Adderall: College Students' Best Friend-- Or Worst Enemy??

Kristin Jenkins's picture

Attention deficit hyperactive disorder is a neurologically based behavioral disorder that afflicts children and adults alike (1). Characterized by inability to pay attention, hyperactivity, and impulsive actions, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, or ADHD for short, this disorder has become a popular diagnosis for students who claim that they are unable to concentrate or focus on their studies (2). Much research has been done in recent years regarding ADHD, its neurological basis in the brain, and how to treat it effectively (1). Many prescription drugs have been released onto the market that effectively target the levels of certain hormones which in turn enable one to counteract the symptoms of ADHD (3).

However, drugs such as Adderall, which were developed solely for those properly diagnosed with the disorder, are beginning to be used recreationally by those whom admit to not having ADHD, but either find that they perform better with its aid or simply enjoy the high of the prescription drug (4). What does this mean for college students? Is recreational use of this drug dangerous physically? Mentally? Does the use of Adderall by those not diagnosed with pose the threat of an addiction? Is an addiction to a drug that seems to make you more efficient a bad thing?

To begin to answer these questions and more, one must understand a few of the basics of the neurobiology behind the disorder ADHD and the science behind drugs that treat it. Like many neurologically based disorders, scientists are not 100% sure of all of the complicated functions that play a role (1). However, by using state of the art brain imaging techniques, several studies have deduced that brains afflicted with ADHD malfunction in the frontal cortex (1). The frontal cortex is involved with primarily executive functions like reasoning, planning, focusing, and problem solving (1). It is in this part of the brain that dopamine, an important neurotransmitter, has been found to be deficient. Without proper concentrations of dopamine in the frontal cortex, these executive functions suffer (5).

To treat this disorder, prescription drugs like Adderall may be prescribed to patients. Adderall is a cocktail of several active ingredients that include amphetamine salts, an active ingredient in many ADHD medications. These amphetamines are thought to treat ADHD by blocking the reuptake of  dopamine from the neural synapses and increasing the uptake into subsequent neurons. The increased dopamine flow in the frontal cortex then allows the brain to carry on its executive functions as a normal brain would, thus counteracting the effects of ADHD (6). But what happens when a brain whose executive functions work properly is treated with such a powerful stimulant?

The answer to this question lies in the 1 in 5 college students that admit to using this drug and not having ADHD (7). Why? Athletes have steroids, depressives have “happy-pills”, and those who wish to do it all, and do it fast, have Adderall. A person with a perfectly normal, functioning frontal cortex and dopamine levels will experience a heightened sense of motivation, focus, and concentration. Presumably this is the perfect mood to pull all-nighters, read hundreds of pages at a time, and write pages and pages of that final paper (8). “I didn't feel like I was becoming smarter or even like I was thinking more clearly. I just felt more directed, less distracted by rogue thoughts, less day-dreamy (7),” states Joshua Foer, a journalist who, after consulting many doctors, decided to try Adderall for himself. “I felt like I was clearing away underbrush that had been obscuring my true capabilities (7).” Before performing his experiment, Foer discussed his decision with psychiatrists who informed him, to his surprise, that when taken in small doses, irregularly, with or without a prescription, Adderall is most likely harmless (7). Other scientists beg to differ, and it is these accounts that are of particular interest.

The general consensus is that stimulant amphetamines like Adderall do indeed increase performance in those that do and do not have properly diagnosed ADHD. The promise of a better GPA with less effort is promise enough for college students across the board to obtain Adderall by any means necessary. Many students admit to actually seeing doctors and purposefully exaggerating symptoms of ADHD to acquire medication. Others simply pop a generously donated pill from their pals (8). The danger lies in the possibility of dependence and the rarely considered effect of the drug on those that have preexisting medical problems that can deteriorate with prolonged use (8).

Since many students assert that they use Adderall only for studying for large tests and completing important assignments, the risk of dependency is high. “I don’t think I’m addicted…..I just can’t imagine not taking it (8),” says student Susan. Says student Steve: “I attend a major university….I take two pills when I have a ton of work to do….Without Adderall I failed one class….I began to take Adderall again and saw a huge improvement (9).” The long term effects of using Adderall in this manner are relatively unknown, however it is well known that those that use amphetamines in larger doses by snorting or inhaling can very well be diagnosed with addiction. Just one example of an amphetamine of this nature is speed (10).

Other side effects of this drug include being irritable while under the influence (8) and feeling as though one’s creativity has been stifled in the name of creating order out of disorder and doing the one task at hand (7). “These medications allow you to be more structured and more rigid. That's the opposite of the impulsivity of creativity,” says Dr. Heiligenstein of the University of Wisconsin (7). Is this just a small price to pay for an “A?” Can one sacrifice their creativity for a few hours in the name of passing Chemistry?

There is even more to this issue than menacing side effects, however. What is it about academics today that have students popping pills to succeed? And is it fair? Athletes that use steroids are kicked off their sports teams because they are assumed to have an unfair advantage—so isn’t this the same general principle? Many students, especially those that actually suffer from ADHD reply “Yes.” “It’s the kind of medication that can help anyone,” says ADHD afflicted student Josie, “For people with ADD, it just makes them normal, and for people without ADD, it makes them above average. If both me and someone without ADD were both on Adderall, I could never outdo them (8).”

