Midterms are still upon some of us, and finals will be here before you know it. The stress from school and other things may feel overwhelming, and unfortunately, some students try to enhance their studying or learning habits with a drug you've probably heard of – Adderall.
Adderall is a type of amphetamine typically prescribed to people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy, or depression. It helps those afflicted maintain a healthy and functioning lifestyle. However, some people take this addictive pill when it is not prescribed to them by a doctor. Adderall is a “DEA Schedule II” substance, which means It has “high potential for abuse”, and can lead to serious “psychological and physical dependence.” In other words, it can be very, very bad for you.
When you take Adderall, your body reacts in a number of ways. Your heart rate can increase, and the flow of blood to different parts of your body can quicken as well. Adderall targets the neurotransmitters in your brain, like norepinephrine and dopamine. When these neurotransmitters are stimulated, the consumer feels a boost of energy and a more focused attention to things. The “high” that Adderall can give off is not unlike that of cocaine usage.
Though it is helpful to those to which it is prescribed, taking and especially abusing Adderall can have extremely unfavorable outcomes.
• Loss of appetite
• Malnutrition and weight loss
• Burning during urination
• Poor vision
• Feelings of fear, nervousness, and anxiety
• Severe depression
• Loss of sleep/Insomnia
• Stomach pain
• Dry or unpleasant tasting mouth
• Hair loss
• Increased blood pressure
• Increased heart rate
• Convulsions and spasms
Unfortunately, not all those who take the drug are doing so because they need to. In fact, a study done in 2008 by Pennsylvania State University and Arizona State University found that up to 93 percent of undergraduate students were able to manipulate the test they had set up and get a positive diagnosis for ADHD, thus “qualifying” them for an Adderall prescription. College students abusing Adderall has become an increasingly dangerous problem on campuses across the country. A lot of students are using Adderall and other stimulant drugs today not just because they think it might help them boost their GPA (which it probably won’t); stimulant drugs are being used at parties to “stay up” and are being mixed with alcohol as well. Combining the two can cause serious psychological issues. Not only that, but it can cause an immediate physical reaction in the form of heart palpitations, head and body aches, and vomiting. People that abuse for an extended period of time can suffer from any number of the above symptoms.
As a result of these possible effects and the abuse Adderall has incurred, a number of doctors are taking extra precautions when prescribing it to patients. For example, prescribing the drug to children under five years old is highly discouraged, and to children over five only in extreme circumstances.
Adderall should only be used by those who truly, truly need it. To consume this addictive and dangerous drug otherwise would be extremely unwise, as it can cause a copious amount of problems for the abuser.
Here are some healthy alternatives if you're feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or like you’re falling behind:
• Reach out to a friend of classmate that can help you deal with whatever you’re struggling with.
• Go to office hours and have your professor explain whatever topic you don’t understand.
• Manage your time so that you have plenty of time to complete your tasks or assignments unstressed.
• Go on a walk, clear your head.
• Drink a bottle of cool water, or a cup of coffee.
• Read a relaxing book, color, or listen to music.
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about Adderall, or drug addiction in general, visit your school’s health center. You can also call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration at (800-662-4357), or visit their website at samhsa.gov.
Stay happy & healthy!
Lead Image Credit: Wikicommons