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How addicting are stimulant drugs for people with ADHD?

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Parents sometimes worry whether the stimulant drugs their children are taking to treat ADHD (such as Ritalin and Adderall) are themselves addictive. Stimulant medications work by raising levels of a chemical messenger called dopamine in the brain, which helps improve focus and attention -- skills that people with ADHD often find difficult to master.

From: ADHD and Substance Abuse WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES: Molina, B. Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, April 2007. Marshal, M. Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, 2007. Goldman, L. Journal of the American Medical Association, April 8, 1998. Biederman, J. American Journal of Psychiatry, published online, March 2008. Biederman, J. Pediatrics, August 1999. Volkow, N. Arch Gen Psychiatry, June 1995. Volkow, N. American Journal of Psychiatry, November 2003. Johann, M. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, October 2003. Greydanus, D. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder across the lifespan: the child, adolescent, and adult. Disease-a-Month, February 2007. Levin, F. Alcohol & Drug Abuse: practical guidelines for the treatment of substance abusers with adult attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Psychiatric Services, August 1999. Mannuzza, S. American Journal of Psychiatry, April 1, 2008, published online. 










Smith, B. National Institutes of Health, 2002.

Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari on May 20, 2018

SOURCES: Molina, B. Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, April 2007. Marshal, M. Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, 2007. Goldman, L. Journal of the American Medical Association, April 8, 1998. Biederman, J. American Journal of Psychiatry, published online, March 2008. Biederman, J. Pediatrics, August 1999. Volkow, N. Arch Gen Psychiatry, June 1995. Volkow, N. American Journal of Psychiatry, November 2003. Johann, M. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, October 2003. Greydanus, D. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder across the lifespan: the child, adolescent, and adult. Disease-a-Month, February 2007. Levin, F. Alcohol & Drug Abuse: practical guidelines for the treatment of substance abusers with adult attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Psychiatric Services, August 1999. Mannuzza, S. American Journal of Psychiatry, April 1, 2008, published online. 










Smith, B. National Institutes of Health, 2002.

Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari on May 20, 2018

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