Does Adderall contribute to later drug use?

Does any one agree with me that these medications such as Adderall, contribute to later drug abuse? And do you think that it may cause problems that they later have to give a second medication to control?
My difficult child is on adderall, repidall, and lithum.
They are now going to put him on a drug coomonly knows Tenex. Which is a antihypertensive also know as Guanfacine. I don't like the thought of medications because they often have side effects that they need a second medication to counter act? I am begining to wonder how it will affect my son's mind and body no and later in life. And I feel like it is contributing to some of the behaviors they say that they are trying to control with it.

MY opoinon is this :
Adderall is a systemic Amphtamines. Well it to me is the same as giving the child street drugs only purer more refinned . will it have the same side effect like break down in the organs or mental side effect like amphtamines induced pychosis? THe tail tell signs are violence and parinoia irritablity and not eating and withdrawl.( well I just discribed evey difficult child) but could this medication intensifiy it even more? Could this be a side effect of the medication? I need so help on these questions , to put my mind at ease.

26 y old mother of 3 suffers from depresiion adhd add and odd as a child now on medication for depression. learnedto live with the rest
husband 32
11 add adhd odd bipolar manic agressive
9 difficult child


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My difficult child takes Adderall, and I do understand it is an amphetimine, and I would rather him not have to take anything at all. But, quite frankly, we have no choice. This child is severe ADHD, he wakes up lost, disorientated and in a fog. He will not shake the foggy head until his medications have kicked in. difficult child cannot think, function in school, or even hold a pencil unless he is on medications.

Therefore, until another medical breakthrough can be found, my difficult child will have to take medications.

10 yo stepson with severe ADHD and diagnosed with conduct disorder, but we think ODD. difficult child was medications free this summer, but he couldn't handle school. difficult child is currently back on 20mg of Adderall in the morning. Mother of 18 & 23 yo. (23yo also difficult child, severe Learning Disability (LD)) Grandson, 2 years old. 1 cat, 3 ferrets, 1 bird, 1 iguana


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I have personally been very pleased since my difficult child went on Adderall. She is soo much more pleasant and stable with her moods. I don't think she is more prone to becoming addicted to other drugs from this one as I think she sees HOW much this helps her cope and that is what is for....does not make her high at all. Nor does she have the lows of coming off like she did with the ritalyn. All around much happier with it than anything else she has ever been on!!!!

15 yo adopted difficult child,diagnosed with ADHD age 4,on ritalyn for several years. Then diagnosed with severe learning disabilities at age 7. depression, rages and anxiety kicked in at age 10. Has been on Clonidine,Imipramine, Paxil. Now on Adderall 30 mg bid, Dexedrine 5 mg bid, Prozac 10 mg at night and Buspar at menstrual time.
10 yo adopted son, pretty much easy child, but having lived with his sister, who is not genetically related has gotten "some" of her acting out genes at times.
me...45 yo RN,Zoloft 50 mg whenever I can think to take it.
husband 47 who is still in somewhat of denial
my constant admonition.....I am my child's best and sometimes only advocate


Former desparate mom
Don't agree at all that taking adderall or ritalin contributes to drug abuse in the future.

site owner/administrator
Mom to 16 yr old son/difficult child with Aspergers,atypical bipolar?,Learning Disability (LD) and oppositional behavior
11yrold son-easy child and a joy
Buster-really needy dog of 11yrs


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Hi Beckers! Let me try and tackle some of your questions here...this is going to be somewhat lengthy..please forgive my long windedness here...

Originally posted by beckers:
*****Does any one agree with me that these medications such as Adderall, contribute to later drug abuse?*****

No, I personally don't feel that they do, although I do understand your concern.

Five years ago, I attended a symposium on this issue at Michigan State University. There were both proponants and opponants present and both sides of the issue were presented and debated. I came away from that symposium with quite a bit of information on this issue, and I'd like to share some of it with you.

Pharmacological treatment with psychostimulants is the most widely studied treatment for ADHD...many folks assume that stimulant use for behavioral disorders is something's anything but. Stimulant treatment has been used for childhood behavioral disorders since the 1930s.

Psychostimulants are highly effective for 75 to 90 percent of children with fact, at least four separate psychostimulant medications consistently reduce the core features of ADHD in literally hundreds of randomized controlled double-blind trials.

Stimulants that are used for prescription purposes are not tranquilizers or sedatives. The children who use them appear "calmer" because they are more focused, not because they are sedated. It is important to note that except for a fraction of the children who experience mild appetite or sleep problems, the vast majority of children have no significant side effects from Ritalin or Adderall.

