Updated on March 10, 2024
8 min read

Dexedrine Effects & Addiction

If you have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or narcolepsy, you may be familiar with Dexedrine. It’s the brand name for dextroamphetamine, a stimulant to treat both these conditions.

Dexedrine boosts dopamine and norepinephrine in the body, which improves concentration and focus.2,3 It helps people with ADHD focus and remain calm while making people with narcolepsy feel wakeful and energetic.1,2

Because the drug helps you stay awake and focused for long periods, it’s often considered a ‘study drug’ for improving work and academic performance. However, this isn’t the medication’s intended purpose, and we advise against using it this way.

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Is Dexedrine Addictive?

Unfortunately, Dexedrine has a high risk of abuse and addiction. Stimulants trigger a euphoric high when taken in larger-than-prescribed doses and can cause people to become dependent on them.1,4

It’s important to note, however, that a risk for addiction isn’t a guarantee that you’ll develop one. If you’re mindful, responsible, and have the right support systems in place, using Dexedrine can be a safe and effective form of ADHD or narcolepsy treatment.

What Causes Dexedrine Addiction?

Because Dexedrine produces feelings of euphoria, it makes it easier for some to develop an overdependence on the medication. They can develop a tolerance after regular use, requiring higher doses to continue treating their condition.

Tolerance can lead to misuse and psychological dependence, especially if a person uses Dexedrine to complete simple tasks or feel happy. Having a history of substance abuse or mental illness can also make you more prone to addiction.

What Are the Signs of Dexedrine Addiction?

Dexedrine is officially considered a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning it has a high potential for drug dependence and addiction.4 If you’re prescribed Dexedrine and are concerned about its addictive properties, we highly recommend talking to your healthcare provider.

You can observe if you’re exhibiting any of these addiction signs and bring them up at your appointment:2

  • Using the drug in doses your doctor hasn’t prescribed
  • Performing risky behaviors to use the drug
  • Neglecting personal relationships and responsibilities at work, home, or social engagements
  • An inability to stop using the drug
  • Craving the drug when you lessen or stop taking the drug entirely
  • Illegal access of the drug when it isn’t prescribed for you
  • Physical or psychological problems linked to the drug
  • Giving up activities that you once enjoyed
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms

If you misuse or are addicted to Dexedrine, you may also experience more of the drug’s side effects. These side effects can range from mild to severe.

Some of the side effects that can worsen with addiction include:

Mild Side EffectsSevere Side EffectsRare Side Effects
Nausea or dizziness
Loss of appetite
Rapid breathing
Increased blood pressure
Shortness of breath
Chest, jaw, or left arm pain
Irregular heartbeat
Loss of consciousness
Panic attacks
Mood swings
Violent tendencies
Numb or cold skin
Unusual finger or toe wounds
Suicidal thoughts
Vocal outbursts
Extreme fatigue
Changes in libido

If any of these symptoms intensify, contact your doctor immediately. Delaying medical help can result in life-threatening conditions, including death. If you’re not sure your symptoms are an effect of Dexedrine specifically, talk to your healthcare provider.

We encourage you to be honest with your Dexedrine intake, how much you take, and how often, so they can give you accurate help. Remember, there’s always a possibility for recovery as long as you seek help.

Can Dexedrine Cause Serotonin Syndrome?

If you misuse Dexedrine, it can cause serotonin syndrome by increasing serotonin in your body to toxic levels. The risk increases if you take the drug with other serotonin-increasing medications, such as antidepressants and other illicit drugs.2

Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include:2

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Loss of coordination
  • Hallucinations
  • Severe nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Twitching
  • Unexplained fever
  • Agitation and restlessness
  • Substance use disorder (SUD)
  • Overdose

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What are Dexedrine Withdrawal Symptoms?

Once you’re addicted to Dexedrine, your body depends on it to function normally.1 Abruptly stopping this intake can cause withdrawal symptoms.

Some of Dexedrine’s withdrawal symptoms include:1,2

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Low energy levels
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Extreme hunger and thirst
  • Chills
  • Unusual dreams
  • Muscle aches
  • Cravings for the drug
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations

We understand that these symptoms are unpleasant and difficult to feel. You may be tempted to take Dexedrine to stop the symptoms but know that withdrawal is temporary and your body is trying to adjust to the drug’s absence.

With discipline, good habits, and a solid support system, you’ll be able to get past this stage of recovery. Ask for help from friends and professionals if it becomes too much to manage on your own, and understand that healing is a process.

