How to Approach an Addict
If you’re worried about someone you love using Dexedrine, watch out for use of dextroamphetamine as other brand formulations like Adderall, ProCentra, and Zenzedi.
If someone close to you is struggling with an addiction to Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine), you may be feeling very worried about their health and well-being. It is common to feel unsure of how to express your concern when addiction has taken hold of someone you love.
It can be even more difficult to get a loved one to accept they have a problem with substance abuse when that substance is a prescription drug. Dexedrine, e.g., is a prescription stimulant used in the treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy. Because this drug isn’t illegal and it has accepted medical uses, oftentimes users will fail to believe that they are addicted, especially if they were given a prescription for it. This can make expressing concern over their usage and ultimately urging them to get treatment a difficult task. However, there are some general communication skills you can keep in mind, as well as some specific techniques that may help you address the problem with your loved one.
When communicating your concerns to your loved one:
- Stay as calm as possible. Anxiety is contagious, and anger can be escalating.
- Be direct. Clearly (but without judgment) describe the problem and how it has been impacting both you and them.
- Focus on the issue at hand. This is not a time to bring up past grievances or other concerns.
- Make behavior—not character—the point of discussion. Discuss the behavior that is having a negative impact, rather than attacking the individual and their character. Focusing on actions, not character, will help to prevent defensiveness.
Once you feel you can communicate effectively and are ready for more decisive action, there are several options you can consider. These include:
- Holding a formal intervention. This is when the closest family members and friends of the addicted person gather together with the individual to try to convince them to get help. Interventions may take place with or without the help of a professional, but they may be more successful with one. A professional with experience in the area of addiction can help you gain knowledge about your loved one’s addiction; help you explore any of your own behaviors that may not be helping the situation; and make sure everyone is on the same page and communicating positively and effectively during the meeting. Oftentimes, even if it does not end up being successful at the time of the intervention, you may have at least planted a seed that may get them to seek treatment later.
- Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT).This is a program that can help you figure out some changes you can make that can influence the addicted individual in a more indirect way. For example, a therapist trained in this method can instruct you in how to provide rewards in order to reinforce and promote sober behaviors and to withhold those rewards and create clear boundaries to decrease problem behaviors 1. It can also help you work on yourself at the same time, because a healthier you also means you are better able to help others.
- Engaging with support groups. Your worry and attempts at helping your loved one can take its toll on your mental and emotional well-being. Joining a group for family and friends of addicts (such as Nar-Anon or similar groups) can be a good way for you to get support from people who understand and can help you care for yourself as you provide support to your loved one.
It is also essential to understand the variety of potential solutions so that you can point your loved one toward viable options for care if and when they decide they are ready for help.
There are several different forms of treatment for Dexedrine addiction that your loved one can pursue.
As of right now, there are no approved medications for the treatment of Dexedrine addiction 2,3,4. However, for those withdrawing from the substance, doctor-supervised detox can allow the individual to rid their body of the substance under the care of trained professionals. Oftentimes, detox takes place as part of or transitions to a longer, more comprehensive inpatient program. Treatment in an inpatient environment provides a sober living environment where the recovering individual can work through the underlying reasons for their substance use while learning healthier ways to cope.
Outpatient treatment is another viable option for those seeking recovery from dextroamphetamine addiction. While many people prefer the focused and sober environment of a residential setting, this option may work for those who cannot afford the time or expense to attend residential programs. Common components of outpatient therapy are individual and group counseling, social support, and education on the drug of abuse.
The main forms of treatment for stimulant addiction are behavioral therapies, and there are several different models that have been shown to be effective 2,3. These therapies may be utilized in an inpatient or outpatient setting:
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helps the individual to identify situations, thoughts, feelings, or perhaps even relationships that might be a trigger to their substance use. CBT teaches techniques to cope with triggers and ways to avoid substance abuse, as well as ways to reframe negative thoughts and make healthier choices.
- The Matrix Treatment Model is an approach to treatment – specifically treatment of stimulant abuse and addiction – that combines a number of strategies, such as motivational interviewing, 12-step programs, relapse prevention training, psychotherapy, and family therapy. A combination of group and individual sessions are provided in an intensive outpatient program that typically spans 24 weeks 2.
