Adderall is a relatively new drug with many medically certified uses. However, many adolescents and college students are prone to its abuse. To counter this growing problem, a variety of treatment options are available to wean Adderall addicts away from its use, including detox and inpatient and outpatient therapy programs.
Adderall first came on the market as a prescription for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, also known as ADHD. However, a growing awareness of its impact on healthy adults is leading to its widespread use in the US, especially among teens and young adults. This demographic comprises of the majority of college students who are using Adderall for academic purposes. Other than acting as a stimulant, Adderall also produces euphoric feelings in its users, making the danger of its use and abuse ever so great.
The college environment renders students most susceptible to influences and peer-pressure. College life is a life of new-found freedom and new experiences, especially when students are living in dorms and other campus housing projects. Indeed, many freshmen for the first time experience living and making decisions on their own, away from their parents.
Students look to conform in order to belong to a group and mold their habits to fit the lifestyle. It is no wonder then that many end up in the clutches of drug abuse, especially if a drug like Adderall is said to help them focus and excel in exams. This explains why the usage of Adderall has exploded in the market. Consequently, Adderall has become the drug of choice for college students throughout the country.
Adderall is a drug that combines properties of two other drugs, namely Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine. It was first marketed as a diet suppressant, about 20 years ago when it first came out. As more studies were conducted, Adderall soon turned into a treatment drug for people with attention deficit disorders, like ADD and ADHD.
With Amphetamine being one of the major components in Adderall, there is a huge risk of acquiring a substance abuse problem when taken recreationally. Even when prescribed, people end up taking more than the prescribed dosage due to its high level of addictiveness.
Statistics highlight Adderall as the most prescribed drug today. More than 11 million prescriptions were written for patients in 2004 that involved some kind of amphetamine drug, according to a survey carried out by IMS America. 7 million of those prescriptions were mainly for Adderall as reported by the drug usage study.
Risk of Developing Adderall Addiction
Further studies indicate the rampant use of Adderall on college campuses. 25% of college students use Adderall to help them focus on studies, according to a study conducted by the medical journal, Addiction. Another study funded by the federal government in 2008 found at least 6.4% of students acknowledging their use of Adderall.
Termed as “smart drug” or “study drug,” more and more students are making using of Adderall to combat the pressure of maintaining high GPAs. The myth surrounding Adderall states that it improves one’s ability to maintain focus before an important test. It also keeps you awake at night, as all amphetamine-based stimulants do. On top of that, users have also reported experiencing euphoria associated with amphetamines that has led to its use apart from academic reasons.
But, there is no literature that suggests that Adderall is the magic pill that most have come to believe. Students, unfortunately, have given in to the claims of Adderall being a shortcut to college successes and are ending up being addicted to it.
Adderall fuelling other drug abuse
Adderall gives the body a burst of energy and keeps people alert for hours on end. The psychological dependence caused by the use of Adderall leads students to become susceptible to experimenting with other drugs. Once students start rationalizing their habitual Adderall use, the problem quickly spirals out of control and they are unable to keep a firm grip on its use. Soon enough, students start using Adderall for not only academic but also for recreational purposes.
Studies have found that college students between the ages of 18 and 20 abused Adderall twice as much as people of the same age who are not in college. Furthermore, students who used Adderall recreationally were:
- Three times more likely to use marijuana
- Eight times more likely to use tranquilizers and cocaine
- Five times more likely to use painkillers
More than fifty percent of Adderall users were heavy drinkers and ninety percent were binge drinkers.
The ease of availability of Adderall has contributed to the problem. Even without a prescription, students are able to get their hands on stimulants like Adderall easily. A survey conducted by Recovery Brands in 2016 found that more than half of the students between the age of 18 and 28 get their daily doses of Adderall through their friends who are issued ADHD-related Adderall prescriptions. Around 20% get it through their families and 14% through street dealers. This is a major reason why Adderall abuse has become so widespread among college students.
Adderall abuse among teens
A whopping 6.5% of high school students were reported to have abused Adderall during their senior years. Be it college or high school, Adderall usage amongst students is on the rise. Adults are no wiser, it seems. People in high stress jobs are also making use of Adderall for the same reasons – maintaining high energy, reduced need for sleep, longer periods of concentration, etc. However, some people use it for no apparent reason and many teens fall under this category.
Impact on Health
People who use Adderall for recreational reasons end up using a lot more. They also exhibit adverse health ramifications. As is in the case with stimulants, the body develops tolerance to the drug with continual use.