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

WTF is really going on here!

First off, who are you to be so cruel and judgmental of someone who clearly loves her daughter and is scared for her life! Second, how many milligrams of Adderall are u on right now? Lets see ....... You posted that in June . It is now October. I bet you are not only taking it for academic reasons now, but probably just to get out of bed in general. I also imagine that regardless of your Rx dosage amount, you have probably increased it substantially over time. You appear to be a walking billboard for this stuff. You and so many others on here lashing out to protect your beloved Adderall and what you justify as your right/reasons for having this drug. I didn't get on here to argue about whether it is physically addictive or not. Whatever this has become an epidemic.

Mark's picture

A bit critical...

From what I read, I believe your daughter is depressed and anxious. I don't think she's a drug addict. My advice to you, stop being so judgmental and blaming other people because you're dissatisfied with your daughter's life decisions. She isn't a bad person, in fact, that's completely normal for her age because there is so much pressure. I don't know very many people in their 20's who know exactly what they want to do with the rest of their life. That's actually a really daunting conflict with one's self.

Furthermore, your view on her problems in life is actually quite ignorant. Yeah, she messed up but you need to see her point of view before you get all abomination child on a public website. Your attitude won't help fight depression or anxiety because you're only giving her more to worry about. Eventually, that kinda shit will lead to suicide or suicidal tendencies; because she literally believes that she is so low to everyone else, that the world would be better off without her. She doesn't need rehab because of drug dependency, she needs it to resolve self conflict and to get away from people like you.

I'm sorry for being critical but you're only hurting your daughter by feeling this way.

Serendip Visitor's picture


Of course the girl is depressed and anxious. It's a side effect of Adderall abuse and addiction. At least read the label before you go demonstrating your own ignorance. Suicide is also a side effect of long term Adderall use because of the depression and anxiety it causes. And yes, it takes rehab to get the DRUG out of your system, just like any other drug. You're obviously upset because she criticized your lifestyle. Your response is clearly about your life experience and not the unknown daughter. I'm sorry your life is so difficult you need drugs to cope rather than your own ambition and drive.

p.s. Peer pressure is the oldest excuse in the book for people who don't want to take responsibility for their own decisions.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Trying to Understand:

It was a good thing that her mom did comment on this page. Sometimes it's just a way of reaching out for answers... It's not easy when you see you child start changing their attitude.. It can be soo many things and as a parent you just search for an answer. I agree that it may be depression or anxiety.From what I have learned is that as days go on and you feel in your gut that something is not right with someone then what they need to do is have them go speak to a psychologist.. She told her it was depression. I never would have even thought that depression was what it was for someone i love. I have a hard time understanding all that but her psychologist told her to see her dr. for ,medicine and she is on it now and sleeping and happy again... I tried to pinpoint what did it and yes she did take adderrall for a short time so i also wondered could it be that.. I will not know but in time maybe she will be off the medicine they prescribed for depression.. . The dr. said it's a good thing she wanted to go see a psychologist because it could get worse if nothing was done at all.... Seems there is alot more college kids going through the same thing.. She had friends tell her to seek . Thanks to those friends . I had that old fashion upbringing that you just be tough and deal with it... But i have really started seeing things in a different way now... Always speaking out no matter where is the best thing because it may be a good way to get some direction when feeling totally lost on what to do... And any conversation is good..Good LucK.

Debra Presley's picture

critical opinion

Mark, if you ask me you are the critical one. I'm sure this girls Mother knows her daughter well enough to know what is going on with her. I think it is really rude of you to tell her she is ignorant. Maybe you are the one who is ignorant to the situation . I'm sure her mother must have seen a change in her daughter's personality that raised a red flag.I think you should leave it up to the professionals to figure out if she is depressed and anxious. I don't think her mother is being judgmental , she is stating what she believe's to be facts. Which you would not be aware of because you are not a part of their day to day life. So i'm sure her mother will see she gets proper treatment for addiction or depression or what ever it may be. I think you need to mind your own business and stop giving such harsh opinions about somebody you really know nothing about. Chill out!!!!!!!!!!

Anon's picture

You know nothing.