So, as a stressed out college student striving to succeed in school and boost my GPA, I sit here wondering how much faster and more efficiently I could have written this paper had I been taking Adderall. A nagging suspicion tells me that yes, maybe I would have finished before 2 am. Maybe I would have stopping pausing to check my e-mail and Facebook. But my gut tells me that this is the wrong thing to do. Not being afflicted with ADHD, I do not have a good reason to take a pill to succeed other than to counteract my own inability to “get down to business”, as they say. My motivation for writing this paper was to find out whether or not unprescribed use of Adderall was dangerous. It appears that though it is not. The risk of dependency, however, is real, and can be seen in those students that can no longer finish assignments without the help of this drug. My question now is whether or not it is morally correct for college students to continue taking this drug as a stimulant—a question that is up to the reader to decide for his or herself.

Works Cited List





















Serendip Visitor's picture

whats so addictive about it

I get adderall on the regular every month. What's so addictive about it. It doese nothing to me but whhat its sopose to do. What makes this pill so addictive?

Paffa's picture


The adderall is not the addiction a persons personality is. You can become addicted to the reward for behavior loop your brain feeds on when doing things that bring results you like, get a kick out of or seek. People map themselves into a routine of desirable outcomes. Why do you use the drug? You must want something out of it? And when you do you want more, repeated good outcomes? Even if physical side effects come with it the results are worth more then the risks of not doing it? That kind of logic hang up. So long as the habbit you have formed gets results you want of course you will continue to use it. Addiction is therefore a flawed course of logic rather then dependency because of chemical or physical alterations. Although I would warn you that some drugs do create chemical depency and serious withdraw alterations physically if you cut off. Meth being one of them. But by and large most addictions are because of faulty logic.

Annon's picture

It works for everyone until it doesn't

I was prescribed through the end of college and into law school. I believe they are conductingong term studies as we speak to prove this but long term use greatly impairs your endocrine system and it becomes a roller coaster of what it makes you feel, I believe this where the aggression/irratabity comes from because the hormones in your body become imbalanced from the overtime spring your endocrine does. So you feel awake but not happy or euphoric like once affected you. The rigidity and concentration are there but the test you took these for makes you angry or depressed cause hormones are whack so you begin concentrating on the distractions you were trying to avoid. After 10 hours of playstation 3 you reluctantly cram for couple bours. Most of the time you don't sleep. Then before you leave for your test you couldn't dare think of eating. So you are depressed from sleep deprivation, brain & body are starved from lack of nutrients and hormone imbalance leaves you irratiable. The point is it is dangerous drug though it really does not seem that way at first. Getting a prescription seems like it is an A+ in a bottle but if don't really need these then it ends up doing way more harm than good. Of course everyone uses those trigger phrases to justify their need for it "I can't co concentrate" "I procrastinate" and "I have tough time finishing one task." Don't think people realize that people who do actaully have ADHD can't do those three things to their own extreme detriment such as losing their career, separated from spouse, and suffer severe depression knowing full well all they have to do is follow up and finish just one task but there live sinks lower they still can't. This is what happens to good portion of adults with undiagnosed ADHD. By most accounts after prescription they only take the recommended does and many see a complete reversal in success in work, and relationships. What I am curious about is how many of you prescribed would have the same problem? If you didn't have adderral would you procrastinate and lose concentration that you failed not just one test but multiple test until you flunked out of school? I bet after one failure you would realize I procrastinate because who really wants to study when there are so many other things to do. It doesn't take drug to help you concentrate it really is just a matter of will power. After I got off of it I had to be a little better at scheduling times to study but my essays were more creative and took for less time to write because I did obsess for hours on one paragraph. My experience was it was a quick fix but over the long haul it actually stunts your potential. Just my experience though.

Serendip Visitor's picture

I refuse to believe...

that you made it through college, much less through law school. Your spelling and composition are horrible. There is no way you wrote all the papers required to finish law school if the is the quality of work you turned in. Just my experience though.

Serendip Visitor's picture


he made it through law school to listen to people like you give him/her shit. i think after spending all that time typing all those papers and what not, they are not going to give one hoot or holler about proper anything especially a forum. C***. anyway im curious to know, how many of the 10mg little blue buggers i should take before actually feeling anything.

Serendip Visitor's picture


Adderall is ok and helpful to everyone ya? Agree on some fronts and intense;y disagree on others... as a recreational user ( usually oral vyvanse as it lasts longer but adderal maybe three times in a year at mos)- I find MYSELF able to not crave this and use it in increasing amounts or times. I enjoy the effect for specific situations, and then forget it the rest of the year until I am in a situation or have a task that I feel adderall will help me with or enhance my ability to complete more efficently.

That said, I have a ex friend, who started adderall as well in school for exam reasons. Within her first day and dose of ever taking it, she was asking for more within three days and is now taking an average minimum of SEVEN 20mg adderalls a day or as many as she can get. She was a THEFT prevention officer at a very good department store, and since she tweaks so much off the adderall, she fell asleep on the cameras, left the entire department store open all night as well when she woke up and left work.

