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What does a Dextroamphetamine Overdose Look Like?

Dextroamphetamine overdose symptoms range from mild inconveniences to life-threatening problems. This medication is regularly prescribed to improve wakefulness and focus. It is commonly used as part of the treatment process for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy. Off-label experimental uses include treatment for fatigue in cancer patients and antidepressant treatment for HIV patients with both depression and fatigue. The psychostimulant effects of the drug have led to a Schedule II classification in the United States under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule II drugs have been shown to:

  • Possess a high likelihood of abuse
  • Have a currently accepted medical use in the United States
  • Cause severe physical dependency
  • Cause severe psychological dependency

dextroamphetamineDextroamphetamine is only available in the United States with a prescription from a licensed medical professional. The widespread prevalence of ADHD means that the drug is fairly easily obtained by many who suffer the effects of psychological or chemical dependency. If you suspect a loved one is currently showing signs of an overdose on dextroamphetamine, call 911 or your local poison control center.

Typical Symptoms of Abuse

The stimulant high experienced by those who abuse the drug often leads to overuse and the formation or exhibition of dextroamphetamine overdose symptoms. The most common symptoms of overdose include:

  • Restlessness
  • Tremors
  • Confusion
  • Panic

Less common but more severe effects include:

  • Hyperreflexia
  • Tachypnea
  • Hallucinations
  • Aggressiveness

Regular side effects may also be confused with or exacerbated by overdose symptoms. The most common side effects for this medication include acne, anorexia, arrhythmias, blurred vision, constipation, diarrhea, dilated pupils, dizziness, headache, hypertension, hyperthermia, hypotension, insomnia, numbness and palpitations. Exhibition of any of these symptoms is an indication that a poison control center or ER may need to become involved to save the life of the affected user. The precise lethal dose of this medication is not known, but severe psychological dextroamphetamine overdose symptoms can occur at dosages far below the lethal limit. A rare but potentially deadly form of psychosis, known as amphetamine or stimulant psychosis, may develop during overdose.

What is Amphetamine Psychosis?

Amphetamine psychosis occurs when significant amounts of the medication begin to affect the sufferer’s nervous system. Those under the influence of this psychosis begin to experience vivid hallucinations, delusions or thought disorder, and they may even become catatonic. These may combine with psychological dextroamphetamine overdose symptoms and result in a person who cannot clearly think or who sees imaginary threats and acts out of a false sense of aggression or paranoia. This can lead to great physical risk to sufferers and those around them. Recovery from this psychosis tends to be slow and occurs only after all amphetamine substances have been removed from a sufferer’s system.

Facts About Dextroamphetamine Addiction

Dextroamphetamine overdose symptoms are often a sign of an underlying drug abuse and addiction problem. There are over 13,000 addiction treatment centers in the United States, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Not all of these locations treat stimulant abuse sufferers, but the high prevalence of abuse of amphetamine-based stimulants means that many major cities and larger counties or townships have stimulant treatment centers.

According to the NIDA, 6.5 percent of all persons treated by publicly funded centers were suffering from the effects of stimulant abuse or addiction. These centers typically offer carefully monitored detoxification processes, rehabilitation options, and individual or group therapy sessions. Due to the high likelihood of relapse associated with Schedule II drugs, long-term treatment and follow-up appointments may be recommended by many treatment facilities. Many major insurance policies available through private organizations or state governments may help offset the costs associated with admission to a treatment facility.


  • Dextroamphetamine was not carefully regulated in the United States until the creation of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Until that time, it was used regularly to treat depression and obesity along with attention disorders and narcolepsy. Some medical professionals continue the practice of prescribing this medication to treat exogenous obesity and treatment-resistant depression.
  • The symptoms of amphetamine psychosis closely mirror those of schizophrenia in the most acute stages. This can mask a co-occurring disorder or cause misdiagnosis when all information on drug use is not provided to healthcare professionals. Sufferers of amphetamine psychosis typically have a higher number of visual hallucinations than those suffering from schizophrenia.
  • The United States Air Force uses this medication for pilots on long missions to promote wakefulness and increase focus. Dextroamphetamine use has been carefully tracked in soldiers since the Vietnam War to help prevent dextroamphetamine overdose symptoms or the formation of physical and psychological dependencies.

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