Do you REALLY think parents know THAT much about their children? Ha. They don't. Do you think my parents know anything about my true intentions in life, or how I like to really enjoy my time, my ambitions or mental state of sound? No. They're parents. God forbid they really knew everything about me they'd break down in a nervous panic. I'm 20, and live life, I do stupid things that I do no regret, I have ambitions that they wouldn't understand. I tell them enough to be happy and let them know mainly what I'm doing in life, but not enough for them to be my best friend.

You're ignorant if you think you know your kid that well.

Serendip Visitor's picture

You're lying to the people

You're lying to the people who love you about who you really are inside. Why do you have to lie? You say you don't regret the stupid things you do. Why not? You think it is OK to use drugs for fun and use them as a crutch to make life easier. What does that say about you? I have my opinion, but I think your actions say enough.

Shelley's picture

That's the dang truth!

That's the dang truth! Parent's have no idea what is going on with thier children...I know this for a FACT because I have been dealing with my 23 year old daughter's behaviour problem's since she was 13. I would never presume to know what she is into or doing. It seems so messed up to me to have Parent's who are like "WHAT??" "NO!!!! " Good Lord, no matter how old we get, we all have a history and have all made mistakes..... I have learned to back off, because pushing makes it worse. Also, who says Adderall is that bad? I am 48 and now raising my daughter's 7 year old, and I take a 20 mg ad every couple of days. Otherwise, nothing would get done, college students are not the only one's with stress! I think everyone should evealuate thier own personal situations before judging others, no matter what the age.

JM's picture


What PLANET are you living on? Because on the Planet that I live on if you succeed in Uni, make it into your career, and move up, you're given almost literally EVERYTHING you can dream of, but if you trip up, miss a step, or fail just ONE semester, it's a LONG LONG fall to the bottom and there are now NO social programs to fall back on. "Hope for Change?" If I fail out, I'll be 'HOPING for Change at traffic lights.'

Even if you end up mildly addicted Aderall, because you use it for work do you really think your boss is going to care? No, he's going to promote you because you can get 10 TPMS reports finished in an hour while everyone else takes TEN hours.

I'll use anything I can to get the edge of the now WORLD-WIDE competition. You think the Chinese, Indians, or Europeans have anti-drug laws? NO, they don't even have a Drug Enforcement Agency. They will use ANY advantage to beat us out of jobs.

Serendip Visitor's picture


I'm living on Earth, what planet are you living on? You need drug assistance to succeed in life? Your boss won't care that you need drugs to perform. In fact, most bosses would probably encourage it if you were more productive and earned him more money. Why are you ruining your life to make someone else more money? Do you live for your boss? I can tell you who will care. Your friends and family.

You may be willing to use anything to get an edge on the competition, but I have news for you. There are side effects, and they are noticeable. No one enjoys working with an irritable donkey and there will ALWAYS be someone better at something than you; drug induced or not. Suck it up, be the best that you can be and enjoy the life that you have. It wont be as long, or as enjoyable if you have to pop pills to get anywhere.

Rest of the world's picture

Actually Adderall is only

Actually Adderall is only legal in Canada and USA. In other parts of the world, like Scandinavia, taking drugs to get through school is NOT normal. Not many people do that at all.. And still Norway and Sweden has been given the price of being the best country to live in several times. Norway is one of the richest countries in the world and compete Internationally. We still do not need drugs to become successful..You lazy ass!!

Sant's picture

Why do Scandinavian countries

Why do Scandinavian countries have the highest suicide rates in the world if it's such a great place to live?

Rob Pope's picture

About Norway

Norway actually is rich due to its vast oil reserves which it released. Odd place for false argument. Trolling much?

Amphetamines for ADHD makes sense. It works. Using it for "performance enhancement" is temporary for most students. Using these drugs over a long period of time will cause tolerance, therefore they typically are only used before important tests in college or even now high school. Efficacy of these drugs on grades are unknown. However, it is known that amphetamines do not directly improve memory.

My opinion, if you do have a difficulty time studying without these drugs for tests you may actually have ADHD. If you do not have ADHD and have a reasonable ability to focus it probably isn't going to help that much more than good old caffeine. The current college population seems willing to take anything but coffee. Be it Red Bull, 5 hours energy, or pills.

