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How is Ritalin/Adderall Abuse Diagnosed?
The key to clinically diagnosing a dependency on Ritalin or Adderall lies in distinguishing casual misuse of the drug from truly abusive behavior or addiction. If the use of the drug has a significant negative impact on the user’s life, a diagnosis may be possible.
The manual used by mental health professionals, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), lays out diagnostic criteria for a condition called stimulant use disorder. The disorder may be diagnosed if the patient exhibits at least two of the following symptoms over a 12-month period:
- Stimulant use is greater than the user intends, either in dosage or frequency.
- The user has a desire to quit or has unsuccessfully tried to quit using the drug.
- The user spends significant time acquiring, using, or recovering from the effects of the drug.
- The user has a strong craving for the drug.
- Drug use is interfering with the user’s obligations or responsibilities.
- Drug use continues despite the harm it does to the user, physically or otherwise.
- Drug use interferes with the user’s normal activities and routines.
- The drug is used in dangerous situations.
- Tolerance for the drug develops, creating the need for higher doses or more frequent use to achieve the same effect.
- Abstinence from the drug causes withdrawal symptoms.
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