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Dexedrine Addiction: Side Effects, Dangers, and Treatment Programs

Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine) is a prescription stimulant, containing dextroamphetamine sulfate, that works by stimulating a person’s central nervous system (CNS).1 As a member of the amphetamine class of drugs, Dexedrine has a high potential for misuse and may lead to dependence and other negative long-term effects, including potentially addiction.1 However, treatment is available for those with Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine) use disorder. This page will explore:

  • What Dexedrine is.
  • How and why people misuse Dexedrine.
  • The short- and long-term dangers of Dexedrine misuse.
  • How to recognize Dexedrine misuse and addiction.
  • Information about treatment for Dexedrine use disorder.

What Is Dexedrine?

Dexedrine is a specific brand of dextroamphetamine sulfate, a prescription medication used for the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.1 Dextroamphetamine works as a CNS stimulant, like other amphetamines, which means it has a rousing effect on many brain and body functions.1 Dexedrine is sold as a sustained-release capsule that gradually releases the medication over time.1 Dextroamphetamine sulfate is available in several other pill formulations by other names or by its generic name.

As a stimulant, Dexedrine interacts with the brain’s reward system while simultaneously affecting a person’s body through:2

  • Blood vessels.
  • Blood pressure.
  • Heart rate.
  • Blood sugar.
  • Rate of breathing.

It can also cause an increase in cognition with a “rush” or feeling of euphoria.2,3 As a result, prescription stimulants can be misused as cognitive enhancers or for the feeling of euphoria they create.3

Dexedrine Abuse

Due to Dexedrine’s effects on cognition and its ability to cause a “rush,” misuse of this stimulant may occur.2 Prescription stimulant abuse is common among high school and college students to improve performance, professionals to increase productivity, and the elderly to offset cognitive decline.3

With continued or heavy misuse, dextroamphetamine sulfate can cause severe cases of physical dependence and addiction.1 People with a history of substance misuse or addiction or who take higher than recommended doses of Dexedrine once or over time are at a greater risk for addiction.1

Misuse of Dexedrine includes:2

  • Taking it in a dose or alternative method than prescribed.
  • Taking Dexedrine that is prescribed to someone else.
  • Taking Dexedrine only for its euphoric or other effects, rather than for prescribed reasons.

Misuse may occur by swallowing the pill in its intended form or by crushing the pill or capsule into powder.2 The powder may then be dissolved in water for injection into a vein, snorted, or smoked to achieve effects more quickly.2

When misused, the immediate effects of Dexedrine may include:2,3

  • A euphoric “rush”.
  • Increase in blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Increased rate of breathing.
  • Decrease in overall blood flow.
  • Increase in blood sugar.
  • Wider breathing passages.
  • Increase in attention.
  • Enhanced alertness.
  • Improved energy.

Dangers of Dexedrine Abuse

Abuse or misuse of Dexedrine, even once, can lead to dangerous side effects. Some short- and long-term side effects of Dexedrine misuse may include:1

  • Dangerous effects on blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Damage to the heart muscle.
  • Dizziness.
  • Breathing quickly.
  • Restlessness.
  • Insomnia.
  • Psychosis.
  • Diarrhea or constipation.
  • Unintended weight loss.
  • Changes in sexual function.
  • Widespread muscle damage.
  • Hair loss.
  • Addiction or physical dependence.
  • Overdose.

In the event of an overdose, getting medical help as quickly as possible may save the person’s life. If you think someone near you has overdosed on Dexedrine, call 911 immediately.2 Overdose on Dexedrine can cause death by sudden electrolyte imbalance, cardiovascular collapse, or seizures.1 Signs and symptoms of overdose may include:1

  • Restlessness.
  • Tremor.
  • Rapid breathing.
  • Confusion.
  • Aggression.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Dangerous changes in heart rhythm, or blood pressure.
  • Convulsions.
  • Coma.
  • Death.

