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

 

1. http://www.adhd.org.nz/neuro1.html

 

2. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/adhd.cfm

 

3. http://www.adderallxr.com/about_adderallxr/about-works.asp

 

4. http://www.adrugrecall.com/news/adderall-abuse.html

 

5. http://www.med.yale.edu/chldstdy/plomdevelop/genetics/01febgen.htm

 

6. http://www.answers.com/topic/adderall

 

7. http://www.slate.com/id/2118315

 

8. http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/ohe/library/drugs/adderall.htm

 

9. http://www.thecitycollegian.com/artman/publish/article_409.shtml

10. http://amphetamines.com/adderall/classroom.html

Comments

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 Drug.com 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 vweiss59@gmail.com finals are coming up and i need to know what to do!!

Serendip Visitor's picture

DO NOT TAKE ADDERALL IF YOU

DO NOT TAKE ADDERALL IF YOU HAVE HEART PROBLEMS. pEOPLE WITH HEART PROBLEMS HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO EXPERIENCE SUDDEN DEATH FROM ADDERALL

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.
Now,
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

adderall

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.
Now,
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

cheers

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 world...it 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

Aderall

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

Limitless...?

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

RIGHT.

RIGHT.

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

AGREE WITH SCARED PARENT!

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"...id 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.

Serendip Visitor's picture

The only "pathetic" thing

The only "pathetic" thing here is the way you paint our own son. But he is an idiot to think pot alleviates anxiety, because it is a stimulant.

smoke up's picture

cannabis...a stimulant??!..

cannabis...a stimulant??!.. please kno what you are saying before you think your are right. cannabis is either sativa, indica, or a hybrid of both. granted..sativas are generally speedier.Its mos def not a stimulant.

i concur, smoke up's picture

you dont have it quite right either pal

all cannibis is sativa AND indica, they just vary on the "ratio" so to speak of either one. So one strand can be more indica or sativa, but never can it truly be only indica or sativa.

But that is besides the point, which is that adderall sucks and has the ability to turn healthy functional kids into anxious overworked time-bombs. Don't do it. i just tried that ginkgo biloba that another guest suggested and i think it works better and is actually ADVISED by DOCTORS to do it DAILY for a HEALTHY brain supplement.

Serendip Visitor's picture

What saddens me is that you

What saddens me is that you keep referring to your son as "pathetic". Also, you're going to have to do more than just "pray" about this. Amphetamines are incredibly addictive and he needs your help. In fact, you are very lucky that you caught him. I hid my addiction from my friends and family for years until I came begging for help because I had hit rock bottom pretty hard. Lost my fiance, job, RN license, neglected all my responsibilities...etc. I advise sitting down with him and discussing it like two adults and refrain from using words like pathetic.

ELVIS's picture

You're AWESOME!

You'll make a great parent someday if you're not already :-)

Belinda 's picture

I started to take it, and I

I started to take it, and I got OCD and couldnt stop.ceverything had to be clean, from my hair to my bed being made to the house being clean, and Im still at home, I also started to pop my black heads or pull out in grown hairs If I was stressed, I had to stop, people thought I was cutting my self, in a way I was hurting my self, so I stopped and it's been a very long time since I had an anexity attack or had to pop a pimple

Serendip Visitor's picture

...

I'm predicting major brain and neurological problems with the people that are routinely taking this medication by the time they're in their thirties. You people honestly don't expect that a major neuro-stimulant such as Adderall - which sends you to an altered state of conscience - won't eventually degenerate your natural brain processes and impede your long term spatial abilities, do you?

You'll start seeing these results soon.
Mild dementia, short-term memory problems, etc.
Not to mention Alzheimer's too!

If you're in college and you can't get by without a damn drug (unless you medically need it), then you're possibly an idiot and shouldn't be in college at all.

I don't have ADD or ADHD, but I'm as distracted as a person can get.
I can barely focus, concentrate and do things on time.
But dammit, when I feel the pressure coming on of a next day Organic Chemistry test and I haven't studied at all, then I can channel all that energy and focus into truly studying, and can do pretty much just amazing on that and any test.

The cost of this, of course, is that I have no guarantees about how well I'll actually do, I'll be scared shitless, and I will have a massive undertaking of stress during and before the exam.

I bet a lot of other people have trouble with this, but hey -- the whole point of college is learning to make do with what you have and wholesomely adapting yourself to the situations around you. Had I taken Adderall beforehand, I would just rely on it and not learn REAL problem-solving skills and discipline - which is to say, solid study behaviors and academic responsibility -, both of which are heavily sought after in the working industry and both of which I am now learning to integrate into my daily life.

Regulator's picture

Your my hero

First your predictions remind me of the myan calendar. Where are your facts? Alzimers dimentia short term memory problems?
You seem to need it more than anyone else on this site. Who cares what you did or how you did it. Let me dumb it down for you so you understand. All brains are different. If I have troube reading, concentrating,focusing. And most people can. That means I'm malfunctioning and need assistance. So take the drug if you need it or it makes you better. Some people are going to have bad reactions to it.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Re serendib visitor

So basicly you want to do things natrually, great for you. Should you get on the internet and offend others that either take it by choice, or are prescribed the drug? I dont remember electing you to any throne so stop looking down at others. Is anyone forcing you to take a drug? Nope? It is my understanding that your pissed because people who do take adderall justdo better than you, at everything. Here's the funny part. It doesnt enhance intelligence or preformance, it just gives a better focus and drive to do what an individual can already do. Sucks to suck.

