Tag Archives: Adderall

Adderall Abuse Among College Students?

Adderall Abuse Among College Students

How Prevalent is Adderall Abuse Among College Students?

Adderall abuse is widespread in the U.S. Young people between ages 18 and 25, particularly college students, are the worst offenders. Adderall is the most commonly prescribed amphetamine. It is a strong central nervous system stimulant that is used primarily to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Even scientists aren’t sure how speed improves concentration or calms people who are prone to fidget.

Adderall’s effects are similar to those of cocaine, and it is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance because of its high potential for increased tolerance leading to addiction. To date, there is little research into its long-term effects.

According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, full-time students abuse Adderall at twice the rate of their peers who don’t attend college. On college campuses, it’s the second-most common drug of abuse. Only marijuana is more popular.

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adderall abuse among College students

Where Do Students Obtain Adderall?

Around two-thirds of young adults get their Adderall supply from friends, roommates or relatives who have prescriptions. Many buy pills from dealers. Since there is no definitive clinical test for ADHD — doctors base diagnoses largely on symptoms and the observations of parents and teachers — faking symptoms to get a prescription is common.

Students may be surprised to learn that sharing their pills, borrowing someone else’s pills, selling, buying or stealing pills, faking symptoms and taking pills at the wrong dose all constitute prescription fraud which is a felony.

Even worse, becoming addicted to Adderall poses serious health risks. Between 2006 and 2011, Adderall-related emergency room visits spiked by more than 156 percent.

What’s the Attraction of Using Adderall?

At correctly prescribed doses in patients with ADHD, Adderall improves focus, sharpens mental acuity and provides a small energy boost for more productive study. Like many drugs, Adderall also increases levels of a natural brain chemical called dopamine. Dopamine enhances feelings of well-being, confidence, and reward.

College students who face a long night of cramming for finals often bump up the dose or enhance it with a high-caffeine energy drink. In theory, they can stay awake all hours, absorb everything they study, have perfect recall of the material the next day and ace the test.

In reality, things seldom work out that way. For one thing, Adderall makes no difference whatsoever if you don’t have ADHD. Indeed, that’s one of the biggest factors in diagnosis: If you take Adderall and concentration doesn’t improve, ADHD is not the problem.

For recreational use, it’s cheaper than cocaine and provides many of the same perceived benefits. Someone who is shy or suffers from low self-esteem might take Adderall to have more fun at a party. Unfortunately, like cocaine’s effects, Adderall’s are short-lived at high doses. Coming down is disappointing and unpleasant, so higher doses are required for the same sense of confidence and euphoria. The life of the party eventually becomes annoying, overly talkative, excitable, irritable or downright impossible to be around.

Other attractions for college students are increased libido and sexual stamina. Adderall may work that way for a night or two, but it has the opposite effect as tolerance increase.

Snorting Adderall is even more dangerous than taking it orally. People looking for immediate, intense effects crush pills into a powder and snort it like cocaine.

That’s a good way to destroy your nasal and sinus cavities over just a few weeks. Snorting also exacerbates the negative side effects, such as irregular heartbeat, shown below. You can overdose on Adderall by just taking too many pills, but snorting exponentially increases risk.

At the very least, taking a little extra for nonmedical reasons makes you hyperactive, overly talkative and insomniac. Here are the more serious side effects of using longterm at high doses:

  • Rapid or difficult breathing
  • Increased or irregular heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Hoarseness
  • Inability to sleep or sleep disturbances
  • Nausea, diarrhea or constipation
  • Shaking
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Nervousness or paranoia
  • Excitability, aggression, anxiety or hostility
  • Hallucinations
  • Depression
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Numbness in the extremities
  • Rash, hives or blistering skin
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Stroke
  • Suicidal thoughts

Abusing Adderall is so dangerous that the Food and Drug Administration mandates a black-box warning on the label.

No one intends to become addicted to a legal drug that is prescribed by competent doctors every day. It’s the same with prescription painkillers. They’re a godsend for people who require surgery, are injured in an accident or live with chronic pain long term. Painkillers are largely safe when used as directed under the supervision of a doctor, but taking just one extra pill or combining it with another drug, such as alcohol, can have catastrophic, life-changing results.

