ADD ADHD Drugs Dangerous and Addicting

This video explains the potency and addictive nature of ADD ADHD drugs like Adderall, Vyvanse, and Ritalin.

This video is an excerpt from “The Marketing of Madness” from


Man 1: Psychiatrists, drug companies, and even government agencies are entrusted with the safety of the drugs they put on the marketplace. And while they will reluctantly admit to most side effects of psychotropics, there is one more that they almost never mention.

Woman 1: Every single one of these drugs are addictive–psychologically and/or physically addictive.

Woman 2: They change your body’s makeup. They change your body, how it reacts to things. And so, even though people, their psychological state, they may be over their depression, they physically will need that drug still, and so that becomes the complication of getting them off.

Man 2: I have people come to me on a weekend, they run out of refills, and they say to me, “If I don’t take this drug, I’m going to get sick.” “If I don’t take this drug, I’m going to get sick.” We don’t talk about psychologically. We don’t talk about depression. We don’t talk about anxiety. “I am going to get sick if I don’t take this drug this weekend.” It has nothing to do with psychology.

Man 1: But listen to what some psychiatrists, questions at a recent APA conference, had to say about addiction.

Woman 3: How addictive are psychiatric drugs?

Woman 4: They aren’t. Only benzodiazepines.

Man 3: They’re not addictive at all.

Man 4: Antidepressants are not generally considered addictive.

Man 5: SSRIs are not addictive.

Man 6: Anti-psychotics, they don’t cause addiction.

Man 7: Major tranquilizers are all safe as far as addiction.

Man 8: The drugs that most of us are using in neuropsychiatry are not addictive at all.

Man 1: So who’s right? To find out, we need look no further than former patients with firsthand experience.

Man 9: The psychologists and psychiatrists, I went to both. They never told me that they would be addictive, they would cause me to have these thoughts.

Man 10: For sure, the psychiatric drugs I was on was addicting.

Man 11: Within six months to nine months, I was hooked.

Woman 5: Boy, Xanax, it had a hold of me. I was going through a bottle of pills every three or four days.

Man 12: I lost my job over it, over a prescription drug that’s not supposed to be addictive? Lost my job.

Man 13: The reality is that it is addicting. It will wreck a person’s life.

Man 1: This conflict on addiction all comes down to a definition of words. Most people think of addiction as an uncontrollable psychological or physical need for a certain substance. But not psychiatrists. They define addiction as the craving of a higher and higher dose of the same drug, while the uncontrollable need to keep taking the drug is categorized only as dependence. This is why psychiatrists will not admit that their drugs are addictive.

Man 14: In their definition, a very small percentage of people become addicted. The reality is a large percentage of people can’t get off these drugs. And they call that dependence. It’s all a matter of how they term it.

Man 15: When you look at addiction, it could be that their tolerance increases and their needs and wants to use the medications increase, or it could be simply, once they start on the medication, they’re not able to come off of it without help. They try to, and as soon as they try to come off the medications, they start to have symptoms that are unwanted and, obviously, keep them wanting to take the medications again.

Woman 6: When you explain to them how addictive it is, they are surprised, because they’re like, “Well, it’s a prescription.” So I do believe that a lot of people don’t really know harmful these meds are. They don’t view them as as dangerous as some of the street drugs.

Man 1: But many psychotropics have become street drugs, especially the class of drugs given to children diagnosed as having inattention or hyperactivity. Stimulants such as Ritalin, Adderall, and Concerta are so habit-forming that they are listed by the US Drug Enforcement Administration as Schedule II drugs, highly addictive substances, on the same list as morphine and cocaine.

Man 16: Biochemistry and pharmacology of Ritalin is exactly the same as that of cocaine, except for the speed of onset.

Man 1: The similarity between Ritalin and Cocaine becomes obvious when considering the major problem of stimulant abuse in our schools, where tablets and Ritalin and its chemical cousin, Adderall, are taken recreationally by kids in schoolyards.