Shah's picture


I am ADHD and I have been diagnosed with a frontal cortex imaging scan. Basically for a person with ADHD or a
ADD it equals out our brain and makes , I can say for me , feel normal. Without use of medication , my brain has so many thoughts rushing in , I can't get them out quick enough Amd my insides feel like they r going crazy . I take a different drug, Desoxyn . Desoxyn is Methamphetamine and corn starch . It is
Rarely prescribed and t FDA approved and only recently even though it's patent has been expired for some time. Now , there has. Or been a generic till recently . 
This purpose but is used for this purpose . The difference in meth and amphetamine. Is the processing . Meth is
Done by the double process methylated and the effects r stronger and work a lot more quickly. They basically do the same thing except in testing the amphetamine Does not trigger the dopamine  to produce quick enough to create the proper effect for me to receive the proper effect needed. Desoxyn does do this for Memts
Due  to desoxyn being meth it is double methylated meaning  
It absorbs  quicker than an amphetamine .   It is more Fat soluable and crosses the blood brain barrier 
Easiier And does not have to Circulate through the blood over and over again to
Be absorbed into the Brain . Stimulants r dangerous if
MAO inhibitors .  
They r psychologically addictive and they can cause death if heart issues among others conditions that can also give this result or great diminish the
Outcome of other present medical
Conditions . These r drugs that need monitored by a physician and they r not safe to take to study with the attittude and thinking they r safe and will not cause harm as I have notice stated in these
Posts and the article . 

Not spell checked so hope all ok .

Serendip Visitor_Jess's picture

Don't f around with ady. It

Don't f around with ady. It really can ruin a life. Sure, the short term effects are awesome, but so few know the consequences, the insomnia, paranoia, the racing heart that's guna send you into cardiac arrest. Ady's really dangerous guys, and I do agree with a few previous comments that it's just a cheap, fake way to skate by. One takes in so much while using stimulants, that it's hard to ever effectively retain such knowledge that you just spent 6 hrs studying, and so on. Aside from the health concerns, you'll really miss out on learning valuable life skills if you're gunna fake it the whole time

Serendip Visitor's picture

Better alternatives out there

Used to take Adderall but gave it up, didn't like the side effects.. Been taking ADDTabz now since February and they work very well. I don't have diagnosed add so I needed something just to help me focus. I'm very easily distracted and lays pulled in 10 different directions. Just needed something to help me keep it all going at the same time.

Victoria's picture

Needs help,(heart proplems)

I thinking about taking adderall but i have a pace maker because i have heart proplems all my friends take it for test or late night studing but then again we arnt freshmen in college we are only freshmen in highschool, its not like we are bad kids we only use it for school related proplems. but i dont know if it would effect my heart at all, i was reading on and they were talking about how many people die if useing adderall and have heart proplems someone plllleeaassee get back to me on this!! my email is finals are coming up and i need to know what to do!!

Serendip Visitor's picture



Travis's picture

dont take it

I have ADHD and it speeds my heart up at times. If you do have ADHD then you should see a doctor on whether or not it would be good for you to take it. I say dont take it and stay on the safe side of things.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Before I give my own personal

Before I give my own personal opinion I'd like share a bit of my background.
The only drug I've ever taken previously was sleeping pills, like Ambien or Unisom. Now THIS is important. My first 2 years of high school I took them almost every night (I should add my parents were aware when I'd take them) I'd lie awake for at least 4 hours trying to get myself to just stop thinking and fall asleep, it never worked. Sleeping pills are HIGHLY addictive, but I never got addicted. The next 2 years I didn't take a sleeping pill at all because I didn't need them. I just stopped. After awhile I thought back why I was able to. The answer? Because I was lying awake unable to fall asleep due to the social pressures I was feeling at the time, like trying to be "cool" and my mind was fixated on that. I was able to stop because I didn't feel any pressure, I was fine with myself and it made everything simpler. I was taking this highly addictive medication for what I saw was reasonable, to be able to fall asleep and function the next day w/out drowsiness, and I was able to recognize when it was unnecessary.
I'm a freshman in college and I partied like crazy my first semester and did decent. This semester I'm taking harder classes and want to do great! So I completely stopped with the drinking, and during the break I asked a friend if he could get me some for when I need to study for tests. He never got me any, and I studied like crazy and made grades like 96s and such. It was awesome! Next tests I couldn't get myself to concentrate, as hard as I tried, didn't fully encompass the material and did horribly. This upcoming month is full of tests and finals, so I got some. There's only 2 subjects I'm majorly concerned about. I'm not going to use these for every test or everything that is hard in life. THAT is stupid. If I'm having a hard time grasping the information I need to know in short time, is taking Adderall really the worst thing I could possibly do? I've read a lot of these posts and it may be hard to believe but, there are people out there who can be exposed to drugs and not be dependent.
Identify reasonable purpose and remain optimistic that you could do without the drug. Stop when your purpose for taking it is achieved. People want to strive! But we weren't made to take substances, if you can go about reasonably to use it for a short amount of time then I don't see a problem with taking this drug. That is my honest opinion. Good luck :)

