It may turn out that the disease that troubled actress [artist id=”1737245″]Lindsay Lohan[/artist] isn’t suffering from is the one that could have caused many of her recent problems.
According to TMZ, doctors at the UCLA Medical Center — where Lohan is currently 19 days into a court-ordered, 90-day inpatient stay — reportedly believe that the “Mean Girls” star was misdiagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Adderall, a drug commonly prescribed to treat that disorder, may have caused her to exhibit the irrational, manic symptoms similar to those of someone abusing cocaine or methamphetamine.
Lohan’s lawyer has not returned requests for comment from MTV News, but Dr. Peter Breggin, a psychiatrist and leading expert on the dangers of the over-prescribing of psychiatric drugs, said it doesn’t really matter if Lohan, 24, was misdiagnosed or not. “Whether or not she was misdiagnosed, [Adderall] will have the same effect,” said Breggin, the author of “Medication Madness: The Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Cases of Violence, Suicide and Crime.” Breggin has not treated Lohan and he does not have first-hand knowledge of her case.
“It’s a myth that it will have a different effect whether you have ADHD or not,” he explained. “If she was given Adderall, it’s entirely possible she would have a reaction that was indistinguishable from that of methamphetamine or cocaine, including producing manic or psychotic behavior.”
Adderall has helped many teenagers and adults suffering from ADHD gain control of their lives. But Breggin said it is possible to become addicted to the drug, which can trigger out-of-control episodes when taken in high doses. Add in an addiction to or chronic use of cocaine and other stimulants and, he said, that person could very easily be susceptible to the abuse of Adderall.
“Adderall is pure amphetamine and it changes the neurotransmitters in a similar fashion [as other stimulants],” he said, noting that research in humans and animals has shown that the effect on those vital neurotransmitters is to make the person crave stimulants. “You don’t want to give someone an amphetamine who has or had a craving for methamphetamine or cocaine.”
While Lohan has never discussed what issues have sent her to rehab three previous times, she has a history of arrests for drunk driving , including one in 2007 during which police allegedly found a packet of cocaine in her pocket. “You would not want to give anyone, for any purpose, Adderall if they were known to abuse methamphetamine or cocaine. You’re just setting them up for being hooked on Adderall,” Breggin said.
A probation report released before Lohan went to jail revealed that one of the prescription medicines Lohan she was taking was the sleep aid Ambien. This revelation didn’t surprise Breggin.
Lohan was frequently spotted drinking late into the night before her pair of DUI arrests in 2007. Breggin said that also didn’t surprise him, since alcohol, like Ambien, is a sedative used to counteract stimulation.
The upshot of the alleged misdiagnosis, according to TMZ’s unnamed source familiar with Lohan’s treatment at UCLA, is that the former judge in Lohan’s case, Marsha Revel, may have “overreacted” when she ordered the actress to serve 90 days in rehab. The site claimed that Lohan has been weaned off all the medications she was taking — which also included the serious pain medication Dilaudid, antidepressants Zoloft and Trazodone, and acid-reflux treatment Nexium — with no adverse reaction. She has also reportedly not shown symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
With all that in mind, the new judge in the case will meet with lawyers next week to discuss a possible early release for Lohan for Lohan.