Child: Some of my friends took Ritalin and Adderall just to get high, that I’ve known throughout the years. Kids will chop that stuff up with a razor blade. It’s pure, man, pure drug. That’s why kids like it. They’d chop it up with a razor blade and snort it.

Man 17: My cousin Sammy had this Ritalin and we’d eat it, and we’d be able to stay up all night [laughs] and play video games. Pupils would dilate. It was just outrageous.

Man 18: Matter of fact, in eighth grade I got kicked out of school three days before we let out, for selling Ritalin and actually snorting lines in the back of the classroom. So yes, sir, it definitely caused me some problems there, and I definitely had people buying them from me, yes.

Man 1: This is no small problem. In 2006, researchers discovered that more than seven million Americans had misused stimulants, with 75, 000 American teenagers and young adults becoming addicted every year. Beyond just addicting its users, stimulants are also well-known as gateway drugs that lead to further addiction, to such street drugs as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine.

Woman 7: When you provide drugs in a manner which most of our children are being provided drugs, at an early age in life, only prepares that child to be on more drugs as they get older.

Man 1: And yet, in several recent publications, psychiatrists actually encourage children, labeled ADHD, to take stimulants to reduce future dependencies on cocaine and other street drugs. But evidence shows that not only is this theory unfounded, but the reverse is true.

Man 19: When I’ve spoken to people who are methamphetamine addicts, they said that the drug that they started taking, almost consistently, was Ritalin.

Man 20: The longer a child is on Ritalin, the more the likelihood that they may become addicted, whether it’s Ritalin or Concerta or Adderall, OK, or a number of other drugs.

Man 1: Stimulants aren’t the only psychotropic drugs carrying a high potential for addiction. Benzodiazepines, for example, are tranquilizers that can become addictive within 14 days. Take, for example, the benzodiazepine Xanax, which, after only five years on the market, was producing 1.5 million addicts every year. And getting off can be very difficult. Symptoms of Xanax withdrawal include shakiness, loss of appetite, muscle cramps, memory and concentration problems, insomnia, agitation, panic, and anxiety.

Man 21: Some of the psych medicines, particularly the benzodiazepines, are some of the most addictive drugs there are in terms of the persistent withdrawal anxiety that these drugs cause.

Woman 8: I have been in the position of having to withdraw a number of people from benzodiazepines, that I didn’t put on them, obviously. And it’s difficult. It’s really difficult.

Woman 9: Prescription benzodiazepines, I think, are much more dangerous and much harder to come off of for the patients than the street drugs are.

Man 1: But survivors will tell you that benzodiazepines are not the only class of psychotropic drug that is extremely hard to with draw from.

Woman 10: I had about a 10 year time-frame in my life where I abused both street drugs and prescription drugs. The drugs that were the hardest to come off of, in my opinion, were the psychiatric medications. I mean worst to come off than a drug like heroin.

Man 22: Withdrawal symptoms from the psychiatric drugs just made my mind go crazy. I couldn’t think I couldn’t form coherent thoughts whatsoever.

Woman 10: Was racing, I had highs and lows, ups and downs, and hot and cold sweats.

Man 23: I went through seizures. I was sweating with night sweats so bad I was wetting my bed just from sweat.

Woman 11: I had tremors really bad. I joked but I looked like I had the end-stages of Parkinson’s Disease. But, you couldn’t even hold me still when I was going through withdrawals. My legs would shake, I couldn’t sleep.

Woman 12: No one in the world should have to go through what I went through in my opinion and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

Man 1: Even newborns born to women taking psychotropic’s while pregnant can undergo withdrawal. These infants could experience irritability, hyperactivity, abnormal sleep patterns, vomiting, diarrhea, and failure to gain weight.

But, it is the amplification of certain side effects caused by withdrawal from psychotropic’s that can have a disastrous affect on the individual.

Woman 13: Now, the person stops taking the drug and the affects of the withdrawal or the affects of stop taking the drug are increased and amplified symptoms like the depression or suicide ideas or et cetera.

Man 24: They have tremendous mood swings. They invariably get violent and they cannot control their emotions.

