The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released an alarming statistic this year. Between 2003 and 2015, the number of women who filled a prescription for ADHD medication increased by 700 percent. The majority of these women are between the ages of 24 and 30, but the increase of ADHD prescription medications also increased in another group of women. These are women ranging in age from 15 to 44 who currently have private health insurance. Experts worry that there will be an increase in ADHD prescription addiction among these young women, and ultimately an increased need for addiction treatment for women.
Women aged 30 to 34 increased their use of these medications by 560 percent. This makes them the second largest group of women who filled ADHD medication prescriptions from 2003 to 2015.
The medical community is concerned about the increase in ADHD prescriptions because the women who were studied are in their childbearing years. Notably, this age group has an unplanned pregnancy rate of 50 percent, and it is possible that they could be taking these drugs while they are pregnant.
The medical community has stressed the need to study these drugs and pregnant women further because the current studies have only been done on lab animals, but they do know that there are risks to humans. Specifically, the CDC states that it needs to determine how ADHD medications affect pregnant women, and it will work to do so in the near future.
The Director of the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities Dr. Coleen Boyle stated the beginning of the pregnancy is a crucial time for the baby. Therefore, we must find safer ways to treat ADHD before the pregnancy begins and throughout.
The report listed Adderall, lisdexamphetamine, and methylphenidate as the ADHD drugs that were prescribed the most for women in 2015. Dr. Boyle suggested that everyone who is pregnant or planning to become pregnant in the near future must discuss all of the medications that they are taking with their physicians.
The Effects of ADHD Medications
We do not know enough about ADHD medications and pregnancy, but we do know a little about the subject. For example, women who are addicted to ADHD medications often deliver premature babies or low birth weight babies. While these babies are in utero, the placenta often becomes detached from the uterus. These babies also suffer from heart and brain issues.
Women who are addicted to ADHD medications begin to suffer from adverse effects in the beginning. For example, they have trouble falling asleep, and they become much more physically active. They also tend to lose their appetites and begin to lose weight. They also experience several physical symptoms, such as an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, and breathing. There may also be an irregular heartbeat.
As they continue to use ADHD drugs, they begin to experience even more severe symptoms. Some of these symptoms include the following:
- Weight loss
- Dental Issues, otherwise known as “meth mouth”
- Violent behavior
- Mood disturbances
Women suffering from an ADHD prescription addiction need addiction treatment for women for the health of their babies as well as their own. The effects that ADHD medications have on unborn babies were listed above, but there are also deleterious effects that the women suffer when they use these medications. For example, an ADHD medication addiction can mask the effects that women experience from drinking alcohol. This puts them at risk of suffering an overdose.
Addiction treatment for women will be instrumental in helping those who are suffering from withdrawal symptoms. For example, women have complained of anxiety, feeling tired and depression when they stopped taking the ADHD medication. An ADHD prescription addiction requires that a woman who is addicted to substances undergo the detoxification process in rehab so that she can come off of the drugs safely.
Treatment for ADHD Addiction
As was mentioned above, the detoxification process is necessary before anything else can happen, and it will occur in the first two weeks. During this time, the rehabilitation center’s staff will work to make this process as comfortable for the patient as possible. After this phase is over, the patient’s body will no longer be dependent on the ADHD medication, and it will be possible for her to move on to therapy that will help her refrain from ingesting ADHD medications in the future.
It can be dangerous for a woman to try to detox on her own, but she will be under the supervision of trained medical professionals at all times in rehab. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to ADHD drugs, contact Ocean Hills Recovery today.
About the author:
Greg opened his home and heart to alcoholics and addicts in 2003. He is a Certified Addictions Treatment Counselor (CATCI). Starting in 2009 Greg has fostered the growth of Ocean Hills Recovery into one of the most respected and effective treatment centers in the area and has been working with people with addictions since March of 2001. Greg believes in a holistic approach to recovery. His focus is on drug alcohol addiction treatment with a combination of 12 Step work, therapy and counseling, and the rejuvenation of the body through healthful eating and exercise. He has designed his program to foster a family-like atmosphere and believes that people in recovery are just beginning their lives. He encourages the people he works with to learn to enjoy life in sobriety. Greg is married to Nicole; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.