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Stressed College Student

In a world full of distractions, it can be harder than ever to concentrate. We often feel overloaded, overstimulated, and overwhelmed by the amount of information available to us. Then, when you add the pressure of college courses, internships, and post-graduation job hunting, it’s no wonder that many college students and young professionals have turned to drugs like Adderall to improve their focus and relieve fatigue.

But, this drug (and those similar to it) isn’t the cure-all that many think it is, and when not taken as prescribed, Adderall use can lead to dependence and addiction.

What is Adderall?

Adderall has the potential to improve a person’s quality of life when prescribed and used as directed. As a stimulant, Adderall helps people with ADHD increase their focus and function better in their day-to-day lives, and it helps reduce daytime sleepiness for people struggling with narcolepsy.

That being said, Adderall is a habit-forming drug, and its use should be closely monitored by a medical professional, preferably the doctor who prescribed it. It’s not considered to be among the most addictive controlled substances, but addiction can definitely develop with long-term abuse.


The pressure to perform well on papers and exams is greater than ever, and sometimes college students will begin looking for shortcuts to success. As a result, they are twice as likely to abuse Adderall than their non-student peers of the same age group [1]. Some students who take Adderall without a prescription claim it even helps them retain more information and boosts their mental capacity when studying. There are other side effects that aid this mentality, such as the way Adderall suppresses appetite, allowing students to study longer without having to stop to eat.

In addition to helping students stay up late to cram for exams, Adderall is also taken as a “party drug” in a misguided attempt to offset the effects of alcohol to allow for a longer night of drinking. Alcohol is a depressant and Adderall a stimulant, so the logic is that they would cancel each other out. This isn’t the reality, though. The tendency to feel tired when drinking is actually a mechanism that helps avoid drinking too much. Adderall can override this, making it easier to reach dangerous levels of consumption, alcohol poisoning, and overdose.

Adderall Addiction Side Effects

The Side Effects of Adderall Addiction

Adderall is often thought to be a “safe” drug because it’s prescribed by doctors, but the reality is that taking Adderall without the oversight of a medical professional can lead to addiction. The danger is not only the addiction in itself, but the fact that it can easily go undetected: a person abusing Adderall may just seem like they have more focus and motivation, but other symptoms can include:

  • Increased sociability, talkativeness, and racing thoughts
  • Illusions of intense wellbeing or invincibility
  • Nervousness, impatience, excitement, anxiety, and panic
  • Sudden desire to work more often
  • Weight loss or malnutrition
  • Changes in levels of sexual interest
  • Uncontrollable shaking and verbal or muscular tics
  • Increased heart rate and exhaustion

Some Adderall abusers take part in “doctor shopping”, which is the name used to describe the act of trying to find a doctor who will prescribe medications without doing the necessary screening for proper diagnosis of a qualifying condition.

Misuse of Adderall can lead a person to build up a tolerance to the drug and attempting to stop taking it will lead to withdrawal symptoms that can be dangerous or even deadly. Long-term Adderall abuse can lead to sleep difficulties, lack of motivation, depression, mood swings, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, and more.

Have You Talked to Your Children About Adderall Abuse?

Adderall abuse may mask the real underlying problem, because in social and academic circles, this newfound energy, focus, and productivity may be viewed as a good thing. But just because Adderall abuse is common among students doesn’t make it any less dangerous.

If you suspect that a loved one is struggling with Adderall abuse, it’s never too soon to talk to them about the risks of abusing drugs of any kind. If you need to learn about the resources available to you, Prosperity Haven can help. Call 440-253-9915 today to learn about your options for treatment.