Dexedrine: Misuse, Side Effects, and Withdrawal

Dexedrine is a prescription drug that has the potential for misuse and addiction.1 Read on to learn more about stimulant misuse, Dexedrine side effects, withdrawal, signs of addiction, and treatment options.

What Is Dexedrine (Dextroamphetamine Sulfate)?

Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine sulfate), is a prescription stimulant medication used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.1

Like other prescription stimulants, Dexedrine increases the activity of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain and body.1,2 Dopamine is involved in reinforcing rewarding behaviors. Blood vessels, blood pressure and heart rate, blood sugar, and breathing are all affected by norepinephrine.2.For people with ADHD, Dexedrine can effectively increase deficiencies in:2,3 

  • Alertness.
  • Energy.
  • Attention.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies Dexedrine as a Schedule II drug, meaning it has legitimate medical purposes but also a high potential for misuse and dependence.4

Dexedrine Side Effects

Common potential side effects of Dexedrine include:1

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

Dexedrine Misuse

Misuse of Dexedrine entails any of the following:2

  • Taking a higher dose than prescribed
  • Taking someone else’s prescription Dexedrine
  • Using Dexedrine in a way that is not indicated, such as by crushing pills and snorting or dissolving and injecting the powder
  • Taking Dexedrine to get high

People may misuse Dexedrine for a variety of reasons. Prescription stimulants are often misused to try to:2,5

  • Improve grades.
  • Improve memory recall.
  • Lose weight.
  • Get high.

Dangers of Dexedrine Misuse

Potential adverse effects and risks of misusing Dexedrine, particularly at higher doses, include:1,3

  • Problems with sleep.
  • Fast heartbeat.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Heart issues, including stoke an sudden death
  • Elevated body temperature.
  • Anger and aggression.
  • Physiological dependence.
  • Addiction.

Chronic misuse of prescription stimulants may cause symptoms of psychosis and paranoia.2 Taking Dexedrine in higher doses or in ways other than swallowing the oral pill also increases this risk.1

Can You Overdose on Dexedrine?

Yes, it is possible to overdose on Dexedrine.1 Signs of Dexedrine overdose include:1

  • Restlessness.
  • Confusion.
  • Tremors.
  • Rapid breathing.
  • Overreactive muscle movements.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Panic.

A Dexedrine overdose that progresses to convulsions and coma can be fatal so it’s important for someone experiencing an overdose to receive emergency medical attention.1

Is Dexedrine Addictive?

Yes, Dexedrine and other amphetamines carry the potential for misuse, physiological dependence, and addiction.1

Dexedrine increases the activity of dopamine, which can reinforce compulsive patterns of misuse in some individuals.6

It is not fully understood why some people develop an addiction to substances while others do not.7 Evidence suggests that some people are more likely to become addicted due to a combination of their:

  • Researchers believe that between 40 and 60% of someone’s propensity for addiction involves genetics.
  • Family, peers, economic status, trauma, and quality of life can contribute to someone developing an addiction.
  • Substance use at a young age—when the brain has not fully developed yet in the judgment, self-control, and decision-making areas—is also linked to addiction.

Substance use disorders involving a stimulant like Dexedrine develop as continued use of the drug begins to cause significant issues across various areas of a person’s life, including their health, performance in school or work, and in their interpersonal relationships.8

Dexedrine Addiction Signs

Addiction is a chronic, relapsing condition. While most people start misusing drugs voluntarily, people who are addicted cannot stop using even when they know it is harmful to them or interferes with things that matter to them.9

While stimulant use disorder must be diagnosed by a medical professional, it can be helpful to know the criteria used in diagnosis. Exhibiting 2 or more of the following in a 12-month period would result in the diagnosis of a stimulant use disorder:8

  1. Taking the stimulant in larger amounts or longer than intended.
  2. Having a persistent desire or making multiple attempts to cut down or stop stimulant use but being unable.
  3. Significant amounts of time are spent obtaining, using, and recovering from use of the stimulant.
  4. Having strong cravings to use the stimulant.
  5. Recurrent stimulant use despite being unable to fulfill major scholastic, career, or social responsibilities due to stimulant use.
  6. Continued use despite recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused by stimulant use.
  7. Skipping important work, social, or recreational activities to use stimulants.
  8. Continued stimulant use despite knowing it has caused or worsened physical or psychological health problems.
  9. Misusing stimulants in dangerous situations.
  10. Not getting the desired effect from a stimulant without using it in higher doses or more frequently. This criterion does not apply to someone taking Dexedrine as directed by a medical professional.
  11. Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when abstaining or reducing stimulant use. Using a stimulant or other drug to avoid these symptoms also applies. This criterion does not apply to someone taking Dexedrine as directed by a medical professional.

Dexedrine Withdrawal

Someone who has been engaging in chronic high-dose Dexedrine use may experience Dexedrine withdrawal symptoms when they try to reduce their intake or quit Dexedrine altogether.1

Dexedrine withdrawal may begin shortly after use is discontinued. Dexedrine withdrawal symptoms may include:2,5 

  • Fatigue.
  • Intense Dexedrine cravings.
  • Intense hunger.
  • Irritability.
  • Jerky movements.
  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Suicidal ideation.

Stimulant withdrawal is not typically physically dangerous; however, specific psychological symptoms (e.g., depression, suicidal ideation) may require monitoring.5

Dexedrine Addiction Recovery

Dexedrine addiction is treatable.10 While there is no single type of Dexedrine addiction treatment that works for every person, evidence-based treatment for an addiction to Dexedrine may include:10

There are currently no medications that are FDA approved to treat stimulant addiction;5 however, medication may be used to treat mental health factors (e.g., depression, anxiety) that contribute to someone’s misuse of stimulants.10

There are many levels of addiction treatment options available at Desert Hope, including:

If you or someone you know is struggling with Dexedrine addiction, call to start treatment today at our Las Vegas inpatient rehab or outpatient facility. Compassionate admissions navigators can also answer your questions about using insurance to cover addiction treatment or other ways to pay for treatment.

Use the confidential to verify your insurance coverage.

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