Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Adderall: A Wonder Drug for Success?


Four exams in one week, multiple papers and assignments due on the same day, endless hours of reading you fell behind in; we have all experienced such atrocities as college students, and with the mounting pressure to do well in school and get straight A’s for an eventual successful job, it is no wonder students have been feeling desperate for something to help achieve success. A “study drug” that will help them focus, study for countless hours, and ace their exams! Who wouldn’t want to swallow a pill with such promising effects?

This is part of the emergent problem in the US; the growing prevalence of the abuse of prescription amphetamines such as Adderall on college campuses. Numerous studies have been conducted recently to discover just how many students are opting to use such a substance to aid in their studies. After surveying students enrolled in 119colleges across America, it was discovered that up to 25% of them have used the drug. Another study performed at BrighamYoung University in Provo, Utah decided to use the social networking site Twitter to access the prevalence of Adderall among young adults. They scanned the website for mentions of the drug, and found “a total of 213,633 tweets” between November 2011 and May 2012, with an increased frequency during final exam periods nationwide! Clearly, from these studies, and even just our own experience as college students, it is evident that the use of Adderall has been on the rise.

So what exactly is Adderall and why is its increasing pervasiveness of such concern? Adderall is amphetamine anddextroamphetamine, both which serve as stimulants to the central nervous system and affect nerves and brain chemicals contributing to hyperactivity and impulse control that is conventionally used as a treatment for attention deficit disorder and narcolepsy.  For people who are in need of Adderall for such conditions, it aids in patients ability to focus, pay attention and control behavior. However when abused, and taken without doctor consent, the effects of Adderall can be quite destructive. As a schedule II medication, it is possible to become addicted or develop dependence to the substance. Adderall triggers the release of adrenaline, increases heart rate and flow of the blood to muscles. It’s effect on heart rate can cause cardiovascular problems such as increased blood pressure or disrupted heart rhythm. While short term effects of dryness of the mouth, difficultly sleeping, headaches, or even chest pain may seem as a mere inconvenience to desperate college students, its long term effects are much more daunting. Abuse of Adderall can increase a person’s risk for heart attack and stroke, and cause them to develop mental health disorders such as depression, paranoia and hostility.

Adderall has become one of the most prescribed drugs in the US, and is becoming one of the most abused pharmaceutical drugs on college campuses nationwide. With the availability, affordability, and promising effects of concentration and success in school it is understandable why many college students opt to experiment with the substance. Many people are unaware of the harmful effects, and risks abuse of the substance may pose.

Posted by Kristen Whitehead (3)

12 comments:

  1. The fact that this drug is so available is part of the reason why many college students have taken this drug without a prescription. What could colleges do to help decrease the spread of the drug to people who aren't prescribed?

    Posted by: Nicole Boisvert

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    1. I agree! This is a major topic of discussion amongst law officials and researches. As far as what colleges could do to help decrease the spread of the drug I think would be to raise awareness. Through the use of flyers, posters, and even e-mail they can keep students informed of the dangerous side effects, and even the serious legal implications for anyone caught involved in the illegal selling or purchasing of the drug,

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  2. It is crazy to see so many college students take Adderall, especially during finals week. I find that the main problem with the drug, is the people who actually have the prescription. Most of the people who are medically allowed to use it don't, and instead sell it for profit to other students. Do you think there might be a way to stop this?

    Lindsey Janof

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    1. That's a great point Lindsey. There have been numerous students at prestigious college campuses that have been caught by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Some of these students have opted to tell their story on the news, and discuss how much trouble they have gotten in. Possibly when doctors prescribe such medication the patient should have to watch a few of these documentaries, or at least be informed of the legal implications.

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  3. An interesting quirk I have heard from several users of the drug is that it is useful for concentrating on most tasks but actually detrimental to concentrate on others. A close friend reported to me that on the very occasional circumstance when he used the drug, he became very efficient at doing repetitive tasks such as reading a text book and taking notes. However, he described as actually being inhibited in doing truly creative task, requiring fresh abstract thought. I wonder if tests have been done to analyze this difference in effect on cognition.

    -JE

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  4. I believe this drugs is vastly abused, especially among college students. When a doctor prescribes a patient medicine, its with the intent that the positives will out-weight the negatives. Taking a drug, like Adderall, when the body does not need it, is ensuring the negatives will out-weight the positives.

    Max Liner

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  5. This was a great post Kristen. I think it's scary to think about how easily this is given out and how readily available it is on campus', especially when you consider how dangerous the drug can be and it's addictive/long term side effects.

    Posted by: Kirk MacKinnon

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  6. I found this post to be incredibly relevant and important. I have personally seen friends abuse this drug for both recreation and academia. Some people take the drug to cram for tests and study, as you stated, but what concerns me more are the people who take the drug to party. Many people will take the drug before drinking, which allows them to stay up longer and drink more. I know that drinking on most prescription medications is not advised, I'm wondering if you know any more about the specific health risks this entails. I'm assuming that dehydration is a main concern. Adderall is described as an "upper" because it elevates the CNS activity, while alcohol is a depressant. Do you think mixing these two opposite drugs increases the risk of health problems?

    Posted by Tim Daly

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    1. yes this is definitely of great concern as well. Alcohol is a depressant, and Adderall is indeed a stimulant (in many studies it is even compared to cocaine). The Adderall's stimulating effects prevents your body's ability to tell if you are too intoxicated or too tired, which is why it allows people to drink and party for longer. Although your mind is unaware of this excess alcohol consumption, your body most certainly is. Many people can end up getting alcohol poisoning,passing out, vomiting, and even have a heart attack! There was one case study on a college kid who took a 30 mg Adderall and drank whiskey, and was in the hospital for a heart attack. As i mentioned in my blog, the drug can cause heart beat abnormalities, arrhythmia, or hypertension; all dangerous when mixed with alcohol consumption.

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  7. Clearly Adderol is the most prevalent but did you come across any research for other ADHD medications. I know a few friends who are prescribed Vyvanse / Ritalin. I'm wondering if these pills have the same health affects.

    Posted by Kevin Barisano

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    1. Yes Ritalian and Vyvanse have the same overall affects as Adderall does. They are just as dangerous.

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  8. Very soon i am going to buy 30 mg generic adderall pills online. Can anyone guide me from where should i buy?

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