Prescription Amphetamines


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Amphetamines like Adderall, Vyvanse, and Ritalin are medications prescribed by doctors to treat Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and, at times, narcolepsy.

Most amphetamine addictions start innocuously: with a prescription, written by a trusted doctor, for a psychiatric disorder affecting focus and concentration. They can be very effective for people who genuinely struggle with ADD, ADHD, or narcolepsy and take their medication exactly as prescribed. 

Unfortunately, because these drugs can make you feel happier, more energetic, and more focused, they’re pretty addictive.

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Here are some signs you might be struggling with prescription amphetamines abuse: 

  • Feeling anxious or restless 
  •  Feeling especially talkative 
  • Obsessive and paranoid thinking 
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss 
  •  Lower back or side (flank) pain 
  • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping 
  • Impulsive behavior  
  • Using significant time, energy, and brainpower to ensure you won’t run out 
  • Feeling depressed and sapped of energy when decreasing or stopping use 
  • Ingesting pills in non-prescribed ways (like snorting) 
  • Obtaining pills outside of a doctor or prescription (from friends, drug dealers, online, etc.) 
  • Taking a higher quantity or more often than prescribed 
  • Lying to doctors about your symptoms to increase your prescription dose or frequency 
  • Lying about your use or hiding it from people who care about you 
  • Getting prescriptions from multiple doctors simultaneously (doctor shopping) 
  • Overdose 


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Amphetamine abuse can be a challenging thing to treat. Unlike heroin, methamphetamine, and synthetic street drugs, amphetamine abuse can hide behind the legitimacy of a doctor’s prescription. It is not stigmatized in the same way illicit substances are, so loved ones may have a more difficult time spotting this type of addiction or understanding it.

Impulsive behavior, insomnia, paranoia, and rapid, pressured speech are common symptoms of amphetamine addiction. Deeper into amphetamine abuse, people begin to shirk familial and social obligations, experience sexual dysfunction, lose weight unintentionally, and develop uncontrollable shakes or tics in certain parts of the body.


Amphetamines are central nervous system stimulants. They work on the brain’s dopamine and norepinephrine neurotransmitters, leading to feelings of increased happiness or satisfaction and heightened fight-or-flight responses.  The body adapts quickly to the presence of amphetamines and withdrawal symptoms can occur if use is reduced or stopped. These include anxiety, dry mouth, elevated pulse and blood pressure, sweating, shaking, headaches, and severe depression. Severe overuse can also lead to overdose, which can, in turn, case liver failure, strokes, and heart attacks. 

Because prescription amphetamine abusers will develop tolerance to its effects over time, amphetamine abuse often unfortunately progresses to illicit stimulant abuse (methamphetamine, cocaine). 

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What we can do for you?

We at HCBTS are available 24/7 to take your call and are committed to helping you get the help you need when you need it.

Read more about the levels of care we offer on our prescription drug abuse treatment page.

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