Adderall Abuse Among College Students

Last Updated: Jan 2nd 2020

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky

Adderall Abuse Among College Students

Adderall is a prescription medication that’s primarily used to treat conditions like ADHD. However, on many college campuses, students use Adderall as a so-called “study drug.” It’s rapidly increasing in both use and acceptance among young people. Although the drug has a legitimate medical purpose, Adderall abuse can become addictive, creating long-term side effects that can negatively impact the lives of students in and beyond their college years.

The Scope of Adderall Abuse

young frustrated college student needs help for adderall abuseIn order to truly understand the impact that drugs like Adderall have on college campuses, it’s necessary to look at the big picture. The scope of Adderall use in college is enormous. In fact, some estimates state that up to one-third of college students have used stimulants non-medically.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse also revealed in a recent survey that use of Adderall is on the rise. The recreational or non-medical use of Adderall and Ritalin, a similar stimulant, doubled between 2008 and 2013.

Why College Students Turn to Adderall

There are a number of different reasons why college students are twice as likely as non-students to use drugs like Adderall. Some of the most common reasons include the ability to study longer, sleep less, increase the impact of other substances, lose weight and enhance athletic performance.

Adderall is often called a study drug because it can make it easier to focus and function without sleep. Students who struggle to fit in enough studying before an exam might take Adderall, which is a stimulant and contains amphetamines, to stay awake later and read textbooks without feeling tired.

Since it’s a stimulant, students who are struggling with their weight and want to drop pounds quickly also may take Adderall. Similarly, students sometimes try Adderall to work out more or do better in college sports. It also enhances the side effects of other drugs and alcohol, which students find appealing.

How Adderall Use Turns Into Addiction

Unfortunately, Adderall use can quickly become abuse and then addiction. The body eventually begins to rely on the stimulant to function. This makes it harder and harder to handle daily life without it. Many students also increase their tolerance, requiring larger doses just to avoid withdrawal. The only way to kick an Adderall addiction is to find help from a rehab facility

Side Effects of an Adderall Addiction

An Adderall addiction can cause a number of very unpleasant side effects. Adderall use can impact health, mental ability, friendships and behavior. Some of the worst and most common side effects include the following:

  • Insomnia
  • Irritability and extreme mood swings
  • Cardiac trouble like increased blood pressure or stroke
  • Increased risk of paranoia, depression and anxiety
  • Chronic headaches

Adderall abuse impacts countless college students. However, there is a way to break free from the hold of this drug. Call (866) 319-6126 to learn more about 1st Step Behavioral Health in South Florida to verify your insurance and get started on your path to rehabilitation and recovery.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky

Brittany PolanskyBrittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is a Primary Clinician at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.

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