Can Focalin Be Abused?
Several medications are currently available to treat symptoms of ADHD. One of these medications is Focalin. Over the last several decades, millions of Americans have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Health professionals have reported positive results from Focalin for treatment of ADHD. Unfortunately, misuse of Focalin can lead to Substance Use Disorder (SUD.) We will what you need to know about Focalin misuse, including:
- Who gets prescribed Focalin
- What effect does Focalin have on the body
- Warning signs of abuse
- Treatment options for Focalin addiction
Who Gets Prescribed Focalin?
Focalin is a brand name for the drug dexmethylphenidate. The substance is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. Medication is taken orally as a pill, or sprinkled into food. Most doctors will start patients on a smaller dosage, and gradually increase as needed. However, this treatment regimen requires close monitoring by the physician. Over time, the effectiveness of Focalin can decrease.
What Effect Does Focalin Have On The Body?
Focalin causes users to feel more alert and focused on tasks at hand. For patients with ADHD, this is an obvious benefit. Patients will feel more energetic and engaged with their daily activities. Side effects can vary based on the patient, but generally include:
- Dry mouth
- Nervousness or jitters
Like any prescription medication, Focalin can be misused. This simply means using a drug differently than prescribed. In some cases, patients may time their medication incorrectly, and take the next dose too early. Others may take an incorrect dosage amount. It is recommended that if patients forget a dose, they should take it as soon as possible. However, if they are close to the next dose, simply take the next dose and continue treatment as prescribed.
Unfortunately, Focalin can be habit forming in some cases. To avoid this, doctors will sometimes ask patients to pause use to see if treatment is still needed. They may also look for alternate treatments after a period of time. In other cases, teenagers and young adults have used Focalin as a recreational drug. These users may enjoy the energy burst and intense focus the drug can provide. These users may use the pill form, or crush and snort the substance for a quicker high.
As a CNS stimulant, Focalin works to “rewire” the brain over time. When used incorrectly, the brain comes to depend on the drug in order to function. This is called Substance Use Disorder (SUD). When a patient develops SUD, they no longer get the benefits of the drug. Instead, the brain begins to send out distress signals any time the drug is not present. These distress signals are called withdrawal. Symptoms of withdrawal include:
- Severe Headaches
- Fatigue or restlessness
Warning Signs Of Abuse
The long term effects of Focalin addiction can be dangerous. The stimulant effects can cause heart problems in certain patients. Over time, patients with SUD from Focalin can experience insomnia or trouble sleeping. Other symptoms of SUD include:
- Difficulty speaking
- Loss of motor skills
- Vision problems
- Severe mood swings
- Discolorations or wounds in fingers and toes
ADHD and SUD
Research has shown links between patients with ADHD and any type of SUD. In fact, it is estimated that up to 25% of adolescent patients with ADHD also live with an SUD. Patients are advised to tell their doctor about any other medications or substances they use prior to treatment. Most doctors will not prescribe Focalin for treatment in these cases.
Treatment Options For Focalin Addiction
If you or a loved one is living with SUD from Focalin, know that it is not your fault. SUD is a medical condition, not a moral failure. Treatment programs like ours offer effective and compassionate care for SUD. The process will involve a period of detox, followed by comprehensive treatment. Detox is simply a period where we allow the body to flush out all unwanted substances. Your care team can prescribe medication as needed to control withdrawal symptoms for comfort. Detox usually lasts about a week at most, under usual circumstances.
After detox, the next step for most patients is to enter our residential treatment program. Here you’ll spend much of your time in individual and group therapy. Our trained therapists will help you learn to identify use triggers and develop coping strategies for a sober lifestyle long after you leave our program. Our goal goes beyond simply getting you well here and now. We also want to give you the tools you need for recovery that stands the test of time.
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