In a brand new interview with Paper magazine, Amanda Bynes reveals that she regularly abused Adderall for years. Bynes first read that people were taking a "new skinny pill" called Adderall to stay thin, she told Paper. "I was like, 'Well, I have to get my hands on that.'" So, after "faking the symptoms of ADD," Bynes said she was able to get a prescription for Adderall from a psychiatrist.
Adderall is technically an amphetamine drug that works by releasing dopamine and preventing the reuptake of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is involved with pleasure and motivation. For people with attention deficit disorder (ADHD), a chronic condition that involves difficulty focusing, this extra dopamine can help them focus on tasks, like schoolwork.
Unfortunately, Adderall tends to have a "high abuse liability," meaning it's particularly easy to misuse it by injecting it or snorting it, Frances Levin, MD, a board-certified psychiatrist who specializes in addiction at the Columbia University Department of Psychiatry told Refinery29. Bynes told Paper that she would chew Adderall tablets in her trailer because she thought they would make her "more high." Misusing Adderall can lead to a slew of uncomfortable side effects, including a fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat, bladder pain, and even cardiac arrest, according to the Mayo Clinic.
"I remember chewing on a bunch of [Adderall] and literally being scatterbrained and not being able to focus on my lines or memorize them for that matter," Bynes told Paper about filming the movie Hall Pass. Bynes was so high throughout filming that she couldn't remember lines, and would "trip out" about her appearance, so she ultimately decided to pull out of the movie.
At the premiere of Easy A, Bynes said she was high on marijuana and suspected she had a "drug-induced psychosis" that altered her perception of the way she looked. That was a tipping point that led to her deciding to quit acting. "I saw it and I was convinced that I should never be on camera again and I officially retired on Twitter, which was, you know, also stupid," she told Paper. Bynes later described the way she acted on drugs as "like an alien had invaded my body."
Today, Bynes is four years sober, and her advice to anyone struggling with substance abuse is to "be really careful," she said. "Everybody is different, obviously, but for me, the mixture of marijuana and whatever other drugs and sometimes drinking really messed up my brain... It really made me a completely different person."
If you are struggling with substance abuse, please call the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for free and confidential information.