Most medications used to treat ADHD are stimulants. The most commonly used include Adderall, Ritalin, Vyvanse and Concerta.
The most commonly prescribed drugs are all either one or a combination of a few amphetamine compounds, namely dextroamphetamine, methylphenidate, lisdexamfetamine, amphetamine sulfate, or Dexmethylphenidate. These compounds all work similarly with minor differences in how they are metabolized and handled by the individual.
The addition of an amphetamine for a person already struggling with hyperactivity may seem perplexing; it seems to simply have been what worked and no clear reason for why has yet been discovered.
For adolescents and children, however, supplying a person with a steady stream of addictive amphetamines from an early age may seem like a disaster waiting to happen, and it is for many people.
The addictive nature of these drugs is not overcome by using the medication as prescribed. Using an addictive substance for an extended time is likely to end in addiction. Though not everyone becomes addicted, many do struggle with their ADHD medication and eventually have to choose between sobriety and death.
Another common problem is that underage teenagers are prone to experiment with substances. However, mixing ADHD medication and anything not prescribed by a knowledgeable doctor can easily result in a person ending up in the emergency room or dead.
According to SAMHSA’s DAWN report, in 2010, nearly half (45%) of all emergency room visits involving ADHD stimulant medication also involved another substance.