Read an article and couldn't help but feel a bit frustrated with it. The article entitled, Speed Diet: Women Using ADD Drugs to Get Thin, is up on MSNBC. Basically, it addresses the weight obsessed entertainment industry "where the difference between a size 4 and size 8 may mean the difference between working and not" and the trend of using Adderall in order to lose weight.
Adderall, a combination of amphetamine stimulants, is commonly used for the treatment of ADD / ADHD. Many of you who will read this may be on Adderall yourself or you may have a child on Adderall. If so, you know the benefits of this medication. Adderall, when used properly and as prescribed, can be a real life savior for an individual struggling with ADD / ADHD.
Unfortunately, there are those who abuse stimulants. Adderall abuse, and the misuse of similar substances, is at an all time high.
This doesn't surprise Charles Sophy, medical director for the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services, and psychiatrist with many celebrity clients. "I've had several young patients come in looking for Adderall prescriptions," he says. "These slim girls come in saying, 'I need medication, and it has to be Adderall.' And I'll say, 'Why not Strattera?'" Sophy says the girls claim to have ADD, while actually using the drugs for weight loss.
"Well, that's the game. A drug like Strattera (a non-stimulant which is also used to treat ADD) won't give them the high and won't give them the appetite suppression. So they'll have all these reasons why they need Adderall and only Adderall."
Tamara*, a junior editor at a magazine in L.A., takes Adderall because it makes her feel "intensely creative," she says. "I can sit down at my computer and just write, write, write when I'm on it." She began using Adderall in her college days for weight management. "Everyone told me I looked sickly, but sitting down and not having stomach rolls never gets old." And if she begins to put back any pounds, Tamara admits she would take Adderall in a heartbeat, especially right before a bikini vacation.
Apparently, having a prescription is a non-issue. "I have friends who have the script and dole it out like candy. It's insane," she says. "Some sell them for $5 to $10 a pill. But mostly I get them for free."
Adderall is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of ADD / ADHD. Using the drug for another purpose is not only unwise, it is also dangerous. "Young people don't realize that medications like Adderall can be harmful if not prescribed for the appropriate condition," says Sophy. When taken at higher than prescribed dosage, Adderall can be psychologically and physically addictive. In addition, some longer term (mis)users need to take increasing amounts in order to get the same appetite suppression. Many even turn to sleeping pills to counteract Adderall's stimulant effect.
And the latest buzz? Cheating the time-release delivery system of the XR capsules by grinding and snorting their contents or wrapping a crushed pill in toilet paper and eating it to avoid the bad taste. Why do this at all? A bigger rush and maximum appetite suppression.
Yet for all those out there who misuse and abuse these drugs, there are many others with ADD / ADHD who have found relief and improved functioning using the medications properly and as prescribed.
What are your thoughts?
Photo © Microsoft
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