She was fired the next morning. Her daughter is nine. She has not been enrolled in the third grade yet, because mom is now too tired and tweaked out too WALK HER KID HALF A BLOCK to the bus station, or to ever get up earlier than 10 or 11 am. No exagerattions, this little girl has not been to one day of school yet as of october 24th this school year. I as a concerned family member will be intervening this week, calling the school, etc, because obvious intervention is needed here as it is fundamental for the child to recieve at least the opportunity of a basic education and she is being denied this because the lure and effects of adderall for her mother, as a specific person, elicited a VERY strong adfdiction, her "drug of choice"

THAT ALSO SAID, I am a 8 year recovered heroin addict. I was on the needle for a long time. I am a young woman who is in college and put this behind me 8 years ago. I do not consider myself an acticve addict, as I have never relapsed on my drug of choice, and do not have a pull to any drugs to abuse them heavily or cause physical dependance in any way besides opiates... which I voluntarily turn down at surgeries, etc, because addiction is more HEAD than the actual drug, and I think adderall is just as lethal as shooting heroin ON A PERSON TO PERSON SPECIFIC BASIS. Your chemical and hormonal makeup, along with your lack of or established mental issues have a role in whether or not adderall is going to be " a best friend oir worst enemy" (or in my case an aquantiance I see two to three times a year) . What makes me loathe alcohol, and not crave to abuse other drugs, but I am immediatly addicted to opiates? It has to do with our levels of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephidrine ( i know i spelled this wrong) rtespectoivley, and people who have a predisposition to be low in any of these, have a tendancy to become physiolocially dependant and psychologically dependant on those drugs that effect the reuptake of these chemicals in our brains, respectivley.

Serendip Visitor's picture

I have a question... Why is

I have a question... Why is this a bad thing? If more people are getting higher scores on tests this is a GREAT thing. I know plenty of kids that don't take Adderall that do way better academically than kids that do take it. It is all in will power. If you don't want to harm your body with drugs (like me) good more power to you. It is not like Adderall makes people magically learn material anyway. If some kids are aware of the risks and it helps them focus on homework then how is this bad? Most research shows this drug is harmless, but there is always opposition that say it is addictive (like marijuana). These people are the kids and parents of kids who fear competition. The same kids who are always making excuses for how everything is somebody else's fault. Take some responsibility (or Adderall) and hit the books. Andrew Carnagie, one of the most successful and caring barons said "And while the law of competition may be sometimes hard for the individual, it is best for the race, because it ensures the survival of the fittest in every department." Maybe when they make a drug that directly teaches you some then you cry foul. Also anyone that has ADHD and says it makes them normal are lying to themselves. Some of my friends have bad ADHD and got prescribed to Adderall turning them in to zombies. Maybe an extremely small dose would make them "normal", but these days doctors are handing them out like candy. They could think that it makes them normal due to tolerance build up, constant use, or finally achieving average grades.

Serendip Visitor's picture

if you think Aderall isn't a

if you think Aderall isn't a bad thing at all, read this article:

I think that maybe this drug could be okay, but overall, it really shouldn't be used recreationally at all. I can cause an addiction, one that this young man never gave up. Yes, in the short term it could be a good thing, but overall it is very bad.

Serendip Visitor's picture


Its not the addictive part that is really bad.


Irritable, itching, aggressive!!! ANGER towards the smallest things....tics. It's like dealing with an abusive hardcore alcoholic. I'm dealing with a spouse who's been on it for two years. She's having thoughts of "being alone because its easier"... but hasn't thought about what that means. (Me taking our children away)

It's very scary. Evil. It's like the "Black Spiderman" suit.

PLEASE. If someone you love is taking this, please warn them of the side effects.

Visitor's picture


To everyone who is trying to get a fake prescription from your doctor, forget it. Yes you can bullshit to your doctor and he/she may prescribe you the drug (if you make your case sound legit) but for those just talking to their doctor to see if they would give you a prescription just for studies, papers ect. you're out of luck. Giving out fake prescriptions is a felony and I doubt your doctor is going to risk his or her career for you. On the other hand, having friends can get you places. Chances are if you have at least one friend that uses drugs recreationaly such as weed they probably know someone that can get you adderall, and if they don't they know someone that knows someone that can. So be social. Anyway adderall isn't harmfull for people without ADD or ADHD in small doses, but be carefull, It is addictive and can in the long run lower performance for someone who is not on the drug and that has become dependent. If you do decide to take the drug (i admit i have in the past and probably will in the future for uber important assignments) just be smart about it. Don't be an idiot and pop one or two for every exam, every paper, or every little assignment. Same thing for most things in life aka MODERATION!!! Plus people genreally don't just give this shit away for free, everything cost money. If you do begin to use a lot you will notice a more serious disease known as beign broke!

Serendip Visitor know it all's picture

Adderall vs cannabis just a little education

Weed is not a drug. It is actually a plant formally named cannabis.

Marijuana is a plant containing a psychoactive chemical, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), in its leaves, buds and flowers. Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug, with forty-two percent of American adults reporting that they have used it.

Despite the fact that marijuana's effects are less harmful than those of most other drugs, including alcohol and tobacco, it is the most common drug that people are arrested for possessing. U.S. marijuana policy is unique among American criminal laws in being enforced so widely and harshly, yet deemed unnecessary by such a substantial portion of the population.

Read up :)

Adderall is unfortunately a drug that contains amphetamines.

You tell me which is worst.

Serendip Visitor's picture


I like your answer. You have a point

AJFRESHMAN's picture

College freshman

1st month in college n i know everyone thinks i would party my ass off but no cuz my college is not a party school apparently. I have no job and a slim social life because of the dullness of my area and because of this i planned to excell in class in order to gain greater scholarships and transfer to better school with hope of a better future than i would gain at my current school. I played it straight and i can already feel the pressure of college folding in. High school, high fought through the difficulty and managed above a 3.0 gpa but led me to immature bouts of frustration and depression. College has already proven to be more difficult and a great urge of refusal to go thru what i did in high school is making this boost seem really promising. I just want to do good and live comfortably in college. No more stress plz.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Your post

This goes for everyone considering to take adderall from someone with ADHD who's been on it since second grade.