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Can You Overdose on Dexedrine?

Yes, you can overdose on Dexedrine. Addiction comes from developing a tolerance to the drug, requiring higher doses to feel its effects. However, too big of a dose can be dangerous.4

Overdose symptoms include:7

  • Shakiness or muscle twitching
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Hyperactivity
  • Quickened breathing
  • Confusion
  • Aggressiveness
  • Fever
  • Muscle pains

Medication and invasive medical procedures could be necessary if you overdose on Dexedrine. If you or someone you know has overdosed on Dexedrine, seek help immediately, as this is considered a medical emergency.

Once you’re in contact with 911 or a local emergency number, this is what you can do:

  • Honestly inform the emergency professional of the substance taken, how much of it was taken, and when it was ingested.
  • Don’t leave the overdosed person and monitor their condition closely.
  • Do not give the person anything or induce vomiting unless explicitly instructed by medical personnel.
  • Follow all the instructions of emergency response personnel over the phone, if any.
  • Allow medical experts to take over once they arrive, give them as much information as you can and as accurately as you can.

Overdoses can be managed and treated if dealt with on time and properly. Recovery is also more than possible, as proven by many who have successfully overcome Dexedrine addiction.

Dexedrine Addiction Treatment

While there is no specific Dexedrine addiction treatment, there are general medical treatment centers that offer programs and therapies to aid in addiction recovery. Most of these rehabilitation centers and hospitals can deal with Dexedrine addiction.

Some of the treatment options they provide include:

  • Medical detox: Medically supervised detox used to avoid harmful withdrawal effects
  • Inpatient treatment: Involves checking yourself into a rehab facility for 24-hour medical supervision during your recovery and treatment program
  • Outpatient treatment: A treatment program where you’re freely allowed to leave the rehab facility when you’re not actively in a treatment session or class
  • Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs): A treatment program where you stay at a rehab facility for a day and return home at night
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): A behavioral healthcare program that explores the link between thought patterns and substance abuse
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT): Involves using medication, counseling, and therapy to treat addiction
  • Support groups: Provide a much-needed community to help maintain sobriety after treatment
  • 12-step programs: Support groups that follow a 12-step process designed to help guide people through recovery and maintain sobriety

How Can You Prevent Dexedrine Addiction?

While there are effective treatment options out there, prevention is often better than cure. Your healthcare provider will ensure Dexedrine is suited to your needs and that you’re getting the right prescription.

If you’re still concerned about developing an addiction, let them know immediately. They can help you find alternatives.

While an increased risk doesn’t guarantee an addiction, it’s always best to be mindful of your usage, dosage, and intent when taking Dexedrine. Here are other strategies you can use to curb any possibility of Dexedrine misuse or addiction:

  • Secure storage to keep the medication away from others.
  • Properly dispose of the medication according to any and all FDA instructions or medicine take-back programs.
  • See a healthcare provider regularly for monitoring and check-ups to determine if usage and effectiveness are normal.
  • Practice honest communication with your healthcare provider.
  • Have an awareness of the medication’s abuse potential.
  • Avoid sharing medication at all costs.

Being able to manage your risk of misusing medication can keep you safe and circumvent any side effects or overdose. Putting these strategies into place is the responsible thing to do.

What are Alternative ADHD Treatments?

Recovering from Dexedrine addiction means you won’t be able to continue taking the drug. But we know addiction treatment can be even more difficult if you’re also dealing with another condition.

Here are some non-stimulant medication options for ADHD that you can discuss with your healthcare provider:

  • Atomoxetine (Strattera)
  • Guanfacine (Intuniv)
  • Clonidine (Kapvay)
  • Viloxazine (Qelbree)

You can also try non-medication therapies for ADHD. Here are a few options:

  • Psychological treatment, behavioral therapy, and monitoring of symptoms
  • Healthy habits, exercise, and a good lifestyle to stay on top of your symptoms and curb the need for medication
  • Stress management to manage ADHD symptoms
  • Counseling and support from loved ones

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Dexedrine is a stimulant commonly prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. However, it’s also a Schedule II drug with a high potential for physical dependence and addiction.

Dexedrine has various side effects that range from mild to severe. Abusing the drug can also lead to withdrawal and overdose, but it doesn’t have to turn to that. You can make a full recovery and bounce back completely.

Dexedrine can also interact with other substances, leading to harmful side effects. Fortunately, various treatment plans can help you recover from addiction.

With good discipline and the right support, you can recover from or avoid addiction altogether.

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Updated on March 10, 2024

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