We all strive towards being a better version of ourselves. Whether that’s through getting good grades, landing the dream job or just being the best at what we do. I think it’s safe to say that we would do almost anything to achieve this success. We study for years, we work hard (mostly), we network and attend all the right events and meet all the right people. We essentially put ourselves through mental and sometimes physical exhaustion to reach this pinnacle of succe-wait, wait, wait hold on…this almost sounds like it’s not worth it, right?! There must be something out there that can help us all…
Medically speaking, Adderall is a:
“A chemical compound that is made up of powerful blends of amphetamine salts dextroamphetamine and levoamphetamine.”
Or for those of us not in the medical field:
“Medication that works towards enhancing concentration by stimulating the production of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain.”
Essentially, Adderall is prescribed to those with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) to help treat symptoms such as:
- Inattention – difficulty focusing on a topic or task
- Hyperactivity – an excess of both physical and mental activity
- Impulse behaviour – behaviour based on reactions instead of thoughts
Which actually doesn’t sound so bad, right? But what happens if you don’t have ADHD and you take Adderall? Which is reportedly 67% of college and university students! (Damn hook a sister up!) Nonmedical use of Adderall for those without ADHD causes over stimulation of the brain, ultimately creating a super-enhanced focus. Still doesn’t sound so bad…right?
Let’s look into this a little more!
For those who use the stimulant for nonmedical use, “benefits” can include increased focus, suppressed appetite, and a decreased need for sleep. Hence the popularity surrounding this stimulant among college and university students, with 35.5% of students reported to use stimulants without an approved prescription. I mean, wouldn’t you be interested in a product that ultimately makes you, a better you?
However, while the benefits of this stimulant are widely known, there is a growing concern within the medical community that abusers are not aware of the risks associated with taking the drug for nonmedical purposes.
These risks include:
- Increased risk of suffering from a seizure
- Abnormally high blood pressure
- Increased risk of suffering from a stroke
- Increased risk of suffering from a heart attack
- Aggressive behaviour
- And even…sudden death
Pretty grim stuff if we’re being completely honest, considering that 29% of patients who have been prescribed Adderall have admitted to misusing it or abusing it, and in some cases have even been reported giving it away to peers for free or in most cases selling it to those who are unable to get a prescription.
And while abusers may only see the “benefits” of this stimulant, they risk becoming dependent and forming an addiction, which increases the risk of the negative impacts of the drug which can also lead to serious withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms include but are not limited to lethargy, increased somnolence, depression, mood disturbances, increased appetite, and an intense drug craving, which can potentially disconnect them from reality if they do not seek out the right help.
Furthermore, a huge 95.3% of users who identify themselves as “lifetime nonmedical users of prescription drugs” were also reported to be using other illicit drugs or other prescription drugs for nonmedical use. This suggests that a majority of those who misuse Adderall have actually already been engaging with other drugs or stimulants and actively seek out new drugs as they become available.
This of course poses another concern for abusers, in that if they continue to actively seek out the stimulant or other illicit drugs it could lead to legal implications if they are caught. Abusers can find themselves serving one year in prison or a $1000 fine, or both, if they are found with even one pill in their possession without a valid prescription in tow.
Definitely not something you want to have to explain to any future employers!
So why do students continue to abuse and misuse this drug? A study conducted by Psychology, Health & Medicine found that common motivations of the drug include:
- To improve intellectual performance
- To be more efficient in academic assignments
- To use in combination with alcohol (generally in an attempt to increase alcohol tolerance)
- To improve their exercise and workout regimes
- And some even used the drug in an attempt to control their weight or appetite.
So while university is hard and it may seem like it will never end, and the dead end job you’re working at may bore you from the inside out, popping pills is probably not the best solution to this obstacle we all experience at some point in our lives. Put the pills down and go get a coffee!