Serendip Visitor's picture

You are very right!

I completely agree with your stance. Personally, I believe that using Adderall as a study drug is a personal issue and no one elses. Thinking about the possible consequences (both good and bad) and truly analyzing yourself is what I think is the "safest" way to take a study drug. If there is a "safe" way to take an amphetamine that is....

I'm a junior in college and I've had my fair share of academic accomplishments and failures. I'm by no means dumb, but I'm also not smart either. So I have to study between 20 to 30 hours a week to do well in my classes (quarter system). Which really sucks balls when you're around people that put in half as much effort and do twice as better as you academically. Unfortunately some people are just better at things than other people, but I'm better at things that they're not particularly good at. But anyway, I'm a Physiology major and for the first time I took two 10 mg pills (it was a 20 mg pill that was split in half) in 48 hours to study for these two particular finals that I had within those 48 hours. I normally study about a week in advance but unfortunately time-constraints for other classes prevented me to do so.

I didn't see much of a difference in my ability to study, though. Other than having the ability to stay awake for 24 hours when I normally try to sleep 8 hours a night, I didn't see an increase in concentration or focus. In terms of productivity, I think that I accomplished just about as much stuff as I would have been able to without the drug. But, I'm pretty good at having the ability to sit down at a table and not get distracted by the nice weather, reddit, or Facebook and just cram as much info into my head as possible.

So personally, I took it because of the situation and because I wanted to experiment with it. Overall I didn't see much of a difference other than the ability to stay awake so I don't think that I'll be trying it again. Besides, I've gotten drug tested for internships and I don't want that shit to somehow prevent me from furthering my career. What if I had seen significantly better "studying" results? Well, I wouldn't take it again unless I needed to pull an all nighter and stay awake. But I've pulled only two in my life, and that was only because I had the ability to sleep before my actual exam. I know myself well enough to know I won't wake up early at 5 to start studying but I would rather push through an all nighter and sleep right before. So I normally get enough sleep and I study enough normally to know the material well and I don't need a supplemental drug to help me. So the only thing I get out of not using it is being proud of myself.

So for anyone else thinking about it: really think about yourself and how you apply yourself to school. Really try to apply yourself from the beginning and you can see where you really stand. You may find yourself to be more ambitious than you thought.

Serendip Visitor's picture


He did decent and wants to do great. Try learning English. Your denial would be amusing if it wasn't so sad.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Everyone is different.

