction are the stimulants, which work by increasing neurotransmitters in the brain to improve focus and attention. These are medications like Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall, and Vyvanse. These prescription drugs are classified as a Schedule II controlled substance due to their addictive potential. The risk of addiction mainly comes into play for those who take the stimulant medications without having ADHD, although there are some with ADHD who also become addicted to their ADHD medication.

Those who have been diagnosed with ADHD and take their medication regularly have been shown to have a low likelihood of addiction to the medication. Typically, those with ADHD take their medication based on a doctor’s guidance who consistently assesses the medication levels and ensures their accuracy, efficacy, and safety. ADHD medication is effective because it serves to restore chemical levels in the body to make it similar to those without ADHD. Thus, the meds are not supplying extra focus or attention but rather getting the levels within normal functioning range. This decreases the likelihood of addiction because it is not over stimulating the brain or body.

What happens if you take ADHD medication and you don’t have ADHD? Research has indicated that there are many who take ADHD meds who do not have ADHD. Teens and adults have been known to take these stimulants for extra focus and energy for work, school, or performance. For those who do not have ADHD and take the medication, there is a much higher risk of addiction. Their bodies are not low on the neurotransmitters for focus and attention, so the medication acts to over stimulate. This drastically increases the likelihood of addiction to ADHD meds just as with any other substance used as a stimulant when its not needed.

What Factors Influence the Risk of Substance Use Disorder

With all that said, there are common risk factors that make someone more likely to become addicted to any substance, including prescription medications. A personal or family history of substance abuse may increase the likelihood of someone becoming addicted to ADHD medications. Ignoring the proper dosage and administration methods can also increase the chance of abusing the medication. That is, taking more of the medication than prescribed or taking it too often. This would also include snorting the meds versus taking them in capsule form as prescribed. Lastly, taking medication without a doctor’s guidance and monitoring can increase the chance of addiction to ADHD meds. It’s important to have regular check-ins with a doctor who will closely monitor and assess the medication level and signs of misuse or addiction.

I Need Help for Addiction

If you are struggling with substance use disorder of prescription medication or another substance, take the quick and free online SBIRT assessment. This assessment can help you determine if there is a problem and provide treatment options near you. You are not alone in finding help, there is a wide range of places for substance use treatment in Mississippi. All it takes is a click now and you’ll have access to the help you deserve!