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Parents Should Know the Signs of Stimulant Drug Addiction and Withdrawal

If there is any lesson we should take away from the opioid epidemic, it is that prevention is the strongest tool in fighting substance abuse and addiction. While treatment is the best way to address existing addictions, prevention and education can help ensure treatment is not needed.

States are beginning to roll out their plans for implementing more substance abuse and addiction prevention education programs, and we too want to help to educate parents on how to recognize the signs of stimulant drug and alcohol abuse, addiction, and withdrawal; and to recognize when your child needs help for stimulant abuse, addiction and mental health concerns.

Parents should be on the Lookout for Signs and Symptoms of Drug and Stimulant Abuse/Addiction in Children of All Ages

It is important for parents to be on the lookout for the signs and symptoms of substance abuse and addiction in older children as well – not just young children, teens and young adults. Addiction can strike at any age, and it is family’s early intervention efforts that can have the biggest impact in whether or not substance abuse and addiction is treated early.

Meth Stats

Methamphetamine Addiction Statistics

Methamphetamine abuse and addiction takes a drastic toll on the mind and body, is one of the most widely abuse drugs in the United States, and because it is relatively cheap it is widely abused in poor communities. Also called “glass” or “Crystal,” the drug is usually snorted or smoked, but can also be used intravenously.

  • Contrary to popular belief, the United States does not see the highest rates of methamphetamine use, rather Australia has the highest abuse rate.
  • 42 metric tons of methamphetamine were used in the U.S. in 2010, and the highest rate seen in recent years was 85 metric tons in 2005.
  • In a 2013 poll, 59,500 Americans over the age of 12 admitted to using methamphetamine within the past month.
  • In a 2013 poll, 12,257,000 Americans admitted to using meth at least once in their lifetime.
  • 82,000 teens between the age of 16 and 17 admitted to using methamphetamine in 2013.
  • 25,000 teens between the age of 14 and 15 admitted to using methamphetamine in 2013.
  • 12,000 kids between the age of 12 and 13 admitted to using methamphetamine in 2013.
  • $13 billion was spent on meth by Americans in 2010.
  • 102,961 emergency room visits in 2011 were meth-related
  • 49,510 people sought addiction treatment for meth in 2012
  • 2,724 deaths were attributed to poisoning by methamphetamine in 2011
  • There were 1,814 emergency room visits related to suicide attempts in combination with methamphetamine in 2009.
  • Meth-related deaths in the U.S. peaked at 4,500 deaths in 2005.

Signs of Methamphetamine Addiction

Methamphetamine use is usually easier to spot in long-term addicts and those that use large amounts of the drug, as heavy meth users’ physical appearance begins to change – taking on a gaunt look, with acne, rotting teeth, and extreme weight loss. However, those that use the drug less regularly or only engage in infrequent binges on the drug can often show no physical signs of meth use.

Additionally, the physical characteristics a person takes on after heavy meth use is tied to the types of chemicals used in manufacturing the drug. Therefore “cleaner” batches of meth may do less physical damage to the body, while “dirty” batches of meth can cause the “meth-look” to be more prominent and show up more quickly. Signs to look out for if you suspect meth use in your child include:

  • Frailness or Thinning Body
  • Dramatic Weight Loss
  • Suppressed Appetite and Lack of Appetite
  • Droopiness of the Facial Skin, Sunken Cheeks, Pronounced Bone Structure in the Face
  • Convulsions and Seizures
  • Lowered Immunity and Increased Susceptibility to Diseases
  • Increased Libido
  • Intense Scratching
  • Visual and Tactile Hallucinations (Often of Bugs on the Skin or Crawling Sensations)
  • Increase in Body Temperature, Flushed Red Skin
  • Rapid, Darting Eyes and Dilated Pupils
  • Skin Lesions or Sores
  • Impulsive Actions
  • Hair Loss
meth detox

Signs of Methamphetamine Withdrawal

Meth withdrawal usually will not be life-threatening, and presents more dangerous psychological symptoms than physically dangerous symptoms. Meth withdrawal begins within the first 24 hours of stopping the use of the drug, and the severity of the withdrawal depends on how much meth you have used, and for how long you have been using the drug for (“tweaking” – Using the drug consecutively during a binge).

Meth Withdrawal Symptoms Include:

  • Sadness or Depression
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Decreased Appetite
  • Lack of Motivation
  • Muscle Pain
  • Jaw pain and Clenching of the jaw (Grinding Teeth, etc.)
  • Headache
  • Dehydration
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Stimulant-Induced Psychosis
  • Drug Cravings
Coke Stats

Cocaine Addiction Statistics

  • 9 million people use cocaine each month.
  • Cocaine use is highest in the 18-25 year age group – with 1.5% of 18-25 year olds reporting cocaine use in the past 30 days.
  • A 2013 Study showed that 37,634,000 people over the age of 12 had used cocaine at least once in their lifetime.
  • 170,000 teens aged 16-17 used cocaine in 2013.
  • 37,000 teens aged 14-15 used cocaine in 2013.
  • 9,000 kids aged 12-13 used cocaine in 2013.
  • The highest rates of cocaine use are seen in the United States, Paraguay, Chile, Spain, Italy, United Kingdom, and Australia.
  • People in the United States spent $28 billion on cocaine in 2010, which is a decrease over a decade since the $55 billion figure seen in 2000.
  • There were 505,224 cocaine-related emergency room visits in 2011.
  • 202, 044 rehab admissions in 2012 were related to crack cocaine and cocaine.

Signs of Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine is a short acting stimulant, which leads many users to use the drug in a binge and crash pattern, much like methamphetamine. There are two major forms of cocaine – powder cocaine (which is usually snorted) and crack cocaine (which is formed into rocks and smoked). The drug can also be used intravenously, and can be mixed with heroin, speed, or other drugs – though the most common forms are smoking crack and snorting powder cocaine.

