Adderall Abuse and Eating Disorders

According to a study from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, full-time college students between ages 18 and 22 are twice as likely as their non full-time college student counterparts to have used Adderall for non-medical purposes. Prescription drug abuse has become an epidemic on college campuses, with more than 4 out of 10 saying they have abused prescription stimulants.

The Study Drug for Weight Loss

Young women entering college are experiencing an inordinate amount of stress and pressure for many reasons. Most college freshmen are worried about gaining the “freshman fifteen” – weight gain that is experienced by many new female students. The need to achieve academic and social success is paramount. And the more competitive the school environment is, the more pressure the student feels to succeed. This is where Adderall comes in: a drug that promises the ability to stay focused while studying and suppresses the desire to stress eat so you can avoid weight gain.

While Adderall will suppress appetite and increase the metabolism of almost anyone who takes it, those who have the potential to abuse it are typically biologically predisposed toward disordered eating. Adderall can bring out disordered eating behavior in someone who hasn’t dealt with that behavior before.

Adderall abuse for weight loss in itself isn’t exactly an eating disorder, but it’s a symptom of other eating disorders like anorexia and binge eating disorder. Women who already have a malnourished brain due to restricting food may even convince themselves they suffer from ADD or ADHD and are in need of Adderall, when really they need to increase their food consumption. Those suffering from anorexia will use Adderall as a way to restrict weight even more, and people engaging in binge episodes can use Adderall for alternative episodes of restricting food for long periods of time.

The Dangers of Adderall Abuse

Adderall produces dopamine in the brain, which is a neurotransmitter that suppresses appetite. It keeps the dopamine from being recycled and metabolized away. This means we connect taking Adderall with a feeling of pleasure, and this undoubtedly leads to a high potential for abuse and addiction for those who are not prescribed the drug. When you take a stimulant medication, or any abusive medication, after three or four months of taking it the brain restructures itself. You become tolerant so you have to take more of the drug to get the same effects.

Adderall can even be deadly. Without having a doctor go over your medical history and health problems, the drug could react with an underlying health problem for serious side effects that include:

  • Abnormal heartbeat and cardiac risks
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased risk of stroke and heart attack
  • Seizures
  • Hair loss
  • Sudden death

Used in excess, Adderall has the potential to bring out OCD, psychosis, paranoid personalities, and delusions.

When taking Adderall for weight loss you are dealing with the negative side effects along with the issues that come with an eating disorder. Anorexia and bulimia cause thinning hair, low blood pressure, heart palpitations and heart failure, weak muscles, dizziness, insomnia and can make it difficult or impossible to get pregnant.

While at first Adderall may seem like the miracle study and weight loss drug, the reliance on the drug is not sustainable. Suffering the physical, mental and emotional consequences of addiction is an inevitable fate for the abuser. It’s not unlikely that the user could eventually turn to cocaine or methamphetamines.

The Meadows Ranch Can Help

Amphetamines and stimulants are dangerous enough without the added risk of an eating disorder. At The Meadows Ranch, we have treated eating disorders for more than 25 years. We know recovery from addiction and eating disorders is possible. For more information about our treatment program, please call to speak to one of our Intake Coordinators at 866-390-5100 and we will contact you with the information you need.

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