Serendip Visitor's picture

i hate people like you

I hate people like you much more than I hate having to study without Adderall. Thanks for your prediction, I am sure that you did a lot of research and it took you a while to make it. Your statement "If you're in college and you can't get by without a damn drug (unless you medically need it), then you're possibly an idiot and shouldn't be in college at all" really intrigues me and makes me question whose really the idiot here. If this decision was up to you we would probably have around a total of 12 people nationally attending college. I don't know what world you live in, but it seems very very sad. I live with a "Whatever it takes" kind of mentality, more or less "If you're not cheating you're not trying." Lucky for me, I am my own person and don't need or even remotely care about what people like you think of me. I am honestly more upset when I need to take a poop, but realize that I need to make the additional effort to put down the toilet seat, than someone who judges others based on their picture-perfect, non-risk taking, uninteresting, lame, and brainwashed mind. Go change society Mother Theresa, and then maybe I will respect you more than my pet hamster. At the end of the day, aside from me more than likely already being more intelligent than you, I am now also as, if not more, motivated than you. Sucks to suck:P

Serendip Visitor's picture

"I overcome my natural

"I overcome my natural inability to focus by just studying anyway and then doing amazing on any test and also I am positive that amphetamine will cause memory loss and dementia because any mind-altering drug does this" <- what you just said

Not just scientifically invalid but also untrue and completely uneducated. Nobody "medically needs" it in the same way that nobody medically needs fluoxetine. There is a gradient of dopaminergic activity and amphetamine will affect people all along that gradient. It's also a relatively safe drug, much more so than, say, alcohol. But I used both (and many others) through college and did just fine. Don't need your trite drug lectures.

Anonymous's picture

This is to help those who

This is to help those who decide to take adderall for whatever purpose.
I have been taking adderall since I was introduced to it as a freshman in college, I am now a senior set to graduate in may, and have figured out how to make it most effective without any type of crash. First, take adderall after eating until you are stuffed, and eat mostly proteins or complex carbs that take your body a long time to digest. This is because your heart beat will be accellerated, causing you to digest food much faster than normally. The reason that you crash when the adderall wears off is because you're body is being forced to work much harder and if you dont have fuel in the form of food in your stomach, you will be buying that energy on credit which you pay back when the drug wears, causing you to have no energy. In addition, adderall will kill your appetite so you won't feel like eating after you have ingested it. Second, do not drink caffeine or alcohol while on adderall, instead drink water, and juice or lemonade (anything non carbonated with sugar). This is because adderall dehydrates you, giving you a headache similar to a hangover unless you are pumping water into your system faster than you are burning it up or pissing it out. Drinking juice or sugary non carbonated liquids heightens the experience because it gives your body more calories to burn without dehydrating you. Third, take a dosage that will wear off before you plan to sleep. If you time it correctly, 5 hours of sleep after coming off of adderall will feel like 10 hours of sleep normally and you will wake up more energized than when you went to bed. I usually take a 30 mg tablet, break it in half, and take half of it after eatting a breakfast of 4 or 5 scrambled eggs, and half after eating lunch. Before bed, I eat yogurt or something with protein so that my body has something to digest to recover from the day. The next day I feel great with no crash or headache and I can do it all over again. Doing this also minimizes weight loss and gives you plenty of energy without getting jittery. You can up the dosage as long as you give your body plenty of food and water and you should never have a crash. This is a far better drug than caffeine, you just have to know how to use it. As for heart problems, I don't see how this drug can cause them any more than being over physically active can. So have fun.

i took concerta 's picture

So I took one concerta pill

So I took one concerta pill on an empty stomach. If you don know concerta is a slow release pill that's is a stronger verison of adderol. Now don't get me wrong . I could be wrong. But I want to hear the criticism. Now I took one and subsequiently smoked a bowl of pot . That calmed the jitters. I felt relaxed and focused. And trust me I never got that fro the biggest or most concentrated monster that I used to take daily. But when I came down from my high after eating. My pot high that is. I thought I was safe to take mysecond one at lik 7ish at night. That was a bad idea bc its 5 am and I'm still up.

Now ur advice on eating and hydrating sounds solid. The problem with people who get it illegaly is the only directions they have is to take it.
But if more people knew how to take it correctly (ok here comes the opinion)
There would be less (depending on the person) dependency cases because there wouldn't be the crashes that hinder u from getting up
Now everyones different and this may not apply. Tonight I tried it to stay up to try and get myself on a school schedule.
That didn't work but it was fun. Now that's uve people scared me. I don't think ill take it again.
Just one question that does apply
Are the risks worth the reward.

Now I don't know everything and this was my first time evr taking it
So I may be wrong. But all drugs have side effects even more so if taken incorrectly

I strongly reccommend not lying to drs. Or parent or anyone about it
And if u can't live with out it ( if your not perscribed it for add)
Then u should consulate a dr. And tell them ur not depressed you are addicted to it

And even in some cases drs. Take patients off it after prolonged use. If they feel its not need anymore. So if your kids on it and your scared talk yo a dr. About if your child will er be able to slowly ween off of it.

And also u should never call your child pathetic no matter how old because clearly caught earlier it could have been a lot easier.

smoke up's picture

"As for heart problems, I

"As for heart problems, I don't see how this drug can cause them any more than being over physically active can"
beside the fact that adderall is legal speed..just a tad bit more dangerous. Not to judge though (i have adhd)

belinda's picture

i took adhd tablets and i had

i took adhd tablets and i had problems with it. im not adhd and i couldnt sleep. my anexity went soo bad i couldnt stop shankin and i couldnt stopm cleaning. its bad..

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