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Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Abuse/Addiction:
  • Paranoia or Fearfulness
  • Extremely Talkative and Rambling (Talking Over Others, Rushing to Get Words Out)
  • Increased Energy
  • Decreased Need for Sleep
  • Headaches
  • Muscle Twitches
  • Nosebleeds
  • Nasal Perforation (Holes in the septum, damage to the tissues of the nose and membranes inside the nose)
  • Recklessness and Engaging in Risky Behaviors
  • Chronic Runny Nose, and Sniffling
  • Hoarseness in the Voice
  • Increase in Body Temperature
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Dilated Pupils
  • Paranoia and Psychosis
  • Mood Swings

Signs of Cocaine Withdrawal

While cocaine withdrawal itself usually will not cause critical withdrawal symptoms or lead to death (unlike drugs like Heroin, Alcohol and Benzodiazepines), the withdrawals from cocaine can cause a lot of anxiety, agitation and psychological symptoms.

Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms:

  • Excessive Hunger or Loss of Appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Profuse Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Night Sweats
  • Delirium
  • Hallucinations
  • Sensitivity to pain
  • Slurred Speech
  • Teeth Grinding
  • Disorientation and Confusion
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Facts & Stats

Prescription Stimulant Addiction Statistics

  • ADHD is 10X more common in alcoholics.
  • Of those treated for substance abuse, 25% have ADD/ADHD.
  • ADHD is the most common mental health disorder diagnosis seen in children.
  • Adults too can be diagnosed with ADHD, with 5% of the adult population having been diagnosed.
  • Children diagnosed with ADHD are more likely to abuse alcohol in their teenage years.
  • 2 million people use prescription stimulants.
  • 2 million young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 use prescription stimulants.
  • 1 million children aged 12 to 17 use prescription stimulants.
  • The number of American children on prescription stimulants increased 183% from 1990 to 2013 – (3.5 Million in 2013).
  • A 2013 study found that 9% of all teens in the U.S. have abused prescription stimulants.

Types of Prescription Stimulants

Prescription stimulants are often prescribed for those under the age of 20 to treat (ADD/ADHD) Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. Parents should be aware of the side effects even if their child is not prescribed these drugs.

Children have a tendency to share their ADHD medications with friends and fellow students, and abuse of ADHD drugs in children who don’t need them has shown to cause increased risk of substance abuse and addiction later in life.

  • Ritalin
  • Ritalin SR
  • Ritalin LA
  • Dexedrine
  • Adderall
  • Concerta
  • Adzenys XR-ODT
  • Zenzedi
  • Dyanavel XR
  • Evekeo
  • Vyvanse
  • Desoxyn
  • ProCentra
  • Aptensio XR
  • Daytrana
  • Metadate
  • Metadate CD
  • Methylin
  • Quillivant XR
  • QuillaChew ER
  • Focalin
  • Focalin XR

Signs of Prescription Stimulant Addiction

Know the side effects of prescription stimulants. These side effects may appear when your child first begins abusing prescription stimulants, or with heavy use of the drugs.

  • Abdominal Pain
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Weight Loss
  • Anxiety
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Dry Mouth
  • Dyspepsia (Indigestion)
  • Emotional Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Vomiting

Severe Side Effects of Prescription Stimulants:

  • Infection (Serious Side Effect)
  • Tachycardia (Serious Side Effect)
  • Allergic Reactions (Serious Side Effect)
  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (Red and Purple Skin Rash that Spreads)
  • Toxic epidermal necrolysis (Skin necrosis starting with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome Rash)
  • Psychotic Episodes
  • Rhabdomyolysis (Death and Breakdown of muscle tissue)
  • Cardiomyopathy (Heart Failure)
Lack of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs in Arizona

Signs of Prescription Stimulant Withdrawal

Prescription Stimulants are chemically similar to illicit/illegal stimulants like methamphetamine and amphetamine, and the in some ADHD medications, the active ingredients are methamphetamine or amphetamine – only in very low doses. Parents should be aware that those abusing or addicted to prescriptions stimulants like ADHD medications may abuse illegal street meth and amphetamines on top of prescription drugs. Signs of withdrawal from stimulants include:

  • Jittery Reactions
  • Anxiety
  • Chills
  • Dehydration
  • Dulled Senses
  • Slowed Speech
  • Loss of Interest
  • Slowed Movements
  • Slow Heart Rate
  • Irritability
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Depression
  • Insomnia (or Hypersomnia)
  • Psychosis

Prescription Stimulant and Amphetamine Addiction Treatment

While marijuana is often called a gateway drug, addiction specialists are now finding that ADHD medications and prescription stimulants are a gateway to harder drugs like methamphetamine, prescription opioids, prescription benzodiazepines, and heroin. It is so very important for parents to not only recognize the signs of a prescription or illicit stimulant addiction in their kids, but to respond the substance abuse appropriately – seeking stimulant addiction treatment from a trusted rehab provider.

Reflections Recovery Stimulant Addiction Treatment Program

Reflections’ addiction treatment program aims to get to the root problem of stimulant use. Quite often the stimulant abuse is tied to a mental health concern, and users are self-medicating the symptoms of an underlying condition with prescription stimulants, meth and amphetamines. We utilized dual diagnosis treatment for stimulant addiction to address co-occurring disorders of stimulant abuse and mental health issues.

For those suffering with and addiction to prescription stimulant addiction, or have a co-occurring disorder of ADHD and substance abuse/addiction, dual diagnosis takes into account the individuals special needs of ADHD sufferers.

If your child or loved one needs help and treatment for stimulant addiction, contact us today for an assessment, to begin a stimulant addiction intervention, or to enter treatment as soon as possible.

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