Adderall Abuse: A Rising Problem Among College Students

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Adderall is one of the most commonly abused drugs in the U.S., and it has a steady presence among college students. The drug has gained nicknames like, “study drug,” “college crack” or “cognitive steroid” because students believe it improves attention and focus and can lead to academic success. Unfortunately, when taking Adderall without a prescription, addictive habits can form. Since adderall is a stimulant, it carries the same risk for addiction as other types of stimulants.

What is Adderall?

Adderall is prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), attention deficit disorder (ADD), narcolepsy and depression. It is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, and it is classified as a central nervous system stimulant. When prescribed by a physician, the dose is always started at a low point and then increased as needed. The drug is legal with a prescription and can be taken in various doses, ranging from 5 to 30 mg. Giving someone Adderall without a prescription is illegal.

Adderall is most commonly prescribed for ADHD and ADD because it helps improve symptoms like difficulty concentrating, controlling actions or staying still. When it’s used for non-medical purposes, Adderall creates feelings of euphoria. The drug is popular among college students because it keeps them awake, helps them focus and aids in weight loss, all perks for young adults. Since Adderall is legal when used with a prescription and is approved by the FDA, some people think that the drug is safe to take on their own. However, this is far from true, and Adderall has a high potential for addiction and withdrawal.

It’s important to point out that those who are prescribed Adderall by a doctor are not at risk for addiction. The drug is carefully monitored and given in small doses, and if there are any negative reactions, the doctor will wean the patient off of the drug. People who choose to take Adderall without a medical need are in a different category since they buy the drug from others and take it in a variety of dosages.

Is Adderall Abuse Common?

Consider that the United States makes up 5 percent of the world’s population but is responsible for producing 88 percent of the world’s legal amphetamine. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports interesting facts as well. In 2010, NIDA found that full-time college students who abused Adderall were three times more likely to abuse marijuana when compared to students not in college. Additionally, the study reported that college-aged students abusing Adderall were five times more likely to have abused painkillers. Alcohol abuse was also tied into Adderall use; 90 percent of these students in the study reported binge drinking while 50 percent admitted to being heavy drinkers.

The problem with Adderall is that like other prescription drugs, it’s fairly easy to get, especially for college students where the demand is high. Often times, students get the pills from peers who are prescribed the drug but don’t take it. Some of these students take the drug to help with academic success while others take it to lose weight and stay up all night, and they combine it with drinking or other drugs. The bottom line is that when Adderall is used without a prescription, it can create a host of other problems, both short and long term.

What are the Symptoms of Adderall Abuse?

Since Adderall abuse is most common in young adults and adults, it’s more difficult to spot. While college students are busy getting an education, their families or friends may not be aware of what’s going on at school. On a college campus, Adderall can easily go unnoticed, further facilitating the drug’s use. Also, students who are able to achieve better grades and improved focus don’t bring attention to themselves. Usually this is a sign of academic success, not an underlying dependency on Adderall.

It’s important to be aware of the many signs of Adderall abuse because it is a growing problem, and it can be easily hidden at first. Here’s what to look for in a loved one:

  • Suppressed appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Super energetic
  • Mania
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased body temperature
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Weight loss

Adderall abuse has the potential to form long-term consequences, including an increased likelihood of being addicted to other drugs. When someone is addicted, the path is the same whether they are addicted to Adderall or cocaine. Addicts will lie, steal and put their lives in danger just to get their next high. Adderall abuse is a serious issue and not be taken lightly. If you suspect Adderall abuse in a friend or family member, don’t wait to confront the issue. Contact The River Source at 1-888-687-7332 and find out how we can help your loved one overcome Adderall addiction.