Man 25: You’re very depressed, you’re suicidal, you’re hallucinating, you’re psychotic, and you’re crazy, any/or. You’re manic when you stop taking your medication.

Man 1: This is why improper withdrawal from SSRI antidepressants, in particular, has been shown to trigger mood swings and uncontrollable anger which have been implicated in many recent killing sprees.

In May 1998, for example, 15 year-old Kip Kinkel had just stopped taking Prozac when he shot and killed both his parents. Then, went on a shooting rampage at his Oregon High School where he murdered two more and wounded 25.

In November 2007, Peka-Eric Auvinen shot and killed eight at his school north of Helsinki, Finland. Earlier that fall, he had either reduced or stopped using the antidepressant he was prescribed for social anxiety.

Valentines Day 2008, Northern Illinois University, Steven Kazmierczak walked into a crowded lecture hall and opened fire; killing five and wounding 18. A few weeks earlier, he too had abruptly stopped taking his antidepressant.

But, rather than acknowledging that tragedies such as these are the result of withdrawal of highly psychotropic drugs, the customary response of psychiatrists is to blame the lack of the drug for what they claim is the return of the mental illness.

Woman 14: When a psychiatrist says that well, the reason way they’re feeling that way when they get off the drugs is because, “See, that shows you how bad they really need the drug.” Here’s the deal, there’s no way that that’s true.

Man 26: The reality is when they stop the drug they get depressed or they have withdrawal effects of various types. The reason they’re having those affects is because it’s a withdrawal effect from the drug.

Man 27: All you need to do is you need to sit down and listen to anyone who’s been on these medications and wants to come off them. You listen to their story, and you listen to what they’re going through, why they want to come off them and that’s it. The conversation stops, the debate ends.

Robin: My name is Robin and currently I am withdrawing from lorazepam and I am at the 0.4 mg dose. Today I was totally exhausted. I’ve had four nights, two and that two nights of insomnia and then a good nights sleep and then two nights of insomnia.

I was just hoping I can sleep better tonight, didn’t sleep good last night. As you can see, today I don’t care. I did not get ready and my wave went down. I’m down in the valley today.

One of the side affects are withdrawal symptoms for lorazepam can be night sweats or hot flashes, a little light-headed, kind of dizzy, anxiety, sore throat, weepy, very, very tired, grouchy, just overwhelmed, distraught, and distressed.

I began to experience suicidal thoughts. I think I’ve said a little bit to my husband but he was already worried enough. This is really the first time I’m saying something about it. I feel like I could have a nervous break-down.

There’s just times I hit a brick wall and I just can’t do it any more. It’s going to take another, what, maybe 18, 19, or 20 weeks to get off of it. That is very overwhelming to me. I’m weary today and this is how I used to be for many weeks with lorazepam.

That’s the hardest thing; you are trapped into living it out the way you have to live it out in order to be safe. So, that’s frustrating, I just want my life back. That’s where I am today.

Man 1: It took months for Robin to wean herself off just one of her psychiatric drugs and addiction specialists agree that slowly withdrawing is the only safe way.

Woman 15: You just can’t just cut people off from these drugs. Sometimes it can take up to a year or more depending on the person and how long they’ve been on the drug and how we wean them off.

Woman 16: You can’t stop these drugs cold turkey. No, I would never advise anybody to just stop them. They need to be under the care of a medical practitioner.

Man 28: When some of my patients come in and they talk to me about getting off psychiatric medications, I really caution them not to just stop their drugs cold turkey because that can really send them into a tail-spin.

Woman 17: The data is right there. It’s going to cause the symptoms that it causes, it’s going to have withdrawal effects and they know it. There’s not a psychiatrist that doesn’t know it.

Man 1: Yet, psychiatrists tell us that psychotropic drugs are the only way to keep people from insanity and alleviate mental distress. But, is this really the case or are there other choices effective, inexpensive, and drug-free that could accomplish all the empty promises left broken and unfulfilled by psychiatry?

Transcript END.

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