Adderall Abuse: What Every Student Needs to Know About This College Epidemic

Adderall exists to help people with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) focus. But on college campuses, people who don’t have the disorder use it for a "boost" in productivity.

In 2011, 8.3% of college students admitted using it for non-medical purposes, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. That’s about twice the percentage of people of college age who are not enrolled in school. If students abuse Adderall all year, just imagine how many pop pills during finals week, when everyone has a seemingly insurmountable workload and is already exhausted from the long semester.

Adderall has a calming effect on people with ADD or ADHD, but because it contains amphetamines, people who don’t need it experience increased energy and focus, and a decreased need for food and sleep.

But, like with any drug, there are downsides as well. Withdrawal from Adderall can cause extreme fatigue, depression and a change in heart rhythm.

Adderall includes amphetamines, the same as in speed you could buy on a street corner. But as is the case with so much prescription drug abuse, people who take it recreationally are somehow comforted by the fact that it came from a doctor.

Risks associated with non-medical use of Adderall are much the same as those of cocaine or methamphetamine abuse, including: seizure, hypertension (high blood pressure), stroke, heart attack, psychosis, aggressive behavior, oh yeah, and sudden death

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Lilly O'Donnell

Lilly O'Donnell is a freelance writer, currently working on her first book.

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