- Contingency management or voucher-based programs are based on principles of learning. Thus, it involves rewarding behaviors consistent with sobriety, and deploying or allowing negative consequences when the individual engages in substance use 2,3.
- The Community Reinforcement Approach (CRA) involves promoting lifestyle and environmental changes that are consistent with recovery such as vocational assistance, forming new social networks, and marital therapy 2,3.
Recovery and help groups are also a great option for people currently in treatment or looking to maintain support after treatment ends. For example, 12-step groups like Narcotics Anonymous can often be an enormous source of support for individuals struggling with addiction. It offers them a supportive environment, a sober activity to engage in, and a means of accountability, while encouraging them to come to terms with the fact that their use has indeed become a problem in their lives.
Is Dexedrine Addictive?
A common misconception is that drugs that are prescribed and legal can’t be addictive. In fact, prescription drug abuse has become an epidemic in the US, and stimulants like Dexedrine (“dexies”) and the more popular Adderall (another commonly abused prescription stimulant that contains dextroamphetamine) may be abused like any illicit drug. Even those who are taking it for ADHD or narcolepsy aren’t immune to the development of addiction, especially if they begin to misuse the drug (for example, by taking more than prescribed).
Am I Addicted to Dexedrine?
Here are some additional questions you can ask yourself to evaluate your use of the drug.
You may be addicted to Dexedrine if….
- You have given up daily activities and responsibilities in the interest of using it.
- You have been taking Dexedrine without a prescription, or if you have been using your prescription medication for reasons other than its prescribed use.
- You have been unsuccessful in your attempts to stop or cut down your usage.
- You have continued to use Dexedrine despite very unpleasant side effects or the negative consequences it has had on your life.
- You feel like you need it to function and you feel a sense of panic at the thought of not having it or being able to take it.
- The people around you have started commenting directly on your use of Dexedrine, or perhaps more indirectly on your moodiness and irritability.
Dexedrine can absolutely be addictive whether you have obtained it legally or illegally, and it has been abused for numerous reasons including studying, test-taking, weight loss, and athletic performance. Young adults in high school or college may be particularly at-risk of abusing the drug for these reasons.
In fact, according to a Partnership for Drug-Free Kids survey, 20% of college students reported abusing prescription stimulants at least one time, while 50% reported abusing prescription stimulants for the purposes of improving their performance in school 5.
What Are the Signs of Dexedrine Addiction?
Dexedrine can be both physically and psychologically addictive. While you can be physically dependent on the drug without being addicted, the presence of physical dependence is one indicator of addiction, especially if you are taking the drug without a prescription. Physical dependence means that the body has become used to the presence of the drug and functions abnormally without it. Those who are dependent on a substance will experience withdrawal when use is cut down or stopped.
Another indicator of a problem is the development of tolerance, which means that over time you need more and more to feel the same effects. If you’re taking the drug to get “high” but you find you don’t experience the same level of intoxication without increasing your dose, your tolerance is building.
From a psychological standpoint, you may be struggling with an addiction if you find yourself continuing to take it even when it’s causing distress in your life. If you continue wanting to take Dexedrine to experience the “high” or for the extra energy and concentration even when not needed, you may want to consider seeking help.
Call Our Hotline Today
Regardless of whatever treatment option you choose, just know that there is help and you don’t have to figure out how to deal with it on your own. For help in finding a treatment program call 1-888-744-0069 .
- Meyers, R. J., Roozen, H. G., & Smith, J. E. (2011). The Community Reinforcement Approach: an update of the evidence. Alcohol Research & Health, 33(4), 380-388.
- Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (1999). Treatment for Stimulant Use Disorders. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
- Phillips, K. A., Epstein, D. H., & Preston, K. L. (2014). Invited review: Psychostimulant addiction treatment. Neuropharmacology,87(CNS Stimulants), 150-160.
- Vocci, F. J., & Montoya, I. D. (2009). Psychological treatments for stimulant misuse, comparing and contrasting those for amphetamine dependence and those for cocaine dependence. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 22(3), 263–268.
- Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. (2014). Misuse and Abuse of Prescription Stimulants Becoming Normalized Behavior Among College Students, Young Adults.