Strattera High: Is It Possible?
Selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are a class of drugs that are prescribed to treat conditions like depression, anxiety disorders, and various forms of mental illness. When taken as prescribed under the supervision of a healthcare professional, they can be safe and effective for alleviating patients’ symptoms. However, some individuals abuse SNRIs, including medications like Strattera, for non-medical purposes. We’re looking into the potential for Strattera high and addiction and the risks of long-term abuse.
What Is Strattera?
Strattera is the brand name for atomoxetine hydrochloride, a drug that’s commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It’s the first non-stimulant medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat this disorder.
Differing from other ADHD medications, Strattera is not a stimulant but rather an SNRI. Strattera works by blocking the reuptake or reabsorption of serotonin and norepinephrine to regulate mood and behavior. As a result, it also improves concentration, users can stay focused for longer periods, and it decreases impulsiveness and hyperactivity.
Atomoxetine is a relatively new drug that came out in 2002, and a generic version came out in 2017. As an FDA-approved medication, Strattera is considered relatively safe and effective when used under the supervision of the prescribing doctor. It’s often taken by individuals who do not want to take stimulant medications for ADHD.
It’s usually available in capsule form, specifically in doses of 10, 18, 25, 40, and 60 mg strengths. It’s intended to be taken orally and usually in two doses: once in the morning and once at night. It can take a few weeks for the drug to take effect when it comes to alleviating ADHD symptoms, and the prescribing doctors may adjust doses depending on the patient’s needs.
Can You Get High on Strattera?
Having low levels of norepinephrine has been linked to ADHD, while higher levels of norepinephrine are attributed to faster reaction time and alertness. Norepinephrine also affects how the body responds to stress, and it’s released into the blood when a person experiences stress, otherwise referred to as the fight or flight response. Because Strattera helps regulate norepinephrine levels, it can greatly benefit individuals who struggle with ADHD.
But can a Strattera high also occur due to the drug’s impact on norepinephrine? Not really. Because it’s not a stimulant, the potential of getting high from Strattera abuse is low.
Furthermore, as is common with other ADHD medications, some people may engage in atomoxetine abuse to improve their concentration and experience more intense side effects. However, this can lead to an imbalance of chemicals in the brain, especially if the individual doesn’t have ADHD. Using ADHD medications without the condition can affect the brain’s natural ability to regulate norepinephrine along with other important neurotransmitters, which can have long-term health repercussions.
Is Strattera Addictive?
Since a Strattera high is unlikely to occur due to misuse and the drug doesn’t produce any feelings of pleasure, Strattera is not considered addictive. However, that’s not to say it doesn’t come with adverse side effects. These include:
- Decreased appetite
- Dry mouth
- Insomnia or changes in sleep patterns
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Upset stomach or stomach pain
In more serious cases, such as if a person were to take higher doses of Strattera than recommended or use it without a prescription, more serious side effects can occur:
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Liver damage
- Suicidal thoughts or behavior
- Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
Because it doesn’t impact dopamine – which is the feel-good drug that most substances of abuse elevate – atomoxetine high and addiction aren’t possible. However, Strattera abuse does come with other risks. Aside from side effects, tolerance, and physical dependence are possible.
Tolerance occurs because of long-term use. It’s evident that a person has become tolerant of Strattera when they require a higher dose of it to experience the same effects. In cases where the medication is regulated by a medical professional, the doctor can choose to adjust doses as the need by the patient.
However, in cases of misuse, the individual may resort to taking higher doses, which can lead to overdose, or they may turn to drugs that are addictive to cope. These may include CNS stimulants like other ADHD medications, cocaine, or meth.
Physical dependence can also develop as a result of long-term atomoxetine abuse. This is marked by the occurrence of withdrawals when use is suddenly stopped or cut back. Some possible Strattera withdrawal symptoms include:
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Fatigue or lethargy
- Flu-like symptoms such as muscle aches, fever, or chills
- Insomnia or changes in sleep patterns
- Irritability or mood changes
- Nausea or vomiting
Anyone planning on quitting Strattera or reducing their dose should do so under the prescribing doctor’s care. Individuals who have been misusing this medication and become dependent can also seek medically assisted detox at a professional facility, such as our Clearbrook rehab in Massachusetts, to safely recover from withdrawals and quit drug use.
Get Help for Prescription Drug Abuse
While a Strattera high and addiction may not be possible, there are other risks involved with medication abuse. Not only can health problems like cardiovascular issues and withdrawals occur, but the likelihood of turning to more dangerous substances for stronger effects is also elevated.
If you or someone you care about is addicted to their medication, our prescription drug addiction treatment can help. Our Northeast addictions treatment center offers a wide range of substance-specific rehab programs to support people with drug and alcohol use disorders in recovery.
For more information about our Massachusetts substance abuse treatment and how we can help you get sober, call Clearbrook Treatment Centers today at 570-536-9621 or send us your contact information, and we’ll reach out to you.