There are some very alarming and hyped-up stories out there..many of them have been written up and published as part of litigation procedures...but I would urge you to consider the vast amount of research done over the last 80 years.

Amphetamines work much differently neurologically on children who have attentional problems with, or without, hyperactivity..than they do on children without these neurological disorders.

Allow me to give a somewhat simplistic look at this paradox:

Children with add/adhd primarily have a depletion of the neurochemical dopamine in the central nervous system. The neurotransmitter dopamine plays a key role in initiating more controlled movement, reducing impulsivity, and increasing motivation and alertness.

A child without adhd/add has a normal dopamine level and therefore an ability to control movement, impulsivity, pain and pleasure, and alertness.

Now lets say you give a child without a dopamine depletion a stimulant medication. This stimulant is going to increase the dopamine level from the normal level to an elevated level. What happens when the brain is trying to deal with too much dopamine? Well, lets just say that this child has the potential to get into a lot of trouble and could end up in the emergency room.

Now lets say you give a child who has a dopamine depletion the same stimulant medication. Dopamine levels will be brought up to a normal level...and the ability to control movement, impulse, pain, pleasure, and alertness will also be brought up to normal levels.

It's a difficult dillema to face: we parents are afraid that our children will "like" the feeling that they get from the stimulant..and want to experiment.

What happens to the child who has adhd/add (and the resultant dopamine depletion) and has to live with this condition without pharmeceutical intervention?

There is no question that life is tough for these kids.
Children with these types of neurological disorders need to find ways to cope with their surroundings and the pressures placed on them in daily life. Life does not wait for these children. Teachers and educators do not wait for these children. Parents do not wait for these children. They live every day surrounded by people who are frustrated and angry with them.

Adhd/add are very debilatating disorders for children. For the most part, these kids are not able to perform well at school, thus they fall farther and farther behind until they are hopelessly lost in the shuffle. This is one factor that contributes to the huge self esteem problems and failure cycles that these children experience.

The second factor that affects self esteem: These kids, for the most part, are not able to cope socially, and often go through their entire childhoods and teen years without friends and relationships, and often miss out on important events.

If these kids reach their teenage years and are still struggling like salmon going upstream, the emotional pain is going to be overwhelming to many of them. Often depression sets in, and suicide becomes a possibility.

When you take all this into consideration, it's not surprising that a lot of these disordered children choose to self medicate with narcotics and alchohol (both of which affect the neurotransmitter dopamine). They will do anything to normalize their lives. And the sad truth is, because these illegal substances have, for these children, the calming effect on the mind and body that legal stimulants have...these kids feel normal for the first time in their lives. It's no wonder that they don't want to stop, and no wonder that they continue with riskier substances.

That's why I personally feel that early intervention is very important. Without it, a lot of these children are going to start self medicating when they hit their teen years and illegal substances start becoming available.

I don't believe that prescription stimulants are gateway drugs. One reason why a child who takes prescription Ritalin or Adderall as directed is unlikely to create and addiction problem: The actual amount of stimulant in the tablet is quite weak.

In order to make the 5- to 20 mg. dose tablets large enough to handle easily, at least 100 mg. of "inert ingredients" are added to the tablets to increase their size.

Depending upon size and formulation, the following inert ingredients are found in Ritalin tablets, according to the manufacturer: lactose, starch, polyethelene glycol, magnesium stearate, sucrose, talc, cellulose, mineral oil, and various dyes and conditioning agents.

Here's where kids go wrong with stimulants:
While these ingredients are "inert" when taken by mouth, they can cause serious problems when injected or snorted.

Prescription tablets, which produce mild stimulant effects when taken as directed and at usual prescription doses, can create powerful stimulant effects and serious health risks when crushed and then snorted like cocaine, or injected like heroin.

As a final note on this post, I'd like to address the use of Clonidine and Ritalin concurrantly. Considerable controversy surrounds the use of central alpha-adrenergic blocking drugs, such as clonidine and guanfacine, to treat ADHD. There is some evidence that clonidine is effective for ADHD when it occurs with a tic disorder However, caution is warranted in view of the four cases of sudden death that have been reported in children taking methylphenidate and clonidine together and of a number of reports of nonfatal cardiac side effects in children taking clonidine alone or in combination. Clonidine is a medication that must be used very carefully and requires regular monitoring by a specialist, not a family practitioner.

If you have a child who is taking stimulants and begins to have motor or verbal tics, stop using the stimulant immediately and consult your child's doctor. in my humble opinion a child with tics should NEVER be given stimulants.

Before you start your child on stimulant medication, make sure you take him or her to a professional..not a family practitioner. Have a complete physical workup to rule out other health and neurological problems, such as Tourette syndrome or high functioning autism..also to rule out strep related problems. Many of our parents here have had their children tested for food and environmental allergens and are amazed to discover that allergens are the culprit for the hyperactive, aggressive behavior.

