Dexedrine Addiction and Withdrawal

Dexedrine is a prescription medication that is used for the treatment of certain disorders, like ADHD. However, some individuals may misuse Dexedrine by taking more than prescribed, using someone else’s prescription, or using the medication to get high.

This article will cover what Dexedrine is, what it’s used for, and withdrawal effect. It will also explore the risks of overdose, addiction, and how to get help if you or a loved one is struggling with Dexedrine misuse or addiction.

What Is Dexedrine?

Dextroamphetamine is the generic active ingredient in the branded drug Dexedrine. Like Adderall (a combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine), Dexedrine is a central nervous system stimulant that belongs to the amphetamine class of drugs. It’s indicated for the treatment of narcolepsy and  attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) helping to alleviate the following ADHD symptoms:1,2

  • Trouble maintaining focus or concentration.
  • Impulsive, hyperactive behavior.
  • Susceptibility to distractions.
  • Forgetfulness regarding day-to-day things and responsibilities.

Dexedrine Misuse Overview

According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 12.2 million individuals reported using prescription amphetamines such as Dexedrine, and nearly 5.3 million individuals reported misusing prescription amphetamines at least one time in the last year.5 The 2018 Monitoring the Future Survey reported that 8.6% of high school seniors have used some type of stimulant (including prescription amphetamine analogs such as Dexedrine, illicit methamphetamine, and Ritalin).6

Dexedrine Addiction

College students are at higher risk of non-medical use of CNS stimulants like amphetamines, with increased risk associated with the following:7

  • White male.
  • GPA less than 3.5.
  • Use of alcohol and/or marijuana (often alongside methylphenidate).
  • Member of sorority or fraternity.

High school and college students cite academic motivations as their primary reason for misuse of amphetamines and other CNS stimulants. Weight loss and trying to achieve a “high” are other reasons for abusing these medications.7

An individual can get started on Dexedrine misuse—or the misuse of other prescription stimulants—through a number of known pathways. In some instances, individuals who are lawfully prescribed this drug for a diagnosed condition like ADHD may begin to take too much of the drug, such as taking high doses during a short period or frequently taking smaller doses. In other instances, individuals may not have a diagnosis for which Dexedrine is indicated but may obtain this drug from doctors through subterfuge or from friends, neighbors, or the illicit street drug market.

When Dexedrine is taken as prescribed by a physician there’s less potential that the patient will develop an addiction to this drug. The patient may develop a physical dependence, but this condition is not synonymous with a psychological addiction.

Individuals who take Dexedrine under the care of a prescribing doctor aren’t immune from abusing the drug in an attempt to feel a “high,” although studies show it is rare.8 Diversion of the medications from patients to their classmates and colleagues, however, remains a problem.8,9 Diversion is when medication prescribed for one individual is sold, given to, or taken by another individual.9

Signs and Symptoms of Dexedrine Use and Addiction

If a person takes Dexedrine or any prescription amphetamine for any reason not related to its clinically proven therapeutic effects for certain health conditions, there’s a considerable risk of addiction in addition to a host of life-threatening side effects that the individual wasn’t screened for by a physician. For example, structural cardiac abnormalities, cardiomyopathy, serious heart rhythm abnormalities, or other serious cardiac problems combined with CNS stimulants—even at therapeutic levels—is a known cause of sudden death.1

Initial effects (usually desired) after taking 5-60 mg of Dexedrine include:1,2

  • Increased energy, alertness, and sociability.
  • Elation or euphoria.
  • Decreased fatigue.
  • Decrease in appetite.

Adverse side effects that may be experienced after taking Dexedrine include:1,2

  • Headache.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Insomnia.
  • Restlessness.
  • Depression, anxiety, or agitation.
  • Involuntary muscle movement or tics.
  • Dizziness.
  • Diarrhea or constipation.
  • Changes in sex drive.
  • Palpitations.
  • Elevated blood pressure.
  • Rapid heart rate.

Rare but serious adverse effects include:1,2

  • Seizures.
  • Psychosis.
  • Heart attack or stroke.

Dexedrine Overdose

Adverse reactions are more likely to occur with continued misuse of Dexedrine. Chronic users may increase their dosage to dangerous levels and could experience signs and symptoms of a Dexedrine overdose:1,2

  • Extreme restlessness and tremor.
  • Irritability, panic, confusion and difficulty concentrating.
  • Rapid breathing.
  • Delusions or hallucinations.
  • Dark, reddish-colored urine (rhabdomylosis).
  • Muscle aches, spasms, and tics.
  • Feeling aggressive and prone to violence.
  • Irregular heart rhythms or blood pressures (high or low) leading to circulatory system collapse.