Before I give my own personal opinion I'd like share a bit of my background.
The only drug I've ever taken previously was sleeping pills, like Ambien or Unisom. Now THIS is important. My first 2 years of high school I took them almost every night (I should add my parents were aware when I'd take them) I'd lie awake for at least 4 hours trying to get myself to just stop thinking and fall asleep, it never worked. Sleeping pills are HIGHLY addictive, but I never got addicted. The next 2 years I didn't take a sleeping pill at all because I didn't need them. I just stopped. After awhile I thought back why I was able to. The answer? Because I was lying awake unable to fall asleep due to the social pressures I was feeling at the time, like trying to be "cool" and my mind was fixated on that. I was able to stop because I didn't feel any pressure, I was fine with myself and it made everything simpler. I was taking this highly addictive medication for what I saw was reasonable, to be able to fall asleep and function the next day w/out drowsiness, and I was able to recognize when it was unnecessary.
I'm a freshman in college and I partied like crazy my first semester and did decent. This semester I'm taking harder classes and want to do great! So I completely stopped with the drinking, and during the break I asked a friend if he could get me some for when I need to study for tests. He never got me any, and I studied like crazy and made grades like 96s and such. It was awesome! Next tests I couldn't get myself to concentrate, as hard as I tried, didn't fully encompass the material and did horribly. This upcoming month is full of tests and finals, so I got some. There's only 2 subjects I'm majorly concerned about. I'm not going to use these for every test or everything that is hard in life. THAT is stupid. If I'm having a hard time grasping the information I need to know in short time, is taking Adderall really the worst thing I could possibly do? I've read a lot of these posts and it may be hard to believe but, there are people out there who can be exposed to drugs and not be dependent.
Identify reasonable purpose and remain optimistic that you could do without the drug. Stop when your purpose for taking it is achieved. People want to strive! But we weren't made to take substances, if you can go about reasonably to use it for a short amount of time then I don't see a problem with taking this drug. That is my honest opinion. Good luck :)

David's picture

Study Pills

I think people are people of looking at natural alternatives like Doxiderol to get them a boost. There are a number of issues with taking drugs like ADD especially since most people take it without a prescription.

ADHD Student's picture

I actually have ADHD and take

I actually have ADHD and take a moderate dosage of adderall every morning. Even without I was a fair student. I took college level classes in highschool and got As and Bs. However, I was extremely stressed out. I missed half to three quarters of every class by distractions, fidgeting, and daydreaming. I only got by for being intelligent. When I take Adderall it feels as if everything has been slowed down. Without everything seems to be on fastforward. Since this drug was prescribed for me I have seen a marked improvement in my grades as well as the anxiety I had has all but disappeared. When used in the correct way and when necessary, there is nothing wrong with this drug. And as for addictions, I do not take it on weekends or during holidays as during those times there is no reason my ADHD would cause problems. This drug should only be used when prescribed for people who need it for medical reasons.

Joshua's picture

If you do not have ADHD do

If you do not have ADHD do not abuse adderall you will regret it later. If you use it for studying, stop. You will eventually reach a point that you will not be able to think clearly without the adderall and you will never study without it. It will only get worse and worse to the point were you wont get out of bed in the morning without it. Yes that is extreme but the process happens quickly the more you abuse it. And for those of you that use it for studying to get better grades, are you going to be able to illegally buy adderall when you have a real job the rest of your life because your going to have to think at work everyday and use your head. Plus most jobs these days drug test and amphetamines will show up. I am prescribed 60mg adderall a day and I hate taking it. Take it long enough and it wont be the same ever again believe me or find out for yourself.

Dylan's picture


I took a 25 mg pill every day during exams (probably for 3 weeks) this year from a buddy that is prescribed it but doesnt use it daily. I know some people arent addicted, but i do have an addicted personality. I am an engineer at one of the most highly respected universities in Canada, Western University. I am now taking a course during the summer, and do not have excess to these pills. I do not want to depend on these drugs, I took them only to catch up in a course i thought would be a breeze, but didnt get the grades I thought I would. What would you recommend for me being able to focus like I used, drug free and independent? I chew a lot of skoal, that used to get me by for a couple hours of studying, but just doesnt do it for me anymore.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Waterloo is better for engineering

Hey budd,
if you want more let me know ;)

Serendip Visitor's picture

It's Poison

When I was first prescribed Adderall I thought it was the best drug in the was amazing and it gave me the motivation to start college, then to continue college, and eventually earn my degree while being a single mom.
I've been taking it for over 7 years now. I started taking Adderall my freshman year of college back in 2005. In early 2007, I became pregnant so I had no choice but to quit and honestly I felt great. Six weeks after the delivery, I started taking it again and went back to school. I graduated in Dec 2011 but I still need the drug. I can't get off of it and it must be in my system to wake up and function the next day.