Alright it's pretty understandable that you would want to obtain this boost to help you out but seriously, if you're going to do it only use it for studying for midterms and exams and maybe for assignments. I have ADHD and have been taking adderall ever since I was in grade 2 (which I was failing at the time and they thought I had a learning disability, after getting tested in a controlled environment however, they found out that I was in the 97th percentile for math, meaning that I was equal or better than 97 percent of people my age). They diagnosed me with ADHD and my life turned around after I started my medication (Adderall XR).

Fast forward to today: I'm currently enrolled in university and have been pretty much off of my adderall for most of my time here except for some midterms and exams. Here is the thing: When you take this drug you'll notice your drive kick up a few notches and you'll start to be able to work so much faster and better and it'll feel great. This is why it's so addictive. The reason I stopped taking it was originally just out of immature "going against the system" type reason in high school, but I later found out a few things that scared me:

-People using the drug long term become dependent on it for motivation. This is simply because the drug motivates you, so you will forget how to motivate yourself and when you stop taking it you are likely to have an even more difficult time trying to motivate yourself

-If you have a predisposition to schizophrenia, Adderall may accelerate or amplify it and may have very detrimental effects in the long run

-As it says in the article: people without ADHD have regular levels of dopamine in their frontal cortex. If you spike this level of dopamine by taking Adderall, you're going to push the limits of your capacity. It's kind of like the movie limitless but obviously at a lower scale. If you force your brain to function at a higher capacity than it's supposed to YOU'RE GOING TO BURN OUT.

Anyways guys, back to me. As I said I've been trying to stay off it because I'm fearful that I won't be able to motivate myself in the future and even though I can easily have a lifelong prescription to the stuff, I kinda don't like relying on pills to succeed. My first year of using it as I said above went well and my GPA is at 3.08 so about a B+. Second year is starting up and I am really worried that I will fall behind, in fact I already am behind. Today I took a quarter of my old dosage (My old dosage was 80mg, I took about 20mg today) and it's like night and day for me. I thought after not taking it for so long that I had found my way around it and I would do ok but the simple matter is I still have way too much difficulty concentrating and I cannot afford to do poorly in school anymore. I think that the only reason I was still doing good in university to this point is because after seeing what I'm capable of on the drug throughout middle school and most of highschool, I know that I am smart and can get good grades so that was enough motivation in itself to still do well.

Obviously the decision is yours guys but I know a lot of people who have been doing it way too much, more than myself who actually has the frigging disorder!

Don't become dependent on it, you can rationalize this all you want and say it's for a just cause and that it can't hurt me that much but it doesn't take much to slip and it's a steep slope to go down guys. Use me as an example, like me I'm sure most of you are perfectly capable of achieving good grades or at least satisfactory ones, you just need the discipline. You need to yell at yourself in your mind and be harsh, like a Drill Sergeant in the military. That's how I am with myself when I'm not on my pills and it's been enough for awhile like I said, and I'm the one who is actually supposed to be getting this medication.

You have been warned, please don't do anything stupid.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Where do you get it?

Where do you get the adderall if you don't have a prescription?? I go to ASU and I'm a freshman, and I've realized that college is kind of challenging. I'm an extremely well rounded student, but I need a little more help with the studying concept because in high school, studying was redundant and there was no need for it. Where can I buy the adderall if I don't have the prescription?

Serendip Visitor's picture

go to your doctor and tell

go to your doctor and tell him/her you have trouble concentratiing in classs, ect. actually list all REAL problems you are having. EX. I'm having trouble completing all my homework, i lose concretion in class and i get stressful trying to finsih work,,.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Do you really think that

Do you really think that would work?? I feel like doctors would be able to see through BS.
I'm not an addict or anything, my friend has ADHD and he let me try some Adderall and it helped so much. I only take it when I'm studying though.

laurel's picture

it doesn't sound like bs to a

it doesn't sound like bs to a doctor if its a legitimate reason which it sounds like your reason is legitimate. just talk to your doctor and im sure you will get a prescription. if not, asu is a huge school (im a freshman at asu as well) and i know 3 people who have a prescription for adderall. the same to you, ask around and if you know any one that sells marijuana im sure you could ask them and they could give you a contact. good luck, just be careful.

John's picture

replying to you

I have an answer for you, email me at I can seriously help you out and talk with you about this.

Serendip Visitor's picture


Hey I was wondering about the whole adderall prescription. All my life I feel like I have had ADHD. I find it really hard to even have conversations with people sometimes, because Im always looking at something else. Is there anyway I can get a prescription for this??

Serendip Visitor's picture


Can you help me get some Adderall?

Serendip Visitor's picture


I saw your comment on the adderrall article and was wondering if you have also help me? I want to talk to my doctor but i dont know if he will send me back without it and making me agree to what hes saying ?

Serendip Visitor's picture


Yeah, what is your email address?

Serendip Visitor's picture

What's your email address??

What's your email address??

Serendip Visitor's picture

The Silk Road!

Most people will buy the pills from someone who does have a prescription, like a friend or family member.... or the same person they buy weed/lsd from XD. If you can't find someone at ASU (which I find hard to believe), then you should read up on the Silk Road. It's an online black market where you can buy virtually any drug you want, regardless of its legal status. You'll need to be a little bit tech-savvy and patient, though.

Good luck!

Enjoy college!

