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Adderall abuse among college students

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Each year college students will go through midterms and finals, a week that is filled with stress, all-nighters, a blurry numbness in the eyes, and an all-encompassing exhaustion. With hundreds of pages to digest, deadlines, procrastination, and real life responsibilities, many students find aid in prescription drugs and Adderall, known as a “Smart Drug,” has quickly become the stimulant of choice.

Used for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Adderall is being used by students to help them stay alert and focused so they can better take their exams. In a survey study of students at 119 American colleges, given in the journal “Addiction,” it was reported that nearly 25% of students enrolled in high-pressure universities had used Adderall as a study stimulant. Costing a couple dollars on most campuses, Adderall is incredibly easy to afford and easily found, making it a popular alternative to a cup of coffee when you need that extra study boost.

While the drug does work to calm a stressful lifestyle, Adderall can be incredibly dangerous if abused, especially when combined with alcohol. The drug is classified as Schedule II, meaning that it carries with it a high possibility of abuse, and severe psychological and physical dependence. If used over a long period of time, Adderall ceases to be a stimulant one only takes during midterms, and addiction to it is very similar to that of cocaine addiction. Once a person has been using the drug long enough, they begin to think they need Adderall to do well in life. Students get so used to it that they often feel as if they cannot do well in classes without it and are filled with a fear of failure. However, while on the drug many people feel as if their creativity has been shut off. The reason for the lack of creativity while on Adderall is because the drug allows one a more rigid and structured mindset, which happens to be the opposite of the loose form of creativity.  Other symptoms of Adderall abuse and withdrawal include nightmares, depression, hunger, and fatigue.

If the drug is prescribed and the person is taking the correct dosage, Adderall has little negative side effects in terms of health. However, according to the Food and Drug Administration, once abused, Adderall can lead to “rapid heartbeat palpitations, increased blood pressure, restlessness, insomnia, seizures, depression, headache, and stroke.” If one continues to abuse Adderall over a long period of time, they can even develop liver problems.

While it’s always nice to get a little boost with your work, Adderall’s risk of long-term dependency just isn’t worth the short-term payoff. The emotional damage from feeling as if you are worthless without the drug is far more damaging than putting forth the extra work you’ll need to get that good grade.

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