Long-Term Effects of Dexedrine Misuse

Long-term misuse of dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine) and other amphetamines has been shown to damage dopaminergic nerve terminals.10 Although this damage may not be permanent, it may result in long-term cognitive deficits and mood disorders such as depression.11

Polydrug Use and Addiction

Although some people misuse Dexedrine in an effort to increase attention or improve concentration in order to study, nonmedical use often occurs in conjunction with alcohol and other substances (with males more likely than females to engage in instances of polydrug use).2

Some common signs of addiction to prescription stimulants such as Dexedrine as well as to other substances are:

  • “Doctor shopping,” (going to multiple doctors for different prescriptions to the same or other drugs of abuse).
  • Not eating, displaying poorer nutritional habits than usual, or weight loss.
  • Filling prescriptions at various pharmacies.
  • Poor dental health or possibly decayed teeth.
  • Missing school or work.
  • Borrowing money or stealing items from home, work, or school.
  • Poor performance of familiar tasks.
  • Making excuses to protect the drug use.
  • Substandard grooming or poor hygiene.
  • Recognition that it’s time to stop using the drug but being unable to do so.

There are often many stakeholders involved in a person’s health, such as family, friends, employers, colleagues, and classmates. In some instances, concerned individuals may have an intuition or actual evidence that substance abuse is occurring, but they may not know which exact drugs are being abused. A recognition of substance abuse, even short of knowing which substances are involved, signals the need that somebody may be struggling with addiction. It is good to know the treatment options available to you, your friend or your loved one.

Are you ready to reach out for help and start the addiction treatment process? If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction and are ready to take the first steps towards recovery, call us today at . Greenhouse Treatment Center, American Addiction Centers’ Texas rehab, is ready to help you get the treatment you need today.

Treating Dexedrine Addiction

Misuse of Dexedrine and other amphetamines is associated with tolerance—or, the body’s need to use increasing doses of medication to feel its effects—and strong psychological dependence that’s difficult to treat. Reducing the dose or stopping use is associated with withdrawal, which generally produces fatigue, depression and social disability.11

Medical management of withdrawal, often referred to as “detoxification” or “ medical detox” is typically the first stage of treating an addiction to Dexadrine and other amphetamines. This is followed by primary treatment and aftercare.

Medical management of stimulant intoxication, overdose and withdrawal is mostly supportive.2 Symptoms may be medically managed using medications, however, there are currently no FDA-approved drugs for treating addiction to CNS stimulants.2

The supervising medical staff may prescribe palliative medications, such as sedatives, muscle relaxers, or other psychiatric medications to help ease withdrawal symptoms, control cravings, and alleviate any feelings of anxiety, depression, or aggression.2

If a co-occurring mental health disorder is also present, additional medications may be prescribed for longer-term use.

Although therapy is a main pillar of treatment there are many supporting beams in the treatment framework. The following are supportive services that a Dallas area drug rehab may offer:

  • Treatment that accommodates a dual diagnosis (such as dual treatment for substance use disorder and depression, eating disorders, or other mental health disorders).
  • Onsite or off-site peer/group recovery meetings.
  • Family therapy, family drug education, and social events.
  • Expressive arts therapy.
  • Wellness treatments (such as yoga and meditation).
  • Support for identity-based groups (such as LGBT group meetings).
  • Drug education for the recovering person.
  • Psychoeducational groups.
  • Aftercare services.

Recovery doesn’t end when a person completes a structured substance abuse treatment program. Engaging in aftercare services, such as ongoing counseling and participation in group recovery meetings (e.g., Narcotics Anonymous or SMART Recovery), not only helps recovering individuals to avoid a relapse but also helps them build the infrastructure for a drug-free and fulfilling life.

Dexedrine Addiction Treatment

If you or someone you love is struggling with dependence on or addiction to Dexedrine — or other stimulants — there is effective help available. At our inpatient drug rehab near Dallas we use addiction-focused evidence-based healthcare to help people get on the road to recovery.

To find out more about our different levels of care or learn more about our features and amenities, contact our helpful and knowledgeable admissions navigators at . Our navigators can also answer your questions about different ways to pay for rehab, using insurance for addiction treatment, and how to start the admissions process.

Was this page helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information. We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.

Read our full editorial policy

While we are unable to respond to your feedback directly, we'll use this information to improve our online help.

You aren't alone. You deserve to get help.
We are here to help you get clean and learn how to stay that way. Start your recovery at our spa-like facility in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. Holistic therapies, chef-prepared meals, and LGBTQ+ support are among the many features of our premier drug and alcohol treatment program.