Anne's picture

Parents don't know their parents

Wow, that is really sad. Life gets busy, and stressful, and difficult for everyone- even parents..and sometimes we let things slip through the cracks, not meaning to. But I know I strive to stay connected with my children and absolutely WANT to know everything my children think, and feel and love, and hate, whether I like it or not. We learn so much from EACH OTHER! Sometimes we don't agree, and sometimes we fight, but we fight because they do have their own ideas and feelings on things and so do I, and when we're passionate about what we believe in, we can BECOME PASSIONATE about it in a discussion- hence the fight. Do let your parents know how you feel, and what you think, and let them know you. There are some parents out there that have had a rough upbringing and just aren't wired to be able to do that, I know...but if that's the case, find a person to talk to, that is happy, and successful in life... doesn't mean they have alot of money...just find peace in life..that's what makes you successful..but find someone to talk to that you can BE PASSIONATE with... good or bad...

I am a child of the 70's and LOVED black beauties... they helped me work 3 jobs and raise a child on my own, and I was looking for an alternative, which is how I landed here. Not sure this is the thing for me either.. but I'm just checking out the info... friends have told me I have ADHD... so maybe, but I think I will talk to the dr. before making any decisions. Though they've said depression, which I know my family has a chemical imbalance, causing depression, I can usually pull myself out of that, and if not I know it's probably pms week and will go away a little with a little more rest. But man I sure would like to clean my house as quick and easy as I did in the old days before black beautys disappeared. :)

Serendip Visitor's picture

some are smarter than others

If your concern is the "fairness" of these pills, you may be barking up the wrong tree. Some students are much more capable than others based on their parents income, education, race, etc. if your goal is to level the academic playing field, start with the gross institutional failures. If however you are concerned about droves of college students bumping crank, as if it is anything other than that... That seems a reasonable concern.

Serendip Visitor's picture


Okay, just like anything everything in moderation. I was diagnosed with ADHD when i was a sophomore in high school. I was put on different medications but adderall was the only thing that worked and continues to work for me today. Before taking adderall I was studying the same amount of time but had to read everything 6 or 7 times because I couldn't focus enough. I was making maybe C's at best and I was really trying. I just thought maybe I was average to below average. When I went on adderal, it's not that everything was easier but it was easier for me to organize my assignments and the medication allowed me to think clearly and figure out how to accomplish the tasks at hand. It's not a miracle because I still struggle with my attention span but with adderall my life is managable and I'm currently a law student in my second year. It's ridiculous that people take this that DONT have adhd. It allows for an unfair advantage because there brain already normally functions, so they are actually functioning at a higher function then if I were to take it. Adderall has aided in my success as a student and my career. However the drug didn't read the textbooks for me or type the papers. I did that.

greensavage's picture

The U.S. is the only country

The U.S. is the only country in the world where adderall is legal. Some countries, such as Japan, go so far as to completely ban all amphetamine based drugs, so even if you have a prescription of the drug, you can't legally take it into the country. I think that says a lot about the nature of the drug and how destructive it can be. I personally feel that U.S. policy on prescription drugs is crazy. The amount of anti-depressents and opiates that the U.S. population is on is outrageous. I don't understand how marijuana can be legal but there's a good chance that half of your neighbors are legally doing uppers and/or downers all day with very little criticism while the one pot-head kid in the neighborhood gets a bunch of shit from everyone. I think that it's possible for adderall or ritalin to be helpful in a few cases, if the patients are being properly diagnosed, but I also think that there must be an alternative. Can we really blame desperate, overwhelmed college students for snatching up such an advantage when it presents itself. It's not fair. The job market is so competitive that one has to be equally competitive in school if they're to get a job right after graduating. The stakes these days are just so high and I think it's pushing people over the edge. I blame the FDA and I blame the school system. Young adults these days barely have a chance.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Only the US?

I just wanted to correct your statement that adderall is only legal in the U.S. It is also legal in Canada and without a "triplicate" prescription which is used for narcotics.

I'm On One's picture

Very good point.

To be honest I'm under the influence of an adderall right now. I'm glad I decided to check out articles on the internet about recreational use of adderall. I've only been using it for a couple months. I was previously a "Pot Head. It was such a major change when I quit smoking to taking adderall everyother day. It made such a major difference and I was very progressive. I can honrstly tell you I love the feeling, but I do realize and feel the addictive feeling kicking in. I haven't bought anymore, b/c I feel that I need to slow down.

Serendip Visitor123's picture


ADDERRAL IS NOT ADDICTIVE anymore than say Benadryl or Tylenol!!!! You are abusing it not addicted to it, there is a difference. Maybe you have bult up tolerance but that is not the same as addiction. Ask a psychiatrist

Mon's picture

This is correct!

Adderall is not physically addictive, this comment is correct! Many people become psychologically addicted to it though but honestly, that's their own fault for taking too much too often. They're flat out abusing it and that's where the problem lies. I've seen people in my office claiming physical withdrawal from just 20mg of adderall per day- the doctors (all highly respected psychopharmacologists) just tell them they're being ridiculous. However, because this drug has such a high potential for abuse, it's classified as a schedule II substance, the same as oxycontin. Much to the pain of the people that have it prescribed to them but can't get more than 30 days at once, no refills allowed. People that truly need it often get treated like drug seekers. The DEA should probably spend more time effectively identifying the docs prescribing massive amounts of it instead of making it hard for everyone.

