Dexedrine Addiction, Statistics, Abuse, Symptoms & Side Effects

What is Dexedrine?

Dexedrine is a stimulant drug that is typically prescribed for the treatment of conditions such as narcolepsy and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Dexedrine functions in the body by inducing the release of hormones that are responsible for increasing alertness and energy. This allows it be an effective medication for curbing restlessness, heightening one’s ability to concentrate, and increase attention span. In addition, it operates as an appetite suppressant while reducing fatigue. Like all prescription drugs, one runs the risk of developing a Dexedrine addiction.

While Dexedrine is a medication that should be legally obtained through a prescription from a medical doctor, it is often sold on the black market as it has a high street value. Street names for Dexedrine include the following: “Speed”, “Uppers”, and “Black Beauty”. It is available in controlled release capsules in the strengths of 5 mg, 10 mg, and 15 mg. An oral solution is also available, commonly given to children who are undergoing medical treatment for ADHD. Even though it is a controlled substance, it is often sought through illegal purposes, particularly as addicts desire the experience of the side effects from recreational use. If you or a loved one is suffering with a Dexedrine addiction, you may benefit from professional help to break this destructive lifestyle.

Dexedrine Addiction Statistics

Based on a 2005 study conducted by medical researchers, about 25% of college students reported taking Dexedrine, even when not prescribed by their doctors [1]. Students may have used this drug illicitly to stay active and awake for a longer duration of time. Other statistics about Dexedrine addictions include the following:

  • A survey of over 9,000 Midwestern college students found that those who initiated prescribed use of stimulant medication for ADHD in secondary school were three times as likely as students never prescribed stimulant medication to report illicit use of prescription stimulants, and that those who initiated such medication in college were seven times as likely to report illicit use [2].
  • Chronic amphetamine use, such as Dexedrine, has been shown to slow weight gain and neurobehavioral developmental growth suppression [2].
  • Abuse of amphetamines is associated with tolerance and psychological dependence and is difficult to treat. Withdrawal generally produces fatigue, depression and social disability [2].

These statistics continue to emphasize the need for effective treatment and care for a Dexedrine addiction.

Causes of Dexedrine Addiction

If you or a loved one is suffering within the throes of an addiction, you may feel confused as to how you reached this point. While there is not one single cause linked to a Dexedrine addiction, there are several reasons why an addiction may have developed. If an individual has been exposed to Dexedrine as a part of prescription therapy for a disease or disorder, they may have built up a tolerance to it as their body becomes dependent on the drug. In the case of long term use, increased dosages are necessary to achieve the desired results, which lead to a vicious cycle of taking more of the drug to alleviate the symptoms of dependency. Men and women who abuse Dexedrine recreationally may have been searching for a method of reaching a place of euphoria or a “high”, or as a means of creating a sense of temporary alertness. With instances of drug abuse, underlying factors such as physical or emotional trauma, typically exist and influence the development of an addiction. These factors need to be appropriately addressed in order to fully heal from a Dexedrine addiction, and it is crucial to obtain professional help to break the cycle of this drug abuse.

Signs and Symptoms of Dexedrine Addiction

Several symptoms have been observed among individuals who abuse Dexedrine. Are you concerned that your use of Dexedrine has become an addiction? Do you suspect that a loved one is struggling with a Dexedrine addiction? Review the following signs and symptoms to learn what is commonly revealed in a Dexedrine addict:

  • Irritability
  • Hallucinations
  • Euphoria
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Exacerbation of motor skills
  • Sexual incompetence
  • Compulsive behavior
  • Gastrointestinal difficulties, such as constipation or diarrhea
  • Weight loss due to appetite suppression

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the above symptoms due to an abusive relationship with Dexedrine, it is recommended that you seek professional medical attention.

Dexedrine Effects

Unfortunately, the effects of a Dexedrine addiction go beyond the physical consequences and are damaging to all aspects of an abuser’s life. The following are examples of how a Dexedrine addiction can impact your life if you are addicted to Dexedrine:

Physically: An addiction to Dexedrine can harm your body physically by damaging otherwise normal mechanisms. In severe cases or overdose, death can occur. These are ways in which your body can be physically harmed by the improper use of Dexedrine:

  • Cardiovascular complications
  • Gastrointestinal distress
  • Chest Pains
  • Headache
  • Respiratory decline
  • Changes in appetite, weight loss
  • Uneven heartbeat
  • Fainting, dizzy spells

Psychologically: A Dexedrine addiction can be detrimental to your emotional wellness as well. Consequences that can arise as a result of an addiction to Dexedrine include:

  • Increased mood swings
  • Escalation in anxiety or depression
  • Hallucinations and Paranoia
  • Psychosis resembling schizophrenia

Socially: Addicts who abuse Dexedrine will inevitably destroy their relationships or family units as they feed their addiction. Other social effects include:

  • Refusal to participate in social gatherings
  • Alienation from friends and loved ones
  • Decreased participation in activities or hobbies once enjoyed

An addiction to Dexedrine will affect you as a whole person, including your relationships, finances, mental and physical health and well-being, even while some effects seem more obvious than others. Some of the effects of the Dexedrine drug abuse cycle may be irreversible, such as ones that can impact health and wellness, and these consequences can be short or long term. For these reasons, it is necessary to obtain professional help and appropriate treatment to effectively deal with the addiction.

Dexedrine Withdrawal

In the instance that a person were to abruptly stop taking Dexedrine, it is probable that they will experience withdrawal symptoms. Men and women who have developed a dependence on Dexedrine can also experience withdrawal symptoms, even in as short of time as between dosages. Depending on how long Dexedrine has been abused and the dosage usually taken, withdrawal symptoms can range among Dexedrine addicts. Withdrawal symptoms will usually begin 6-12 hours after the last dosage taken and can include the following:

  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Intense Hunger
  • Seizures
  • Violent Outbursts
  • Psychotic Reactions

While the withdrawal effects of Dexedrine and other stimulant drugs have a short duration, the withdrawal process should always take place under the supervision and care of trained professionals and medical staff. Having proper care will ensure that the person withdrawing from Dexedrine will do so with little complications. Since Dexedrine is a psychoactive stimulant, withdrawal from the drug can put individuals at risk due to the potential physical and psychological side effects. Dexedrine treatment programs often have the necessary resources to safely and efficiently withdraw from the drug and should be considered as part of the process.

Dexedrine Treatment and Help

You might feel overwhelmed as you begin the journey of recovery for a Dexedrine addiction. Take comfort and find hope in knowing that you are not alone on this road. There is hope in the knowledge that recovery is always a possibility with treatment by a Dexedrine rehab center team, no matter of your past or where you have come from, even though you might feel it may be impossible to live life without Dexedrine. You are deserving of the freedom that is experienced apart from the harmful cycle of addiction, and your life is worthy of recovery. By receiving the appropriate and necessary help, you will ultimately have the ability to overcome this addiction. With the right resources, tools, and support, you can be well on your way on the recovery journey towards freedom from a Dexedrine addiction.


[1]. DeDantis, et al. Illicit Use of Prescription ADHD Medications on a College Campus: A Multi-Methodological Approach. Accepted for publication in the Journal of American College Health.

[2]: Berman, et al. Potential Adverse Effects of Amphetamine Treatment on Brain and Behavior: A review. Mol Psychiatry. 2009 February; 14(2): 123-142.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on March 27, 2014
Published on, Substance Abuse Resource Directory