Abuse of the 'Good-Grade' Pill: Center for Network Therapy's Dr. Indra Cidambi Offers Insight on Adderall Addiction in Teenagers for National Drug & Alcohol Fact Week

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High school and college students across the nation are turning to ‘study drugs’ like Adderall for what they perceive to be an increase in productivity to achieve better grades. Addiction Specialist Dr. Indra Cidambi says National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week (January 25-31) is a good time to start talking with students about the dangers of illegally using the prescription drug, and how to spot if someone you know might be addicted.

Addiction Medicine Expert Dr. Indra Cidambi

“While many students view Adderall as an ‘academic achievement steroid’, many do not realize the drug is highly addictive.” says Dr. Cidambi.

Adderall, the so-called ‘good-grade’ pill, is one of the more readily accessible drugs today, and is a common part of life on college and high school campuses nationwide. While physicians prescribe this medication to help people suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) stay focused, an increasing number of students are abusing the drug because they think it helps them obtain higher grades by increasing concentration and helping them stay up longer to study. Addiction Expert Dr. Indra Cidambi wants to alert students to the dangers of Adderall ahead of National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week (January 25– 31), a forum organized by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) to educate teenagers about drugs.

“While many students view Adderall as an ‘academic achievement steroid’, many do not realize the drug is highly addictive.” says Dr. Cidambi. “Additionally, Adderall can be a pathway drug that will lead individuals to misuse and abuse other prescription medications (such as OxyContin or Klonopin).” While the positive effects on academic performance by using Adderall is not clearly proven by studies, the negative consequences have been better documented.

Research shows over 25% of teenagers believe prescription drugs can be used as a study aid and nearly 70% of college seniors will be offered prescription stimulants for non-medical use during college and about 30% will use them at least once, according to statistics from the Center for Lawful Access and Abuse Deterrence. Dr. Cidambi recommends parents use National Drugs & Alcohol Facts Week to start a conversation with their children about prescription drug abuse.

“Kids face acute academic pressures in high school, and in college they do not have parents around them to turn to for support,” says Dr. Cidambi. “While having a conversation is the best way to stay connected to your children, it is still helpful to be aware of signs and symptoms that point to prescription medication abuse.” Some common signs of addiction to prescription drugs such as Adderall include:

1.    Psychotic Behaviors: Adderall and other such stimulants flood the brain with dopamine and for individuals without ADHD, this could cause euphoria, insomnia, anxiety, mood swings and marked increase in energy, and hallucination and paranoia at higher doses. Intense users who are coming off of the drug could experience withdrawal symptoms such as extreme fatigue, extreme depression and increased hunger.

2.    Signs of Psychological Dependence: Adderall abusers attribute academic success to the drug and become anxious if they perceive a threat of having to forgo the drug. The individual may perform sub-optimally when they don’t have Adderall in their body.

3.    Efforts to Seek Higher Doses: The human body is capable of building up a tolerance to Adderall. “When this happens, larger doses are needed to produce the same desired effects,” says Dr. Indra Cidambi. This will lead the individual to obsess about and seek constant appointments with the doctor to obtain the substance.

4.    Disruptions to Daily Routine: Abuse of Adderall leads to loss of appetite and insomnia, “Many different changes in sleep patterns appear in someone who is going through Adderall withdrawal,” says Dr. Cidambi. “There may be long periods of sleep at odd hours of the day, restless sleep and periods of insomnia.”

5.    Signs of Snorting: Snorting Adderall speeds up the time in which it enters the bloodstream and the effects are felt much faster than ingesting the medication orally. There is usually paraphernalia that pertains to snorting such as items to crush the pill with and cut off straws or dollar bills with a powder coating on them.

For more information on addiction treatment, please go to http://www.recoveryCNT.com.

About Dr. Indra Cidambi
Indra Cidambi, M.D., Medical Director, Center for Network Therapy, is recognized as a leading expert and pioneer in the field of Addiction Medicine. Under her leadership the Center for Network Therapy started New Jersey’s first state licensed Ambulatory (Outpatient) Detoxification program for all substances nearly three years ago. Dr. Cidambi is Board Certified in General Psychiatry and double Board Certified in Addiction Medicine (ABAM, ABPN). She is fluent in five languages, including Russian.

About Center for Network Therapy
Center for Network Therapy (CNT) was the first facility in New Jersey to be licensed to provide Ambulatory (Outpatient) Detoxification Services for all substances of abuse – alcohol, anesthetics, benzodiazepines, opiates and other substances of abuse. Led by a Board Certified Addiction Psychiatrist, Indra Cidambi, M.D., experienced physicians and nurses closely monitor each patient’s progress. With CNT’s superior client care and high quality treatment, Dr. Cidambi and her clinical team have successfully detoxed over 600 patients in nearly three years.

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Marisa Amador
Rubenstein PR
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