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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Cliffside Malibu - Dual Diagnosis Behavioral and Mood Disorders

What Is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are the most commonly diagnosed behavioral disorders in children. Diagnosed more often in boys than in girls, experts estimate that it affects 3 – 5 % of school-aged children. Symptoms include impulsive behavior (impulsivity), lack of attention (inattentiveness) and in most cases, hyperactivity.

What Causes ADHD?

Children diagnosed with ADHD usually have at least one other behavioral or developmental disorder. Insomnia, depression, tic disorders may appear with ADHD and can be confused with ADHD. A Harvard Health Publications report states, “Besides, these children often have many problems in addition to attention deficit disorder. In one estimate, 65% suffer from other psychiatric disorders, including conduct disorder, anxiety, depression, and (often unrecognized) bipolar disorder.”

How is it Treated?

The prevailing opinion in the medical community is that a combination of behavioral therapy and medication is the best treatment. There are a number of different types of ADHD medications that are used alone or in combination with others.

Stimulants are the most commonly prescribed ADHD medications. Although they are in the stimulant category, and in most people physically serve as stimulants, they have a calming effect on people with ADHD.

A combination of medication and behavioral treatment works best. There are several different types of ADHD medications that may be used alone or in combination. The most commonly prescribed ADHD stimulants are Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall, Focalin, Dexedrine, Dextrostat,Metadate, Daytrana, and Vyvanse. Unfortunately there have been some rare sudden deaths in children with heart problems taking some ADHD medicines.

Teens & Young Adults Who Take ADHD Stimulants

The National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens warns that stimulant abuse can be extremely dangerous. Dangerously high body temperatures, irregular heartbeat, the increased risk of heart failure and seizures, and in rare cases even sudden death all may occur in those who abuse stimulants.  High doses of some stimulants, or abusing them repeatedly, can lead to feelings of paranoia and hostility.

Yet another danger exists when combining stimulants with over-the-counter cold medicines that contain decongestants.  This mixture can lead to irregular heart rhythms or dangerously high blood pressure. These complications can sometimes result in sudden death.

The word is out among high school and college students that using stimulants like those prescribed for their friends with ADHD helps them have enhanced focus as well. Some will find a source – friends who have a prescription or someone selling them illegally in school – and use them sporadically when faced with a big test or finals. A few will begin to use stimulants more often, enjoying the extra-energy and altered mood and continue using with more frequency and in higher doses until they have a full fledged drug addiction.

Some college students will go so far as to fake the symptoms of ADHD and fool a doctor into prescribing stimulants for them.

Cliffside Malibu - Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment

What Can I Do If My Child Is Using Stimulants Without A Prescription?

Talk to one of the addiction specialists at Cliffside Malibu familiar with stimulant abuse. If your loved one is showing the symptoms of having a co-occurring disorder, he/she may need the help of a treatment center.  Call (424) 320-3061 anytime, night or day, to get the answers you need.


Call now to speak confidentially with an admission counselor.

(424) 320-3061