You may be in danger of becoming addicted to Adderall if you’re taking more than your doctor prescribed, taking it by a non-approved method or taking it without a prescription. Other red flags include those below:

  • Trying repeatedly to stop without success
  • Feeling tired or mentally foggy when you’re not using
  • Lying about Adderall use
  • Watching your academic performance decline
  • Stealing pills or spending a lot of money buying them
  • Losing interest in friends and social activities

Our caring staff at Desert Cove Recovery is highly experienced with Adderall abuse. Call us today for sound advice on breaking free and reclaiming your life.

Prescription Drug Abuse Includes More Than Just Painkillers

Prescription Drug Abuse Prescription painkillers have wreaked havoc on the nation for several years. The number of people who abuse pills like OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet are still astronomical, and so are the number of people who have died from prescription painkiller overdoses. In fact, with millions of Americans abusing painkillers, it is likely that everyone knows someone who has been affected by it.

It is no wonder that this is the first thing that comes to mind when someone talks about prescription drug abuse. However, there are other types of medications that are being abused as well, and we cannot lose focus on preventing and treating all types of prescription drug problems.

Adderall, Ritalin, Vyvanse and other drugs that are prescribed to people with ADHD are prescription stimulants that are also commonly abused. These medications have often been dubbed as “study drugs” due to the number of college students who use the drug without having a prescription for it. Although the amphetamine-like qualities may allow them to stay awake longer and concentrate more for a short period of time, the risk is far greater than most young people realize.

Many experts have indicated that prescription stimulants are also popular gateway drugs that lead users on to trying more drugs as well. The abuse potential for drugs like Adderall is very high, and users can also feel cravings, irritability, anxiety and even paranoia.

“The bad side effects of it are that it sometimes makes me less social and sometimes I get easily annoyed if someone interrupts me when I am in the middle of something,” said Lilly, a college student that relies on Adderall and Vyvanse to get through her day.

So, while maintaining a heavy focus on prescription painkillers is important, it is also vital that we include all types of prescription drugs, as there are others beyond stimulants and painkillers that are frequently abused.

Doctors Can Help Curb Adderall Abuse

prescription stimulantsWhen Adderall and other ADHD medications first hit the market, many people were encouraged that those suffering from the disorder would get the help they need. However, as time has passed it has become clear that drugs designed to help people maintain focus and overcome attention deficits have turned into drugs that are commonly abused.

High school and college students tend to abuse these drugs at higher rates than other groups, but some studies have shed light on the growing Adderall problem among professionals and stay-at-home moms, among other populations.

In 2009 a study showed that 5% of high school students in the United States admitted to abusing Adderall. This number jumped to 7% in 2013. And a recent review of studies found that at least 5% and as many as 35% of college students rely on prescription stimulants to get them through their workload. Many experts fear that this early reliance on chemicals only increases the chances that they will resort to further illicit drugs use.

The problem with Adderall, like most abused prescription drugs, is that the pills are very effective for their targeted uses. They allow someone who is suffering from ADHD to be more focused and alert on single tasks. Doctors cannot stop prescribing this medication altogether since it does help some people, but prescribing practices need to be improved to ensure that those who do seemingly benefit an still have access, while other people who misuse the drug aren’t able to obtain nearly as easily as they can now.

The prescription drug problem has put the spotlight on the medical profession, causing some doctors and administrators to shy away from readily prescribing anything that can be addictive. This has caused further problems. Similar situations have been found in other areas of medicine, especially pain management. One of the best ways to help this for doctors to recommend more treatments and therapies that aren’t pharmaceutically-based and that are often just as effective without the side effects or risk of being abused.

Adderall Abuse Still Climbing

jhbsphFor many young adults, college is the first time where they really feel pressure to perform without having the necessary support system in place. Instead, expectations and responsibilities increase while maturity and decision-making skills have yet to meet the demand while the desire to fit in can be more of an influence. The build-up combines to create a perfect storm where things like substance abuse can easily creep in. Increasingly, drugs of choice among these college students include prescription stimulants like Adderall.