Today, I don't feel that high anymore like I used too. It just makes me feel normal and i'm able to function and get out of bed to do my job as a mother, Before adderall and throughout grade school, I was perfectly normal and functioned just fine. I didn't need this crap but for college I thought it was the “Best drug in the world" yea my butt, this stuff is poison. I'm not prescribed anymore but I get it and I have it every day. Recently I've been trying to not take it and make myself get up and function but its hell and I feel sorry for my daughter because she doesn’t understand why mommy's acting different, so exhausted, not peppy, and short tempered.

So, I talked to my doctor about being mentally and physically dependent on this stuff.. ( Adderall or Vyvanse) because I feel so helpless and I shamefully questioned then admitted that I’m addicted….. And now, This imprudent neglentful Dr. thinks I need to be prescribed an anti-depressant. What?! No-Way I’m not replacing one drug dependency for another. This pill is serious.

Amelia42188's picture

Couldn't agree more

This is exactly what happened to me.

I wasn't the best student before I started taking adderall, but I got B's and C's. When I started taking adderall, I raised my GPA to 3.8. In my last year of college now, been taking it for 4 years. The thought of studying without it scares the crap out of me, and when I try I end up getting really anxious and either saying f*ck it, and not getting it done, or taking the adderall. I get crazy paranoia from adderall, really jittery, and feel sick every morning after I take it from the huge amounts of sleep aid that I need to take to come down off it.

I would give anything to be that B student again that wasn't dependent on medication.

JM's picture


You said Bs and Cs, at the school I am at a C=F. I got ONE C and had a one hour meeting with the Dean about 'what he could do to help me be a more successful student' which is code for 'you're one more C from being expelled.'

There are Indians, Chinese, and others at my school who would break down sobbing if they got even a B and have to spend weeks apologizing to their families.

Just wait until you get into your profession and Ying or Habibe in the cubical next to you has two masters degrees and ten IT certification, you'll be calling him boss soon enough.

Serendip Visitor's picture

true words...

true words...

curious visitor's picture


I have only taken addies for pleasure, never tried it for studying (although, now I think I will.) When I take addies, I feel amazing! Like all my senses are enhanced. Similar, but not quite as enhanced as in the movie "Limitless". If everyone in the world took addiies everyday, there would be an increase in college graduates, and a much more successful society.

David's picture

ginko bilboa

Healthy natural supplement that could do about the same.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Done with Addie

Personally I can't take adderall anymore. Long term effects are scary. Look into some of the alternatives. Most are labeled as dietary supplements and are OTC. These work just as well as, if not better than adderall for the short term fix that most of us loved about adderall. There are several on the market. The one I use is called AddTabz. Don't fall into the trap thinking that you have ADD unless a physician diagnosed you with it. Way too many of my friends say they take Addie because they have ADD. When I ask them when they were diagnosed with it they say they weren't. Bad idea taking Adderall long term unless you see a doctor...not to mention terribly expensive to buy Adderall from friends who have scripts for it.

Serendip Visitor's picture

i just read this while on

i just read this while on adderall,cant say that i would have if i wasnt on it

Serendip Visitor's picture



James Gunn's picture

Adderall Alternative

If your looking for a study pill, dont take adderall. Its not healthy and it does nothing for memory or long term brain health. Theres supplements that are much better. My favorite is Cerebral Success. adderall alternative

Serendip Visitor's picture

my opinion

Some of the comments I've read are messed up. Just because some can go without the drug & do a good job at college doesn't mean thats how everybody else works. I mean, congrats to you that you don't suffer from addiction & can live without the drug when doing homework/ studying for a test. Not everybody's brain works the same & I'm sure some are suffering from other issues. Yes, addiction is definitely one of them, but to those not prescribed to the drug & getting it off friends there is some other lying issue to why they feel they need the drug so badly. I don't want anybody complaining about what i just wrote. This is my opinion & if you don't like it, then don't read it.

SWAMPLORD's picture

Funny that you added the "if

Funny that you added the "if you don't like it, then don't read it" remark at the end of your response. We already read it.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Damn I was gonna say that! I

Damn I was gonna say that! I am ADD and it still doesn't always help me. I don't have time to be on this site!

