How much dexedrine is too much?

(Upfront disclaimer: This question really is for a friend. As many of you know, I’m an addict/alcoholic who has been in recovery for more than 20 years, and I’m still clean and sober today.)

I was chatting with a friend on IM this morning, and he reported that he’d only had two hours of sleep last night – got home late, became absorbed in a project for several hours, then got on the phone with a friend on the West coast. He was at work and functioning because he’d taken some dexedrine. This isn’t the first time he’s mentioned dex as an aside, but this time my recovering addict’s spidey sense could not be gainsaid, and I asked some questions.

He takes it mostly as an antidepressant; he started using it in conjunction with Prozac but has dropped the Prozac.

Yes, he is going to talk to his doctor – has already had one conversation, in fact, but the doctor wasn’t concerned. He’d like some objective information on the nature of psychological dependence so he can communicate clearly with his doctor when he next sees him.

Speed was never my drug of choice, and my using days are way in the past, so I can’t do much more than share my 12-step based concern with him – can anyone point him in a helpful direction here?

Bueller? Anyone?

Hmmm… I was a user of street amphetamines of varying levels of quality from about 1987 until last November. Since then, I have had one ‘dig’, just to see what I was missing…which wasn’t much. If you have any specif questions, I’ll happily answer them as best I can.

I’ve read the OP a few times and I’m not sure what the question is, though I’d like to help. It seems to me you and your friend are wondering if he could be addiced to 5-10mg of dexadrine a day. I know next to nothing about addiction, but I would think it would very hugely from one person to the next.
As for the dexadrine, it should be noted that dexadrine is a time release (he’s got the spansuales right, a capsule with the little orange and white beads inside it) which means the 5mg is going into his body over several hours. I wouldn’t think anyone would get hooked on such a little dose, but everyone is different. Me, for example, I was crushing up and snorting more then that in one sitting (plus alot of other stuff) and never had any addiction issues, but for someone else, sure why not.

Is he just worried about the happy optamistic feeling? I wouldn’t be concerned with that, IIRC amphetamines trigger the release of dopamine which could be causing that feeling. Also, if he has ADD, I can tell you first hand, the ability to suddenly concentrate and what you need to do is kind of a nice feeling. Especially once you learn to control it. Frankly I wouldn’t be worried about such a low dose, but the first person to talk to would be his doctor.

My apologies for abandoning this thread – got busy yesterday and forgot about it, since the question really is for a friend and not myself.

To clarify: As a recovering addict, any time I see someone taking any drug that has any mind- or mood-altering effect on a very regular basis, it concerns me. I am pretty hardline on this – I won’t take cold medicine, for instance – but have come to terms with the use of antidepressants, e.g., as something that corrects brain chemistry that isn’t working properly.

I am less familiar with speed, and am completely unfamiliar with ADD and its treatment. (And, JoeyP, he does have ADD, which is a fact I probably should have included in the OP.)

So here’s my friend, taking low doses of speed several times a week, okay with manicking out [my interepretation] all night because he can get up and pop a pill the next morning and go to work. I express my concern, and he says that he’s discussed it with his doctor and that the doctor says its fine because they’re such low levels. Fine, sez I – what about the psychological element? And because neither of us knows much about whether there’s a possibility of psychological dependence in this scenario, I turned to you guys.

Hope that’s clearer.

If your friend was taking ‘street speed’ before he began being prescribed dexedrine by his doctor, at least he is in a safer position now than he was then. There is a concern about psychological dependency, the longer his usage continues, but at least he doesn’t have the added problem of physiological dependency to cope with, which heroin users have to deal with. Like I’ve said, I’m an ex-user, and not an expert, so all I can offer is my opinion oe experience, for what it’s worth!

I think the psychological addiction element is definitely there because you say he really sees himself as happier, more optimstic, etc. I’ve never heard of dex being prescribed for use in conjunction with an antidepressant (for that purpose). Anecdotal experience – I had a friend that eventually got caught up in the “downer at bedtime, upper in the morning” cycle. That shit can sneak up on you without warning. I think your concerns are valid.

But even at a low dose, that little boost of energy will make you feel better, and then there’s the dopamine release as well. Like I said before, EVERYONE is different but I wouldn’t be concerned about getting addicted to 5mg of dexadrine a day. When he starts taking 5 or 6 pills a day, or crushing and snorting them, you might have more reason for concern. OTOH, if he’s been hooked on street speed before, things might be different. Again like I said before, I really don’t know anything about addiction, I’m only comparing this to my own expierences with pharma speed and coke, I did plenty of it, but never considered myself addicted at all.

The big alarm bell in this situation is that he’s using it to pick himself up after only getting a couple of hours of sleep. That’s abuse of the purpose of the stuff. If he’s getting in the habit of not sleeping, and then using dexedrine to keep himself from falling asleep in the morning, he’s starting to develop a dependency.

The absolute amounts are small - 2 X 5mg isn’t much. Some kids with ADD get as much as 45mg per day. So it’s not the absolute quantity, it’s how and why he’s taking it that might be the problem. If he starts going down that road, he may start increasing his own dosage, or managing his prescription by skipping weekends so he can take 30mg on a ‘tough day’, and that sort of thing, which could lead to serious problems.

In any event, if he’s got a prescription for Dexedrine, he should be under a doctor’s supervision and at least annually getting a full checkup that includes blood tests for liver function and such. Long term use of any stimulant medication should be fairly closely monitored, and his doctor should be looking for signs of abuse such as weight loss, tics, irregular heartbeat, etc.

Thanks, Sam – that’s kind of what I was thinking.

And thanks to the others who have posted as well! All info is appreciated.

I sent the link to my friend, who responded as follows: