The stimulant medications(like Adderall and Ritalin) used to treat Attention Deficit Disorder(ADD),can be very helpful for the young person appropriately prescribed the medication, but they can also be used in an addictive manner. How can parents tell the difference? Most importantly, if your teenager has had a comprehensive diagnostic assessment and is carefully monitored, negative consequences from the stimulant medications are unlikely. Watch out if he or she is getting the medication illicitly, snorting it, or experiencing negative side effects like anxiety, insomnia, tremors, and weight loss. A good treating psychiatrist will make sure none of those side effects continue: the medication will be modified or discontinued. Interestingly, multiple research studies have shown that ADD sufferers appropriately prescribed stimulant medications are less likely to have addiction problems than ADD sufferers who are not prescribed stimulant medication. One article about this, "Substance abuse in patients with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder : therapeutic implications," can be found at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16097847
The bottom line with ADD and stimulant medications is the following: make sure your teenager is getting comprehensive care and ongoing monitoring for the use of any medication, but especially the stimulant medications used to treat ADD.