Guest's picture

Adderall is probably the best

Adderall is probably the best thing and worst thing I've ever taken. The "high" and being on the edge feeling you get is really helpful if you wanna get stuff done, but if you want to go hang out with friends or go do social things, I'd be cautious taking it. From my experiences, I turn into a narcissistic fuck head when I take it and I really start to piss people off. Once you're on it for a little while, you'll get used to how it acts towards you and you'll learn how to start acting like yourself on it. It also makes your bladder go on a rampage and maybe an accelerated heart beat. All I take is 20mg and that'll get me through like 4-5 hours (I'm 140 5'11")

busy bee's picture

what about addieup?

I had thought about using adderall but i was thinking about addieup. i work full time and go to school full time for EMT (later doing paramedic). i gotta do both because i got a two year old and alot of bills. starting this week is internship, 72 hrs ride time and 24 hrs ER time is required by the end of july. well since i either work or go to school (not one single day off) i actually have to do my internship (minimum 12 hr shift) overnight, go to class, overnight, go to class. so basically for the next 4 wks i have to do a 48 hr push once a week. i was wondering if addieup would help for this? i wouldnt take it for anything else. but i dont want the jitters, rash from coffee and i need to stay alert (school and assisting on an ambulance). next semester i plan on working in a hospital while i do my paramedics. 3 day apart from 5 day work week plus school might make it easier to squeeze in intenship. but thats wat i have to do this semester, theres no backing out cuz the class is paid for and i gotta suck it up for the next month. everyones entitled to opinions, but id like to hear anyone who has tried addieup and if it would help me through 48hrs of no sleep. its possible, i did it in the military but we were more scared into staying awake so it was easier lol

Serendip Visitor's picture

Add for school, Sober for work

If u do plan on going through with the boost i suggest u only use the boost for school and nothing else.

Steven's picture

College full time + work full

College full time + work full time = suicide

But respect you manage do it. I just don't see why anyone would put themselves in that situation.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Bad idea. Don't do it.

Bad idea. Don't do it. Drug-fueled 48 hour shifts put you and others at risk (your 2 year old, your patients, etc.) Come up with a healthier, saner way to accomplish your goals.

Serendip Visitor's picture



Serendip Visitor's picture

Best Friend

Really if you limit yourself to no more than 30 mg of adderall 3-4x per nothing bad is going to happen. Even then 30 is really pushing it, for myself 10mg is all I need to be able to knock out three days worth of work in a night. Even then its not doing the work for you, it's not NZT from the movie Limitless, it just allows you to work better, faster, and harder. Oh and I can still work well,without it too? Ya don't say? But why waste valuable time? Negative side effects? From what I have seen in myself and friends much like when you have to much caffeine your heart rate will be a little higher, you need to stay hydrated, and remember to eat. This all seems like common sense to me. Since using adderall like this for roughly three years I haven't been depressed, or going down some dark path to drug abuse, on the other hand, I have less stress in my life, I don't have to worry if I'll get my work done, or if I can stay awhake to study, I have always made As and Bs, but why waste time working harder when I can work smarter and have more time to enjoy life? These pills aren't gateway drugs, those who snort them, and use them for stupid things like partying and getting high are the problem, and they would probably have stumbled upon harder substances one way or another.

Dirty South TV's picture

Another Adderall Alternative

Someone mentioned AddTabz as an alternative to Adderall. Another one is AddieUP. I take one every other day (I don't like taking something every day) and it keeps me focused without any kind of crash. I am extremely careful with what I take--I even hesitate to take a little Aspirin--so I came to AddieUP with a little skepticism. But now I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who is looking for an alternative to something as dangerous as Adderall.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Short term use.

I got some Adderall X-R from my friend to help me study, since 4th or 5th grade I haven't been able to focus and my grades have done nothing but get worse over the years. In 8th grade the school counselor evaluated me and said I ADD, since then I have bounced around programs and am in the last week of my senior year in high school. I am taking my courses at the local Community College for dual credit and have been taking adderall for 3 days now, the first day I felt almost high but also more productive than ever (which isn't hard to top). Yesterday I felt normal just able to comprehend what my professors were talking about really well, and today I felt about the same and decided to look up some info on this drug since I didn't know much about it. I'm no doctor but to be honest this shit is concerning, though I come from a highly addictive family background I don't think this would get addicted after 3 days. I plan to use it for another couple days not to really cram but to comprehend and complete the busy work, after schools over I won't have any left. If somehow felt like I couldn't study without it, could would my three month vacation from school help me regain my feeling of independence? Also what I have learned these days, if your a smoker and you take adderall, buy electronic cigs because myself and all my friends who smoke and are on addie are smoking like chimneys.

Bryan Daniel's picture


I have personally witnessed the effects of Adderall. I have not been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD by the doctor. However, I definitely feel that I have one of the two. I took an Adderall that belonged to my little brother, just 1 a day does it for me. Without them it feels like I'm in a tornado; I feel helpless, confused, lost, scrambled. On Adderall, it's like the fog has been lifted, and suddenly clarity reverberates throughout my whole being. However I have felt side effects like excessive energy which takes form in me being a little jittery, but that's to be expected since it was prescribed specifically for my little brother. Other than that though I really do think ADD and ADHD exist and those who claim it doesn't exist clearly don't HAVE it. It really pisses me off when people are like, "Oh you just need to try, you aren't trying hard enough." But, you see, that's the thing: I try so hard in school to concentrate, but simply cannot. Not to be too religious or anything, but I have even prayed before asking god why the hell I feel so stupid, so confused, so damn lost. Striving to do whatever was best for me, I questioned as to whether I should use Adderall or not, and normally I feel like I would have felt a bad feeling of some sort, but I felt nothing, which for me meant "go for it". The outcome has been amazing yet so simple: I can concentrate now.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Just some info and advice for you


