Addiction doesn’t discriminate. Although some people are more susceptible to developing a drug or alcohol problem due to family history and other emotional/psychological factors, under the “right” circumstances, anyone is capable of going to far with a substance. ABC News only further solidified the perception that “it can’t happen to me” when they ran a feature this week regarding a growing demographic struggling with drugs: Mothers.
The special discussed the rising number of moms who have begun taking Adderall to deal with the challenges and demands of motherhood. According to the study cited by ABC, between 2002 and 2010, there was an alarming 750 percent increase in Adderall prescriptions for women ages 26-39. And this number probably doesn’t reflect the true number of women using the drug – some women in the special admitted to stealing pills prescribed to their children for ADHD treatment.
To understand why these women are getting addicted so easily, it’s important to understand how Adderall works. It’s a central nervous system stimulant that affects the chemicals in the brain and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control, thus enabling a person to stay focused (for short periods of time) and hyper-alert. When you consider the stress and demands of parenthood and maintaining a household – in many cases, while working a job – it’s easy to see how someone would look for an extra “boost” to keep them on track. One woman who was interviewed stated that she felt like “supermom” because she was able to take care of her four kids all day and then stay up until 3 a.m. doing household chores.
Because many addicts are abusing Adderall through their children’s prescriptions, their drug use doesn’t at first appear suspicious. Many are able to call their families’ doctors with a variety of excuses: the pills ran out or they weren’t having the same effects on their kids and needed to increase the dosage. And every woman interviewed for the program stated that her addictions came hard and fast.
While many drugs bring people’s lives into a spiral of chaos, Adderall allowed these women to accomplish so many tasks that they felt they were able to be “perfect” mothers and wives. It’s important to remember that perfect is unattainable to begin with – and it’s even more so when an addiction becomes an obsession that takes your attention away from quality time with your family.
If you suspect that a loved one is abusing Adderall, look for these warning signs:
- Excessive energy or drowsiness
- Inability to concentrate
- Lowered inhibitions
- Increased secrecy
- Constricted or dilated pupils
- Sensory alteration
- Slowed breathing
- Flushed face and neck
- Lowered blood pressure