Muir Wood therapist, David Laing
Muir Wood Adolescent and Family Services is a Joint Commission-accredited mental health and substance use disorder treatment provider located in Petaluma, California. We provide integrated evidence-based care including psychiatry, psychotherapy, experiential therapy, wellness services, and milieu therapy for adolescents and teens, and their family members.

Faking ADHD Symptoms to Get Prescriptions

When most parents consider the dangers of teen drug abuse and alcohol, they imagine their child experimenting with marijuana with friends or sneaking a bottle out of the liquor cabinet at home. Few recognize the drug addiction dangers that can come in the form of a legitimate prescription for a doctor—especially for medications designed to mitigate the symptoms related to a common adolescent disorder like attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Unfortunately, Adderall addiction and dependence on other medications prescribed to treat ADHD are increasing and creating deadly issues for teens and young adults.

Richard’s Story

Richard Fee was an intelligent and successful young man who made a habit out of lying to doctors in order to get prescriptions that would feed his addiction. His drug of choice was Adderall, and he was smart enough to know what symptoms he needed to present to doctors and psychiatrists in order to keep a steady stream of prescriptions flowing. His parents, close friends, and other family members all reported that he showed no signs of ADHD and that he had begun using the drugs during his undergraduate years as a way to help him focus and study. When they became aware that he was lying to medical professionals in order to garner prescriptions, they tried to convince him to stop. However, he was adamant that his doctor wouldn’t prescribe him something that was bad for him and continued to take the medications, suffering increasing disruptions to mood, delusional behavior, psychosis, rage, and an inability to function without the drugs.

Despite these side effects and continual efforts on the part of his parents to intervene on his behalf and get him prescribed non-addictive medications that would help him, Richard continually reported to doctors that he was doing well on the medications and requested ever-higher doses. Just a few years after getting his first prescription for Vyvanse, he took his own life.

Medications Don’t Have to Be a Death Sentence

For millions of Americans, a prescription for a drug like Adderall is absolutely safe and effective. It can provide them with the help they need to better focus and manage disruptive mental health symptoms. In short, these medications have the power to make life better for many people; they are not necessarily a death sentence. However, if these drugs are taken by people who are not experiencing ADHD symptoms, they have a stimulant effect that can be addictive. When this happens, it’s important to take action immediately.

If your son is struggling with dependence upon Adderall, Vyvanse, Concerta, and other drugs commonly prescribed for the treatment of ADHD, contact us at Muir Wood for treatment assistance and information today.