Jo's picture

scared parent

just recently found out my son has been using this drug illegally for 2 years, scares the hell out of me and saddens me to no end , he was always a straight A student until he started using these pills and he became so anxious he started using pot to combat the anxiety . He has now lost out on two engineering internships because of drug testing with weed and amphetamines in his body, He doesnt think he can do any homework without taking pills which is so freaking pathetic, how is he going to function in the world, now in order to get off the pot for anxiety he is on benzo's and anti-depressants which i read are godawful to withdraw from, and he is dropping engineering and changing his major after 3 years of college,not to mention the alcohol abuse that is taking place so that he can sleep and be numb to the stress, as a parent this is a total nightmare and it makes me sick to read all of the other dependent kids on this damn drug, School has always been tough anything worth anything is tough but to get your body and mind so addicted to something is just a sad pathetic existence . Adderall and pot have messed up my kid so bad I dont know if he will ever get his life in order, and all i cand do is pray he doesnt die from the mix of chemicals that are constantly going into his body, this really is a sick twisted drug that can ruin your life

Serendip Visitor's picture


I really agree totally with you... I sense that same feeling about adderrall..... Personal life has been crazy worrying about my son who was diagnosed with ADHD in 2nd grade and the schools would have loved him on the meds. but i didn't do it. When he turned 16 and almost failed i let him decide if he wanted to take it and he did... He took it and did great in school. While in grammar school they would say that they usually turn to drugs if nothing is done. Well, he graduated from high school did a semester of college and dropped out but is working now. He told me he hated how he felt on Adderrall and he is so glad he wasn't on it when he was in elementary school... I just can't help think of how the school was so wrong suggesting for him to see his dr. for help... I sent him to get tutored in reading and even though i paid alot for it i don't regret doing that instead of the meds... But now i too feel that Adderall and other meds are soo dangerous for our children. They forget, can't sleep, and end up on depression medicine too...I see and hear sooooooo much of the same comments now... My daughter is in college and she said she has ADD and the dr. gave it to her without any problem and i trusted it. well she is on depression med. now.. I CANT BELIEVE IT... I am still trying to find an answer to my wondering about the adderall doing that to her... She couldn't sleep and was depressed... shocked the hell out of me... we are a close family, and have been here for my family all the time... Still wondering will she ever be off those meds now for depression....I HATE IT... Well we shall see ...It's only been a month now since she has been on it, and i hope she can wean off the meds and deal with life again the way she used to in high school... Now she also said she would forget alot and that never was her before.. and then she wasnt sleeping. she never told me till she took a leave of absence from college and asked me to please let her talk to a psychologist. so i did that for her because she pleaded for me to do so... I wanted her to tallk to me but she said she needed to speak to a professional.. It was so hard for me to understand but i did it and she was told it was depression. That blew my mind when she told me ...So this is all that happened and I am still hoping she can be ok without the help of meds... UGH>>>>>> what can we do to stop all the medicines our kids are taking to be able to be a success in college.. It's a nightmare. thanks // i needed to speak out...

Serendip Visitor's picture

update on my son

well some time has passed now and as far as I know my son is not taking Adderall anymore, he claims he isnt smoking pot either but I am not completly convinced that is the case, he is still on two antidepressants and is going to the psychiatrist every 6 weeks or so, he has never been diagnosed with depression as far as I know but he believes he needs these drugs to help with anxiety still. He is planning on going back to school in the fall but not to finish his engineering degree now he is switching to a special studies degree which is pretty generic but at least he is planning on getting a degree for a while he was considering dropping out of school altogether, He is going to be a father in a few weeks so that will add a new dimension to everything, He has a steady job too so all in all he is going in the right direction. I think that Doctors need to be more careful about giving out Adderall like its no big deal because it takes away these kids confidence in their own God given abilities and teaches them to rely on drugs instead of learning how to cope with life, Good luck with your daughter and I really hope this trend changes because its awful watching your kids go through this!