I thought I would reply and give you my opinion before posting to this mess of a blog in general, as I think you would HIGHLY benefit from seeking answers from your FP (family physician). I am not sure how old you are, but there are definitley some things you should concider before continually stealing your younger brothers medication.
ADD/ADHD is a neurological disorder, and involves the neurotransmitters in the CNS.With that being said, many neurological dz's involving inbalances in neurochemicals and transmitters are linked to being "genetic or hereditary" (from depression to schizophrenia). If you have a family member effected by one of these, your disposition is a lot higher then if there is no hx. That, combined with the issues/symptoms you described, makes it very probable that you are ADD or ADHD. HOWEVER, with that being said....

You need to speak with your physician regarding these issues, not provide yourself tx! There are many things we do and monitor for children AND adults on Adderall. After speaking with your physician they will either dx and tx you themselves, or they will send you to a Psychologist for more accurate dx and tx. Either way there are MANY things that should be inquired on before beginning such a powerful CNS stimulant like Adderall. Such as your personal and family health and mental states and hx, any past hx of drug abuse, family hx of abuse, etc. Along with some simple blood and urine tests to ensure good health. Then, after all of that fun stuff you will still need to be closley monitored by your physician ( well, good one anyways) at least monthly (since Adderall is NO LONGER prescribied with any alotted refills regardless) to monitor your weight, HR, B/P and to monitor your doseage until it is correct.
Adderall is and can be used very effectivley for ADD in the right dosage, this is why is it "safe" for presciption and tx with young children (as young as 5) but if you DO NOT have ADD or if you are abusing the medication, the effects are basically the opposite. Make sense? Taking his medication is only going to hurt him in the long run. If he is not getting what he needs, he looses. And there is really no reason to do so, since you should likley have your own.
Also are you aware that stealing your brothers medication is... well hate to be the downer, but it's illegal. And I do not just mean like steal your Mother's ibuprofen illegal. Maybe some of you should invest your time in looking into some of that, since you believe Adderall makes you all so much more efficient ;-) Not only could that land you in jail, but if his physician finds out, (which when you are given the exact amount every month, will not take long sweetie) they will almost have no choice but to hold his script until it is sorted out. THAT is just how controlled this substance is, literally. How many of you who acyually recieve a script from a physician have gone into your pharmacy in past couple years to fill your Adderall and had the Pharmacist tell you that they cannot fill it until the 1st? Then for any of you who have asked Why? You were told that the FDA had released the MAXIMUM amounts of tablets for that month. There is not a SINGLE other prescription medication that is monitored this way and it is because of people like these college kids that have made it this way. And why would the FDA do that anyways? Could give you a script forVicodin... or Norco 10/325 #90 w/ 2 refills (thats 270 tabs) and never hear another word... but if your script ONLY has #60 on it and not #60-SIXTY they cannot fill it?
**JUST KEEP IN MIND THAT ADDERALL IS HIGHLY EFFECTIVE IN TX OF ADD/ADHD BUT IT IS AN AMPHPHETAMINE, ANY WAY YOU LOOK AT IT. And yes, AMPHETAMINE AND STREET DRUG METHAMPHETAMINE ARE CLOSLEY RELATED, THERES NO COINCIDENCE THERE. The effects of Adderall, especially when being misused and abused are like the effects of cocaine or other amphetamines such as hightened levels of alertness, paranoia, feeling jittery/restlesness, insomnia, and decreased appetite and more seriously: fast/irregular HR, trouble breathing, irritability/hostility, etc. And I will not even go from there. It is a powerful CNS stimulant and was commonly used in patients with Narcolepsy first.
So these are all things for you to look into and coincider and then you should have your own Eval and Assesment done. You will feel a lot better about things :-) AS FOR....ABOVE

I am not sure what some of these college kids are thinking, but it sounds to me like they are thinking like just that... college kids. Do not let these people fool you. There are notably a vast majority of high-performing, high functional adults with ADHD who do not "need" to be medicated all the time. What it comes down to for MANY (espeically the younger popuation) people is the psychological and physical addiction, which stems from the misuse and abuse of the prescription..... and word of mouth like this that there is a medication out there that will give you a ton of energy and help you to complete mulitple tasks in short amounts of time and blah blah blah. JFYI- thats the AMPHETAMINE talking. If that is how you feel then you are taking to much, or you do not need it. And to be quite honest, whatever you THINK you did or can do while on Adderall that is "so amazing"... its really not. Actually keep track of what all you completed and the time that lapsed next time, and you will see. I really hope you all think twice the next time you would like to take Adderall to complete something you are to lasy to do on your own, and maybe take some time to find out what your doing to yourselves exactly. Have you ever tried 5 hr energy? Or hell, even a few Redbulls!? All you have to do it start typing on Google... "side effects of ad" and there it is! Not to mention what the consequences of being caught could be exactly. And DO NOT think that your physician is stupid or blind and you can just research ADD online and waltz in looking for a script like some of these people did. Maybe you'll fool them once or twice, the drug will speak for itself, and you'll be labeled in your med records as a drug seeker. This has become such a common thing in the past 10 years tha most FP and Internists will not even dx, prescibe or tx adults anymore for the fear of situations like that, they refer you straight to Psych. And I do not care that a Psychiatrist said that "taking Adderall occasionally to complete your homework is fine... no harm or side effects" (and is that a factual, documented statement by the way? Just wondering?) no Doctor of Medicine would ever agree to that, at least not one that I know? And trust me, I should know ;-)

Serendip Visitor's picture

Go to a doctor

You should seriously consider getting prescribed, as you clearly seem to need it, and your brother already relies on it. Don't get your brother in trouble!

