Strattera is a drug that doctors might prescribe for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Classified as a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, this medication increases certain chemicals in the brain to help people to focus.

Some people might take more of this drug than prescribed or take it without a prescription in an attempt to experience these effects. When someone misuses this drug, there is the potential for negative consequences.

If someone abuses the drug regularly, psychological dependence is possible. Strattera withdrawal is usually complete within a week or so.

Strattera Abuse

People use Strattera to improve their focus and productivity. When someone starts to take this medicine, it can take one to four weeks before the positive results are noticed, according to an article published in Attitude Mag by Larry Silver, MD.

Since this is not a stimulant like other medications used to treat ADHD, the risk of abuse is lower than it is with drugs like Adderall and Ritalin. Preclinical, early clinical, and neurochemical studies support and predict a lack of abuse potential with this drug, according to research published in Psychopharmacology. These findings are consistent with the past 10 years of spontaneous event data and clinical trial data.

This does not mean that no one has ever abused Strattera. It just means that the likelihood is low.

There is the potential to take more of this drug than a doctor prescribes or to take it without a prescription. Both of these actions involve misuse and can lead to abuse.

What are Possible Side Effects?

If someone takes more of this medicine than they are prescribed, there is a heightened risk of experiencing side effects. Possible side effects include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Reduced appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Anorexia
  • Drowsiness
  • Rash

The above-listed side effects are considered relatively common. Unless they are severe, they typically do not require medical intervention.

The following side effects are more serious and should be promptly evaluated by a doctor:

  • Signs of psychosis, including new behavioral problems, hostility, hallucinations, aggression, and paranoia
  • Liver problems that may cause itching, dark urine, upper right-side stomach pain, jaundice, or flu-like symptoms
  • An erection that continues after four hours or pain during an erection
  • Signs of heart issues, such as trouble breathing, chest pain, and feeling as if you may pass out
  • Difficult or painful urination

Seeking emergency medical attention for these symptoms is important. They could be the result of a very serious medical issue. 

While it is not common, there is a warning about this medicine potentially increasing the risk of a person experiencing suicidal thinking, according to Vincent Iannelli, MD. In most cases, this has been seen in children or adolescents using this medicine. It is not known if abusing Strattera may increase the risk of someone experiencing this effect. If it does occur, the person should seek immediate medical treatment.

Strattera Withdrawal

This drug has not been associated with any discontinuation symptoms or withdrawal syndrome. No research has shown symptom rebound once use is stopped. 

Research has explored whether it is more beneficial to stop this drug abruptly or to have people taper off it. Stopping the drug abruptly is well tolerated, and no acute discontinuation syndrome occurred, according to research published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology.

Even though withdrawal effects do not occur, if a doctor prescribes this medication to someone, it is recommended that they not stop use abruptly. They should first talk to their doctor before discontinuing Strattera.

Woman with a headache

Since Strattera does not cause withdrawal symptoms, there usually is no need for a person to undergo a medical detox process. However, if someone is abusing the drug and believes they have developed a psychological dependence on it, professional help can be beneficial during withdrawal.

Any person who has experienced an accidental overdose with this drug should consider seeking help from an addiction specialist. When taking Strattera alone, there have been no documented fatalities associated with overdose, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. However, unpleasant effects are possible. These include:

  • Agitation
  • Abnormal behavior
  • Sleepiness
  • Hyperactivity
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Tachycardia
  • Pupil dilation
  • Dry mouth
  • Mental changes, such as hallucinations and disorientation

Any person who suspects they are experiencing an overdose should seek immediate medical treatment. Once the overdose is resolved, they can start looking into treatment programs.

How to Find a Good Detox Center

Detox facilities vary greatly in terms of quality, what they offer, and how they can accommodate clients.

  • Polysubstance abuse: Those who abuse Strattera and other drugs should make sure the chosen detox facility can work with polydrug abusers. This could present challenges during the detox and treatment process if a facility is unclear on how to deal with this situation.
  • Co-occurring disorders: Those who have a mental health disorder in addition to a substance use disorder should ensure that the facility can work with them. In cases of co-occurring disorders, all conditions must be treated simultaneously. If only one disorder is addressed, relapse is highly likely. 
  • Staff experience: Visit the facilities and do an in-person evaluation if possible. Ask staff members questions about experience and the services provided. 
  • Track record: Consider a facility that has some experience and longevity in providing detox and substance abuse treatment services. When exploring the different options, concentrate on the facilities that have been open for at least five years, according to information published in U.S. News. This shows that the facility is likely doing something right since. Facilities with issues are generally shut down for unlawful or unethical business practices.
  • Licensing: When evaluating facilities, make sure they have all the necessary licensing and certifications for their state. 
  • Luxury options: Do not automatically assume that a luxury facility is one that is high in quality. There have been plenty of facilities that promised a luxury atmosphere that were shut down for unsavory practices. Instead, look at the facility as a whole. In addition to various amenities, they should offer evidence-based treatment and have medical professionals on staff.
  • Cost: Get a total cost analysis during the consultation phase. Ask if they take medical insurance. Not all facilities work with insurance, or if they do, they might not accept all types of insurance. Confirm they accept the coverage in question before enrolling.

If insurance does not cover the entire cost of detox, some facilities will work with clients to set up a payment plan. The person would then gradually pay off the amount of treatment on a monthly basis once they have exited the program. 

If someone believes they are abusing this drug, it is important that they immediately seek out help. A good detox center will help people to get off Strattera as comfortably as possible.

They will also help people to develop a long-term treatment plan that can aid people in working toward recovery so that they no longer need to take this drug. Many detox centers are part of a comprehensive treatment program, allowing clients to seamlessly transition from detox to ongoing care.

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