Serendip Visitor's picture

I am an 18 year old college

I am an 18 year old college student in the same position as your son. Get him a prescription for it and make him stop smoking weed and you will be impressed at exactly how successful your son will turn out. I take adderall and have a 3.5 gpa at university of Washington and I smoke weed every day. He will be fine just make sure he doesn't turn to meth amphetamine or cocaine when he cant get adderall anymore. All those drugs are stimulants and adderall is the only on that wont harm your son

Guy's picture

What you should do as a parent

I don't think that you should blame the Adderall for your son's problem and on that note, blame Adderall for getting him addicted to other drugs. Also marijuana is not an addictive substance and so if your son is addicted that means he just has an addictive personality or he is psychologically depressed. Personally, I use both, marijuana and adderall, but i don't NEED them. I go to a very competitive high school so it is obviously very stressful but that is not the reason I smoke pot, i do it to have fun at parties and such. As for adderall, i use it if i have homework in all 8 of my classes so i know nothing can distract me while i try to finish my work or during big exams, but either way i get them finished. Obviously everyone reacts differently to drugs but it is not the drugs that are the problem, it is the people using them. For example some people nothing happens and for others like me it works when i need it, but for people like your son, they develop a dependence on drugs and are stuck in a really bad corner. I for one cant imagine how awful it would be to be in that corner, but you cannot say it is pathetic for him to depend on Adderall to do his homework because you need to put yourself in his shoes and understand how it feels to be stuck in the corner that he is in. And as for "praying" for him to get better, that's not going to work out. What you need to do as a parent is EMPATHIZE and ask him what he wants and needs. You need to get to the roots of his addiction and try to find a way for him to get clean, and if not clean, at least try to get him to control his use of Adderall. I, for one, can control it and it helps me get my work done so i can enjoy life. Even though i'm only 17, i have parents and they do not empathize and look at what i'm going through in my shoes and just jump to conclusions like you. So if you could take more time to understand why your son is going through these problems you would be able to properly handle it so be calm and know your son can be helped, instead of praying and blaming the drug.

Serendip Visitor's picture

your advice

I have been empathetic , the thing you dont understand is the side effects of this drug , you might think you have it under control but it can really screw your life up, I still believe it is a horrible thing when someone who has always been a great student feels like he cant function anymore in his classes unless he takes a drug . Life can be very difficult and stressful but turning to pills in any form just isnt the answer or any other chemical . My son is still taking antidepressants which he probably doesnt need but is addicted too at this point. Nothing I can do to help him right now he is 21 years old and has to work this out on his own but I still worry , as a parent you never stop worrying about your kids . There will always be pressures and ups and downs in life , turning to drugs or alcohol is never the right answer. They need to teach kids coping mechanisms . Adderall is a terrible drug that seems to be causing alot of kids longterm problems. Your only 17, you say you dont need adderall but I wonder how long it will be before you think you do need it, eventually you probably will feel that way if you keep taking it, its not worth it , I hope that you learn to have enough confidence in your own abilities that you dont feel the need to turn to a drug that has and is causing major problems for numerous families

Serendip Visitor's picture

I love this post because; you

I love this post because; you are so dead-on and right. My mom doesn't seem to care that much or isn't bothered by it so I'm struggling through this on my own and after reading your comment I feel I deserve to be fussed at.
I share the same story as your son with the Adderall and weed. I lived that life, switching majors and lack of direction, but here's a success story...I graduated college! It took 7 years but I finally did it in Dec11.

But here'e the true unsuccessful story... A year after I started college and already discovered my 2 new drugs (adds and weed), I became pregnant. I ended up a single mom and everything along the way but when I was pregnant I easily got off the 2 drugs, no problem and I felt great. However, when my daughter turned 6 weeks old, I went back to school and back to the same unhealthy behaviors. So for the last four years I have been just like your son. I couldn’t study without it or function and I had to smoke weed to counteract the chemical imbalance I created. And now after 7 years of this crap, I can't seem to stop. I am a mother and soon to be a professional so I will change. I have to change; even my health is in bad shape. I can just feel it throughout my body. So, I went in to see my doctor.. He wanted to put me on an anti-depressant but I told him, "No way"! I'm not going to substitute one drug dependency for another. I've turned to God and I'm searching so I’ll let you know what works once I find it!

I'm sorry to hear about your troubles. You have every right to be worried and upset.
And thank you for caring

smoke up's picture

just to add..its not the

just to add..its not the "pot" say its the speed that is fuggn up your sons life. ..if anything cannabis can ease all that those rx meds he is taking does...and its natural.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Your son clearly has much

Your son clearly has much bigger issues than Adderall.

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