By: Nick
July 20, 2022

Is ADHD Medication Addictive?

Table of Contents

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, more commonly known as ADHD, is one of the most common mental disorders among children and teenagers. ADHD is characterized by inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive behaviors, often making it difficult to focus and act appropriately. 


According to the CDC, over 6.1 million children have been diagnosed with ADHD. Making matters even worse, nearly 67% of children diagnosed with ADHD have at least one co-occurring condition – which generally includes depression, anxiety, learning disabilities, speech problems, and conduct disorder. If not treated correctly, the child may continue to struggle.


What is ADHD Medication?

While there are several different ways to treat ADHD, whether it be for children or adults, ADHD medication is often the most effective treatment. The medication is designed to improve and stimulate brain activity to improve attention and focus. Your doctor will determine what the best course of action is.


The three most common types of medication for ADHD include stimulants, non-stimulants, and antidepressants. Of the three, stimulants are the most popular and effective. The other two are reserved for those that don’t respond well to stimulants. Let’s take a closer look at each one:

  • Stimulants – some popular short-acting brand names include Dexedrine, Adderall, Zenzedi, Focalin, Ritalin, and Methylin. Some long-acting brand names include Vyvanse, Concerta, Evekeo, Mydayis, and Azstarys. 
  • Non-Stimulants – these are often used when stimulants don’t work or produce unwanted side effects. Some popular brand names include Strattera, Catapres, Catapres-TTS patch, Kapvay, Intuniv, Tenex, and Qelbree. 
  • Antidepressants – these are often used when ADHD patients are experiencing mental health problems in addition to their ADHD. Some popular brand names include Wellbutrin, Wellbutrin SR, Wellbutrin XL, Norpramin, Tofranil, Aventyl, and Pamelor. 


Did you know that over 69% of children diagnosed with ADHD take at least one of the above medications? In fact, some teenagers and young adults are using certain medications – such as amphetamines, methylphenidate, and atomoxetine – at an increased rate.


Is ADHD Medication Addictive?

Anytime a patient is put on medication, there’s always a concern that they’ll become addicted to or dependent on that medication. While that’s certainly possible with ADHD medication, studies show that children taking ADHD medication aren’t at an increased risk of becoming addicted.


When taken as directed, ADHD medication shouldn’t cause any harm to the body, and likely won’t lead to an addiction. At the same time, people with ADHD are at an increased risk of substance abuse – which is more likely to be the reason for a patient becoming addicted.


To summarize, ADHD medication can be addictive when abused. And while ADHD medication itself is unlikely to lead to addiction, having ADHD can increase your risk of abusing it – which can lead to addiction. To prevent this, ADHD patients should be closely monitored regularly. 


Does ADHD Medication Addiction Require Treatment?

If someone living with ADHD becomes addicted to their ADHD medication, the patient’s healthcare team will have to adjust the treatment program accordingly. At that point, they’re not just treating the ADHD, but also the addiction – something known as dual diagnosis treatment.


In fact, this is true with any form of substance abuse that co-occurs with ADHD. Since many ADHD patients use drugs and other harmful substances to cope with their ADHD, it’s common for ADHD patients to require addiction treatment as well – it’s the only way treatment will work. 


To properly treat both conditions at the same time, your healthcare team will have to monitor your intake of addictive ADHD medication and detoxify any harmful substances still in the body. Therapy, counseling, and making lifestyle changes are also effective in treatment. 


How to Find Prescription Addiction Treatment Programs

So, back to the real question – is ADHD medication addictive? It can be, but not if its use is controlled and monitored by a trusted professional. While it can be addictive, ADHD medication helps more people than it harms and is one of the most effective treatment options for ADHD. 


Are you struggling to cope with your ADHD diagnosis? Does your ADHD co-occur with another mental health condition or substance abuse disorder? Are you worried that your struggle with ADHD will have a negative impact on your ability to live a happy, healthy, and rewarding life? For ADHD treatment in Burbank, CA, MCR is the best option.


Multi-Concept Recovery is a Southern California outpatient rehab center specializing in mental health and addiction treatment programs. We provide programs not only for adults, but also for college students and teen treatment in Burbank.


If you answered yes to any of those questions above, contact Multi-Concept Recovery immediately because we can help. We treat our ADHD patients with respect, ensuring they receive the best medication, education, and therapy. Together, we can defeat your condition.