Adderall prescribed for 14 year old. How to avoid addiction?

Posted by lori92 @lori92, Jan 17, 2022

Hi. My 14 year old son was prescribed Adderall for ADHD- non hyperactive type. He started with 10 mg and was told to double it in a week. After the first day on 10 mg he said he felt amazing. I think we should forget about doubling the dose to 20mg and leave well enough alone since it is a highly addictive drug. His dad thinks we should follow the practitioner's instructions and double it. I am scared of an addiction happening. Any thoughts/info or experience?

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Hi @lori92 and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect.
You might be interested in reading this article from Child Mind Institute.

My question would be is "feeling amazing" just related to the medications properties or is it actually helping his attention span and concentration at this mg?


If the drug is working I would go against doctor to increase… I was on adderall for over 10 years and in trying to conceive over the last year I have been trying very hard to wean off of my prescription. Even with help of my doctor and a therapist I still struggled greatly. It wasn’t until getting pregnant in December that I fully 100% was off. I started at 10mg my doctor increased by 10mg year after year and I was up to 20mg 3 times a day. that’s 60mg total and i’m a 105lb female. It was VERY DIFFICULT to come off and I wish i never started taking it. So if it is working to get your child threw the school day, homework and social interaction I would say do not increase. I am no doctor, but I would like to think I am pretty intelligent (I did get my Masters degree) and would like to think I hold strong sense of “common sense”. Figured I would share my personal experience & you can take what you would like from it! Hopefully it helps some! Also I would note- doctors today do not always have the patient best interest first and you are truly the only one that knows your body best. We have to be advocates for ourselves a lot of times and raise concern where we feel it’s needed. Doctors do not always like to be “questioned” but don’t be afraid to speak your instinct! If they do not listen or you do not feel ‘heard’, move on! This is your child after all!


I've sober myself a little while over twenty years, and took a different form of these medication years ago. In terms of addiction what you need to watch out for is tolerance. Basically if your son's provider has to keep raising the dose in order to achieve the same level results. It is through this process patients can become addicted. There's a lot of information on specific drugs and how to spot a developing tolerance.

That being said there are many alternatives to medication for ADHD today that don't get enough attention. Diet and exercise can make difference, one that doesn't get enough attention is music education. (Yes.) The benefits of music education, help students with ADHD in two ways, music as been shown to have a similar effect on the brain as meditation does. Among the cognitive improvements music can help build are attention and memory. It also provides students with an example of how to learn (cramming simple will not work in music and we have to be satisfied with daily progress) that if you translate it to another subject, it never fails. (At least I'm yet to find one.) And the real benefit is at 14 there is no reason why he can't study music for the rest of his life, but it is questionable how long people can take medication like adderell.


@lori92, in addition to the guidance offered by other members and their experiences with Adderall (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine), I think you and your husband would benefit from an open discussion with your son's doctor. Be open and share your concerns with dependency, addiction, and the goal of treament. I would ask questions like:
- Do we need to increase the dosage if my son is doing well on 10 mg?
- What is the advantage of increasing the dosage?
- What is the goal of treatment?
- How long will he need medication? When will you/we know when it's time to taper off the medication?
- What assessments or evaluations do you do with my son and how often to determine if treatment is working or needs to be continued?
- How does he safely taper off the medication when it is the right time to do so?

Lori, I realize that I'm writing this after you've likely had to make a decision. How is your son doing? What did you decide to do?


I have two adult children who started taking Adderall as young adults for ADD.
Also, having worked with children with. ADHD/ADD I have never heard the advice to double it after a week. Each person is different in how they metabolize drugs like Adderall.
Side effects include decreased appetite and sleep disturbance.
My children go off the medication on and off for a couple of days if they don’t have to be focused.
It’s great that your son feels amazing- it’s working!
I hope you follow Colleen’s advice to have conversation with the prescriber.


Prescribing Adderall to a 14-year-old can indeed raise concerns about the potential for addiction. However, there are steps you can take to minimize this risk. First and foremost, it's crucial to closely follow the doctor's instructions regarding dosage and frequency of use. Never exceed the prescribed dose or use Adderall more frequently than recommended.

Additionally, monitor your child's usage closely and be vigilant for any signs of misuse or dependence, such as taking higher doses without permission or experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not using the medication. Encourage open communication with your child about the purpose of the medication and the importance of using it responsibly.

Teach them about the risks of addiction and the potential consequences of misusing Adderall. Encourage healthy habits and coping mechanisms, such as regular exercise, stress management techniques, and seeking support from friends and family. Finally, if you have concerns about your child's use of Adderall or notice any signs of addiction,

Do not hesitate to get advice from a doctor about it or an addiction specialist. With proper monitoring and support, it's possible to minimize the risk of addiction while still benefiting from the therapeutic effects of Adderall...


It’s a common misconception that addiction happens as a result of using a substance. Adderal, when used as a street drug, can be a desirable commodity for people with addiction issues. If your son isn’t an addict with drug-seeking behaviours, he is unlikely to become addicted to his prescribed medication.

When starting a new medication you should always discuss potential side effects with the doctor and the patient, if it isn’t you. If he starts losing weight, having stomach pain or nausea, or hallucinating, talk to the doctor or go to emergency if it’s severe.

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