I'd like to urge you to visit our Natural Treatments forum. Many of our parents have had successes with alternative treatments and behavioral therapy..every child is different and every case unique. It's important to look at all the information and options available to you.

***My difficult child is on adderall, repidall, and lithum.
They are now going to put him on a drug coomonly knows Tenex. Which is a antihypertensive also know as Guanfacine. I don't like the thought of medications because they often have side effects that they need a second medication to counter act? I am begining to wonder how it will affect my son's mind and body no and later in life. And I feel like it is contributing to some of the behaviors they say that they are trying to control with it.***

It's important to be your childs advocate in medication issues. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of doctors who are willing to throw medication after medication at a patient. You do get to the point where do don't know if you are treating the actual condition or the side effects from the medications.

Find a good source of online medication information and bookmark it. Ask your pharmacist which one he uses.

I got very frustrated with this procedure because my son builds up tolerances rapidly.. after 12 years of repeated frustrations, I finally demanded that my sons' doctor wean him off all his medications for a baseline. We had been giving him high doses of stimulant medication for years to treat what we thought of as resistant adhd. We found out quickly, when the medications were gone, that we were really looking at Tourette syndrome.

Don't be afraid to bring lists of questions, to print out sheets with information to wave in your doctors face, and refuse to leave your appointments until all your questions are answered and your concerns addressed.


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Beckers: I used to agree with you about later drug use in kids who took stimulant medications, but I have completely changed my minds. Studies have shown that kids who are PROPERLY medicated at an appropriate dosage of a correct medication are less likely than ADHD, etc. kids who are not treated properly. I am not referring to kids who are being treated by natural methods when I say not treated properly, I am talking about kids whose needs have not been addressed by either medication, diet and/or nutritional supplements. The kids whose issues have not been addressed turn to illicit drugs, alcohol, etc to self-medicate. I realized the other day when I was trying to difficult child why his grandpa died from smoking (it was actually alcoholism and in thinking about my father in law's life, I concluded that he had probably been profoundly depressed since childhood since he had a crummy life and that his drinking was an attempt to self-medicate. My sister in law self-medicates with drink and cigarettes as well) There is some kind of protocol in this as to WHAT drug of choice people choose. Like, if they're depressed they do coke or drink, etc. I am not sure what they are, though, but it's because they are trying to get the feeling that our kids get from being properly treated, that they can funtion in the world, etc. This is clearly not enough of a sample, but the only kid I know who is now a young adult to have had Ritalin etc in childhood is 20 now and has never done any drugs, despite his severe ADHD. My oldest took Ritalin in 2nd grade, we switched him to Adderall in 3rd (he's in 5th now) due to the rebound, etc. We are very pleased with his functioning over all on the Adderall. difficult child 2, 6, is on Ritalin since last Saturday. Today was his first day back at school after a 3 day suspension and it was (knock wood!) great! I plan to keep him on the medications, but I am also going to take the advice of the school nurse who told me (off the cuff and out of the presence of the principal and the psychiatric) to get his blood sugar checked because his mood swings could be connected to hypoglycemia! Man, was I impressed with her! Anyway, I don't know if there will ever be an answer to your question, Beckers, until they discover the "addiction" gene which I think gives some people an addictive personality. Good luck, Michele

Beckers....I really dont have much to add after the excellent reply Paula gave you. I just wanted to say one little thing. I truly dont think that the medications are gateway drugs. I have two boys who have been on stimulant medications since they were 4 years old. One of them, the youngest, did try pot one time. He hated it because it interfeared with his medications and made him feel bad. The other one refuses to even consider it because I have told them all along that if they do take a street drug, like coke or speed, it will have no effect on them since it acts just like ritalin on them. My 16 yr old says why spend all that money just to feel These kids wouldnt get the same high that a so called normal kid would get from taking speed. Because of the dopamine levels a adhd kid would just feel like he did on ritalin and what is the fun in that since he can just take his medications and feel the same. I may just be lucky here but I have three boys who are teens and they dont use drugs. Well the youngest does smoke cigarettes but I dont count that.

Janet L. Bipolar II on medications and also fibro.
husband...pretty good all considered.
3 boys
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14 yr old difficult child, bipolar, ADHD, Conduct Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). On 1500 mg depakote a day and 5 mgs Zyprexa, Royal PITA kid

16 yr old, ADHD-doing ok on Concerta

19 yr old, AG but Learning Disability (LD), easy child

Be nice to your kids...they will pick out your nursing home...