A study conducted by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health shows that this activity is continuing to grow, despite concentrated efforts in education and prevention for high school and college students. Researchers were able to conclude that use of amphetamines like Adderall or Ritalin is highest among 15 to 25 year-olds. This portion of the population seems to struggle the most when it comes to staying away from these drugs. The study showed that between 2006 and 2011 the amount of people abusing these pills in this age bracket rose 67%. Additionally, the amount of people that were admitted into the emergency room for complications related to Adderall use rose by 156%.

“Many of these college students think stimulants like Adderall are harmless study aids. But there can be serious health risks and they need to be more aware,” explained Ramin Mojtabai, co-author of the study and professor of mental health at the Bloomberg School.

Some of the health risks associated with Adderall abuse are mental health problems like depression, anxiety, and aggressive behaviors. Additionally, people who abuse these medications are also more likely to suffer from sleep problems, such as not being able to fall asleep and then crashing and sleeping for extended time periods of time.

As with other prescription drug problems, one major change that needs to occur is the overall prescribing habits of doctors who flood the market with these pills. They’re given them out by the handful and it’s too easy for young people to get a hold of them. Of course the most important elements of a successful campaign to reduce prescription stimulant abuse include effective drug prevention and addiction treatment programs.

Study Examines Non-Medical Use of Prescription Stimulants

drugalcdependcoverA new study shows that teenagers are actually more likely to experiment and abuse ADHD drugs than older college students. This goes against the common belief that college students are the most likely to resort to medications like Adderall or Ritalin in order to study for exams and juggle new responsibilities.

The results of the research are published in the July issue of the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence and shows that children aged 16 to 19 are the most likely to abuse prescription stimulant drugs. The results from the study illustrate the need to educate children against drug abuse at younger ages.

“We need to have a realistic understanding of when young people are beginning to experiment with stimulants, so we can prevent them from misusing for the first time. To prevent someone from using for the first time is often more cost efficient and effective than trying to intervene once they have done it, whether a few times or for years,” explained Elizabeth Austic, the lead author of the study from the University of Michigan.

The benefit to studies like this one is that educators and parents are more aware of the age group that education and prevention methods need to start. Instead of waiting until children are in high school to talk about certain topics or substances, frankly addressing the issues with children at younger ages seems to be a better tactic. By the time children reach the age of 16, where temptation to abuse ADHD medication appears to begin its peak range, they may have already made up their minds about how they feel about drugs.

Another interesting aspect of the study was the revelation that 18 year-old women are twice as likely to abuse prescription stimulants as their male counterparts. Much of this is attributed to the appetite suppressant qualities of the drugs and the pressure to appear or feel thinner. All of this shows that our young people are under tremendous stress and are continuously exposed to dangerous substances as means of coping in life. We must work smarter earlier in their lives to help them be more resilient to those pressures, as well as change cultural norms that create the false perceptions about life.

New Study Shows ADHD Drugs Don’t Improve Academics

nberA study recently conducted by the nonprofit National Bureau of Economics Research (NBER) looked at 4,000 students in Quebec taking stimulant medications for ADHD over an average of 11 years. The results might be surprising to many physicians and educators.

The kids taking the prescriptions did not perform better in their studies compared to others with similar symptoms not taking medication. In fact, it found that the boys who were medicated actually did worse.

The Wall Street Journal quoted study co-author Janet Currie from the Center for Health & Wellbeing at Princeton University as saying “The possibility that [medication] won’t help them [in school] needs to be acknowledged and needs to be closely monitored.”

The academic outcomes were only a portion of the study, as they also found that emotional problems increased among the girls who were on the drugs. Both of these findings appear to be contrary to how medications like Ritalin and Adderall are marketed.

There are doctors who seek to change lifestyle factors for ADHD symptoms first such as diet, sleep, exercise and reduction of tv or video games before turning to a prescription stimulant. Although there are undoubtedly many kids, parents, teachers and doctors who have seen positive results from taking stimulant medications for ADHD symptoms, this new study really cannot be ignored. There is also the fact that these drugs continue to be diverted and used non-medically, as they have a high potential for abuse and dependency.

If you or someone you know has had a problem with a prescription stimulant or any other drug and are in need of treatment, contact Desert Cove Recovery today.