Signs of Dexedrine Abuse

Each person is different, and signs that a person is misusing Dexedrine may be difficult to identify without knowing what to look for. and other common warning signs to identify dangerous patterns of misuse.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (edition 5) (DSM-5) criteria for stimulant use disorder (including Dexedrine use disorder), which may only be diagnosed by a medical professional, include:4

  • Using stimulants more often or in greater amounts than originally intended.
  • Desiring to stop using a stimulant but being unable to despite persistent effort.
  • Spending increasing amounts of time obtaining, using, and recovering from stimulant use.
  • Stimulant cravings.
  • Failing to fulfill duties at school, home, or work due to stimulant use.
  • Continuing to use the stimulant despite ongoing social or relational problems related to use.
  • Giving up previously important activities due to stimulant use.
  • Using stimulants in physically dangerous situations.
  • Continuing to use the stimulant despite knowing it causes or worsens recurrent physical or psychological problems.
  • Developing tolerance to the stimulant.
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms related to a decrease in stimulant use.

Other common signs or symptoms of stimulant misuse may include:1,2

  • Getting prescriptions from multiple prescribers or pharmacies.
  • Going through prescription bottles more quickly than expected.
  • Taking higher doses than prescribed.
  • Sleeping less.
  • Excessive amounts of pills or pill bottles in their possessions.
  • Presence of drug injection equipment, such as needles and syringes without other explanation.
  • Withdrawal symptoms when the medication gets low or runs out.

Dexedrine Rehab Programs

If you or a loved one are experiencing Dexedrine use disorder, or addiction, now is the time to get help. Depending on the severity of the addiction and other personal factors, treatment may occur at multiple stages and require various interventions. Common aspects of stimulant addiction treatment may include:2,5,6

  • Inpatient Dexedrine rehab. Inpatient programs include both hospital and residential rehab that provide 24/7 service and treatment for the duration of the program. These tend to be more intensive and are suitable for people with more severe conditions and those who have less support and stability at home.
  • Outpatient treatment for Dexedrine. These programs allow a person to live at home during treatment. They vary widely in time commitment and intensity and may change as a person progresses on the road to recovery. Outpatient care is typically recommended for those who has a stable, supportive home environment.
  • This is the process in which the body clears a substance and can be accompanied by withdrawal symptoms.It can be done inpatient or outpatient, but without continued treatment, there is potential for relapse.
  • Medication is not typically used for stimulant use disorder. There are no medications currently FDA-approved for stimulant use disorder treatment, but some may be used to treat co-occurring disorders or withdrawal symptoms during a treatment program.
  • Behavioral therapies. Behavioral therapies are the main form of treatment for stimulant use disorder. These can help a person develop skills to cope with cravings or other triggers for relapse, find motivation for recovery, and eliminate other factors contributing to their substance misuse.
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) may help a person change or manage their thoughts regarding drug-use expectations and behaviors. By teaching skills to change thought patterns, CBT can help manage triggers and stress.
  • Contingency Management is a therapeutic technique that provides vouchers or other positive rewards for healthy behavioral changes. For example, remaining abstinent from stimulant use for a certain period may earn a particular level of reward.

The intensity, duration, and setting of treatment may be different for each person.6 And, as a person moves along their road to recovery, the most effective programs will alter their treatment based on their individual needs.6

If you are struggling with Dexedrine misuse or addiction, having a conversation with your doctor can be a great way to start the search for a treatment center. You can also use our treatment locator tool to find addiction rehab near you.

Or you can look at the facilities listed below to see if they provide the program you are looking for:

Does Insurance Cover Dexedrine Addiction Rehab?

For those who have insurance, using health insurance to pay for rehab should cover at least some of the cost of addiction treatment. Depending on your individual insurance plan, treatment at a specific facility may or may not be covered. It’s important that you know what is covered prior to attending a rehab. Use the free online insurance coverage checker tool below to find out if your health insurance provides coverage for addiction rehab and other rehabilitation treatment plans for substance abuse recovery.

Coverage may vary depending on your needs and insurance plan. To find out if your policy covers rehab, click here, or fill out the form below. Your information is kept 100% confidential. You can also click here to find a rehab near me.

American Addiction Centers maintains a strong partnership with a large group of insurance companies at our addiction treatment facilities. Start the journey to recovery and find out instantly using the form below if your health insurance provider may be able to cover all or part of the cost of rehab and associated therapies.

Dexedrine Addiction and Treatment FAQs

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