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The Doctors and senior investigative reporter Leslie Marcus examine the growing Adderall abuse problem in America. The focus-boosting drug is commonly used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but some are abusing the medication, especially people in Hollywood.
Actress and model Jennifer Gimenez tells us she began taking the drug at 15 and blames Adderall for her fall from grace. She says she "doctor shopped" in order to get the medication, which she used to stay slim, something she felt pressured to do becasue of her career. Over the next five years, Jennifer continued to take Adderall and says she "needed it to function and keep that model weight." While filming the 2001 movie "Blow" with Johnny Depp, Jennifer reveals for a portion of the film she was high and abusing Adderall. "I was so broken, and I wish I would have given myself the opportunity to be present for that experience," she says, looking back. "I was struggling, I was literally dying inside."
Jennifer went to rehab for treatment, where she tried to commit suicide. Fortunately, with the help of further treatment, therapy, and her sponsor, she was able to get sober and turn her life around. Now, her mission is helping others realize the possible dangers of Adderall by sharing her story.
Psychiatrist Dr. Domenick Sportelli explains that stimulant drugs like Adderall change one's baseline and if the drug is abused or taken by someone who does not have a deficiency (like ADHD), it resets the body's baseline to an unsafe level. "That's not what they are intended for and it's incredibly unsafe," he explains, noting the drug can create a perpetual cycle of abuse and dependency.
Additionally, The Doctors note one study found that college students who took stimulants who did not have ADHD, might have felt more awake and alert, but it negatively affected their memory, recall and creativity over time. "If you truly do not have ADHD, you do not want to take these medicines... I do not want kids to think this is quick fix to get better grades becasue it's probably not going to work" Dr. Sportelli warns.
Dr. Sportelli worries that many in the medical field are not properly trained when it comes to diagnosing ADHD. He notes there are many medical issues that can present similar symptoms to ADHD, like neurological problems, seizures, brain injuries, hormone issues. He also explains mental health issues like anxiety, mood issues, and stress can also have similar symptoms to ADHD.