Adderall Abuse Among College Students
Adapting to college life is not always easy. The pressures of studying combined with a culture of pulling pre-exam all nighters, has made the abuse of prescription stimulants such as Adderall, more prevalent than ever. Perhaps most concerning is the fact that nearly every student who has admitted to using Adderall without a prescription, said they received the drug from a peer.1
Following are some of the contributing factors of Adderall abuse among college students and what signs to look out for.
Causes of Adderall Abuse in College Students
Innocently enough, the main cause for Adderall abuse is linked to academics. Students claim the drug helps them focus when they are staying up late studying. The benefits carry over into exam taking, as well. Some users say they experience an improved attention span and find themselves better able to concentrate. These elements make it one of the most popular drugs that is used today on college campuses. It helps explains why the largest age range of people who are abusing the drug without a prescription or medical need, are 18-to-25-year-old young adults.2 The prime age for a college student.
There is also an alluring social element to the drug. Users claim they can stay up later and that the drug makes them feel more talkative. This help them feel more comfortable at parties, which introduces one of the most dangerous aspects of Adderall. When combined with alcohol, the drug can be deadly. This is because alcohol is a depressant and Adderall is a stimulant. Taking these two in combination may initially mask some of the early effects of each leading to dangerous over consumption.
Another cause of Adderall use is actually one of the side effects of the drug. It can cause unintended weight loss because of the way it acts as a stimulate for the body. Young adults who are already susceptible to the social pressures of looking a certain way, might find the drug easily accessible on college campuses.
Adderall Side Effects
Many of the side effects caused by the combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine (the two main components that make up Adderall), are noticeable to the naked eye. This makes abuse sometimes possible to spot.
Adderall acts as a central nervous system stimulant. This can lead to nervousness, restlessness, and anxiety that impacts sleep patterns. Users might find it difficult to stay asleep, or difficult to fall asleep to begin with. There can also be tremors that cause shaking of various parts of the body.
Complaints of headaches are common, along with dry mouth and stomach issues. These issues include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, constipation, and loss of appetite.
Being a Schedule II controlled substance naturally makes Adderall a high risk candidate for addiction. This is why many people who abuse it or use it without a prescription, will need the help of a rehab treatment program and/or sober living facility once they choose a life of sobriety. The good news is that rehabilitation from substance abuse is possible. All you need to do is want it.
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- Aberg, Simon E. “‘Study Drug’ Abuse by college Students: What You Need to Know.” The National Center for Health Research.
- Johns Hopkins University. Adderall Misuse Rising Among Young Adults.