Serendip Visitor's picture

Worst Enemy- DON'T TAKE IT!!!!

Let me begin by saying I have never posted anything on anyones site but I am about to take my 23 year old to a drug rehab facility for an assessment today
so if this stops just one of you from taking this DRUG....
I have watched my daughter slip away after 5 years on adderall and now vyvnase-
she started in college after convincing both me and her doctor that she had ADD-
I agreed despite my better judgement and "mom instincts" - and trusted her doctor.-
once she turned 18 - I had no parental control to stop the prescriptions from coming.
She doesn't do any other drugs and drinks very little- so for those of you that think this can't happen to me- think again.
Fast forward 5 years later- she has dropped in and out of college, has trouble maintaining jobs and relationships and has a drug dependency on this crap.
She is going because she has no place else to go- but believes since it is a prescription drug not "like coke or meth" - she can't be addicted.
Her body is so depended on this she can't function without it- withdrawal from any drug is really hard.
Don't fool yourself kids- this is SPEED - it is an AMPHETAMINE- in my day we called it an upper.
Cocaine has the same effect but most of you wouldn't dream of snorting a line to study for a test?-
Highly addicted- it is a "black box" labeled drug.

These drugs have a place in society for those that are truly ADD/ADHD- not to study for a test or ( for all the girls out there) for weight control.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Thank you

The negative responses to your comment are baffling...I guess I will never stop being surprised by the surrounding stupidity and lack of consideration of others. Regardless, I would like to thank you so much for sharing your tragic experience of your daughter and her struggle with prescription adderall. I am 21, and have been prescribed amphetamine salts for nearly 3 years now- I am trying to quit using the drug, and find all too often i have taken the pill when the previous day swore to myself to take the day off...there is no doubt that at least for me this drug is "addictive". Your entry was inspiring and will have an incredible impact on ceasing my use of adderall, again thank you so much.

Serendip Visitor's picture

I'm sorry about your

I'm sorry about your daughter. However, no offense but your daughter is at fault. I have taken adderall for over 6 years and was diagnosed with ADHD as a sophomore in high school. Everything should be in moderation, your daughter abused it and lied. It was not the drugs fault it was your doctor and to be honest your daughters fault for being decieving. This drug has helped me get my life together and allowed me the clarity to actually be able to sit down and read something and remember most of what i read. The drug doesnt do the work for me, i do the work. Your daughter was irresponsible and is a liar.

Dennis Hudson's picture

I am very concerned about my

I am very concerned about my daughter. She is 25yrs old has a 6yr old son and she has been taking Anderson for at least 2 yrs. She is noool and doesnt work. If she weighs 80 lbs she is lucky. Face is all broke out,hair fallin out and very irritable. The Dr is all giving her the add erall and she thinks its ok. In watching my daughter die a slow death and not even sure this is all she is doing. I don't know what to do

Serendip Visitor's picture

That's a little harsh...

I'm sorry, I all I got from reading your reply was that you're a bit of a bigot. First of all if you were really taking your daughter to a rehabilitation facility, why the hell are you on a forum reading an article titled, "Adderall: College Students' Best Friend-- Or Worst Enemy??". You obviously had some pre-conceived intentions regarding your response to the article, considering that you have probably already done your fair share of research for the past five years.

Second of all, everyone has their opinions regarding Adderall use for studying, but please do not preach about your "personal" drug abuse struggles. Every human being is a product of their upbringing and their environment. Now, I'm not saying that you're the reason why you're daughter is the way she is, I am merely suggesting it. So please consider the possibility that there is an emotional problem that stems from your daughter's personal relationships with her family, friends, teachers, or coworkers. Simply writing on a forum about what seems to be complaining about your disappointment in your daughter's decisions (which all, from what you wrote, seem to only be failures). It's always easier to blame something or someone else for a loved one's personal struggles. Blaming things blindly is merely directing the blame to something other than yourself.

Finally, I don't quite understand why she is going to a drug rehab facility for Adderall. How bad is her addiction really? The fact that you said she doesn't do any drugs or drink is VERY hard for me to believe. If she has a drug problem it wouldn't be impossible that she's experimented with alcohol or other drugs as well. Also, if she really is only taking Adderall, and it has presumably ruined her life directly, how did it lead her to drop out of college, ruin her relationships, and prevent her from holding a job exactly? There are thousands of people in the work force that have dropped out of college, ruined their relationships, and can't hold a job that I'm sure are not on any type of prescription medication. So what makes your assumptions about your daughter's drug-related issues evidence for it being the direct cause?

Anyway, long story short: stop directly blaming ADDERALL, specifically, for your daughter's problems and then go trolling around forums about it. People come to these forums to read testimonials considering I'm sure the demographic of visitors to this particular article are mostly students that feel they are struggling academically --- which is why I'm here --- OR people who have actually experience with CONSUMING Adderall. And no, Google Images does not count ma'am. We don't come here to read some comment from a parent about not doing drugs. It's like you think the current generation hasn't heard enough of that crap already; we just think it will be different for us or we just don't care.

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