Adderall Abuse Among College Students

Adderall abuse is becoming increasingly common among college students. This drug is highly attractive to students wishing to cram for tests or stay up later partying. Adderall addiction will likely require a formal treatment program to overcome.

Adderall is a prescription medicine used in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is also sometimes used to treat sleep disorders like narcolepsy. Due to its stimulant properties and ability to help people focus and concentrate, it is widely abused among college students.

Adderall is a schedule II central nervous system stimulant that is only available through prescription. In people with ADHD, the drug has a calming effect that allows them to focus on tasks without getting distracted.

In recent years, Adderall has become a popular “study drug” used by college students to study or complete assignments. The 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that college students abuse Adderall twice as much as anyone else in the population.

Understanding Adderall and the impact its abuse can have on someone is important in helping to stop this epidemic.

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Why Is Adderall Popular Among College Students?

When used as prescribed, Adderall can boost concentration and energy and sharpen mental acuity. This can help people be more productive, especially when it comes to academic studies.

Adderall also releases large amounts of dopamine into the brain. This can lead to feelings of euphoria as well as bolstered confidence.

Many college students who abuse Adderall do so in order to cram for a test or be able to study longer. In theory, they can simply take some Adderall, stay up all night studying, and go on to ace their test the next day.

However, that’s rarely how it works out. In people who do not have ADHD, Adderall is not proven to enhance cognition or concentration. In fact, when abused long-term, it can even cause a decrease in school performance.

Other college students may use Adderall as they would cocaine. Adderall has many of the same effects as cocaine and is much easier to obtain. Adderall may boost someone’s confidence and enable them to drink alcohol without feeling its intoxicating effects.

The more Adderall a person uses, the more likely he or she is to experience tolerance to the drug. This can lead to a destructive cycle of drug abuse.

Where Do College Students Get Adderall?

An estimated two-thirds of college students who take Adderall obtain it from friends, relatives, or roommates. On a college campus, there are also many people who sell Adderall.

Someone who sells Adderall may fake ADHD symptoms to get a prescription from a doctor. They will then sell the drug on campus in a similar way that other drugs are dealt on the street.

Selling, buying, or stealing Adderall is illegal. So is faking symptoms to obtain a prescription or taking medicine in a way other than how it is prescribed.

Signs And Symptoms Of Adderall Abuse

Abusing Adderall can come with many negative symptoms. While the first few initial uses of the drug may elicit feelings of euphoria and energy, chronic abuse often causes these effects to dissipate.

Common symptoms of Adderall abuse may include:

  • reduced need for sleep
  • weight loss and malnutrition
  • increased heart rate
  • increased blood pressure
  • depression
  • excitability
  • irritability
  • paranoia
  • upset stomach

Another symptom associated with Adderall abuse is tolerance. When a tolerance is built up, a person needs more and more of the drug to feel the same effect. This can lead to someone taking more Adderall just to feel normal. Taking more of the drug can result in physical and mental dependence and addiction.

In addition to symptoms of Adderall abuse, there are also signs that may be apparent to other people.

Signs of Adderall abuse may include:

  • hiding how much of the drug is being used
  • lying about using the drug
  • going to multiple doctors to obtain multiple prescriptions for stimulants
  • taking more of the drug than what is prescribed
  • buying Adderall from other people
  • stealing Adderall from relatives or friends

Consequences Of Abusing Adderall In College

There are many consequences that can come with abusing Adderall while in college. One of the most prominent consequences experienced by students abusing Adderall is a decline in academic performance.

While people may think that Adderall is helping them get ahead, once they are in the vicious cycle of addiction, Adderall only ends up hurting their education.

Another consequence of Adderall abuse is the potential damage it can do to the brain. While not permanent, Adderall abuse can prohibit the brain from creating its own dopamine. This means that the brain becomes dependent on the drug to produce feel-good neurotransmitters. Many people who abuse Adderall are unable to feel pleasure without the drug.

As with many drugs, Adderall abuse can also lead to overdose and even death. Adderall is a stimulant that increases heart rate and blood pressure, and ingesting too much can put people at risk for severe heart problems.

Getting Help For Adderall Abuse And Addiction

If you or a loved one is dealing with Adderall abuse and addiction, it’s important to know that there are treatment options to help. A formal treatment program will likely be needed to help overcome addiction to Adderall.

To learn more about Adderall abuse among college students and the treatment options available for Adderall addiction, contact us today.


John Hopkins - Adderall Misuse Rising Among Young Adults

Substance abuse treatment, prevention, and policy - “Misuse of "study drugs:" prevalence, consequences, and implications for policy”

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