SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Work, household chores, taking care of the kids; this is a day in the life of the modern mom. With so much to do, it's easy for mothers to become overwhelmed. Enter Adderall, the attention deficit disorder drug. It's an amphetamine similar to speed. When used by someone with the disorder, it slows the person down, and helps them focus. But, if the person does not have A.D.D., it has the opposite effect, giving them excess energy.
A recent study shows between 2002 and 2008, the use of this drug surged by 750% in women aged 26 to 39. When it’s not used properly, it can lead to big problems.
Megan Wood is a mother of 5, and she knows first hand the dangers of Adderall.
"I lost my kids, I lost my family, I lost everything,” she said.
Her problems started after her doctor prescribed her Adderall to help her focus.
"It's this miracle drug. You can read a book again. You can focus on your chores, you can do the dishes,” Wood said.
She felt like she was on top of the world, finishing her everything on her daily list, she was even losing weight. Then, she started noticing the pills weren't having the same effect, so she upped her dosage. It was a slippery slope.
"You’re not taking it as prescribed anymore and you can never get that peak anymore, so then you start to look for it elsewhere," Wood said.
She ended up on meth, then in jail. It's a life she never expected when she began taking this prescribed drug.
Sabine Weil is the clinical director at Turning Point Centers in Sandy. She sees several women just like Wood come into her center.
"In the literature they say it can be habit forming, but it can actually be really addictive," she said.
Weil said women get a false sense of security because Adderall is a prescription drug. Its misuse, now being referred to as “Mommy's Little Helper” has even been the subject of popular shows like Desperate Housewives. Like Wood, mothers begin using the drug to help them get things done, saying they'll keep it under control, they won't get addicted. Wood wants those moms to know they’re just fooling themselves.
"That’s exactly what you're going to tell yourself but that's exactly where you're going to end up," Weil said.
Wood hopes moms who may be in the early stages of misusing this pill will read this story and stop now, before it's too late.
"It’s not going to take them anywhere good, I can promise that," she said.
Wood knows getting back to where she was will be a lifelong battle. She now has 50% custody of her children, and works at Nexstep Medical Detox helping other addicts kick their habit. Criminal and family troubles like hers aren't the only problem with the abuse of this drug. If misused, it can also cause seizures, paranoia, aggressive behavior, tics, even cardiac arrest.
If you think you might have a problem with addiction, contact one of these centers:
Nexstep Medical Detox
24 hour crisis line: 1(877)98-DETOXwww.nexstepdetox.com
Turning Point Centers
24 hour line: 1(888)576-HEALwww.turningpointcenters.com