ADDERALL “THE STUDY DRUG”
High school students today are faced with a unique set of challenges, which were unheard of in their parents’ generation. Students are juggling enriched course work, with extracurricular activities, while fulfilling a 40 and in some cases an 80 volunteer hour graduation requirement; all in the hopes of that they will stand out amongst other university and college applicants. Faced with these challenges high school students are looking for anything that will give them an advantage over their competition; for some the advantage comes in the form of Adderall a.k.a ”The Study Drug”. Adderall is a drug originally intended to treat those diagnosed with Attention Deficit (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), it’s preferred by most patients to the traditional Ritalin because its side effects are less severe and a lower dosage lasts longer. Adderall is the third most abused drug by high school and university students after alcohol and marijuana. Students have been known to fake symptoms of ADD and ADHD in order to secure a diagnosis and access to Adderall prescriptions which they then use themselves and or, sell to other students from as little as $3, to as much as $15 per pill.
Adderall helps the user stay focused on a single task, patients claim “… it cuts down the flow of random [thoughts] coming through the front door and thus allowing you to stay on track without constantly losing your place” . (1) This result becomes appealing to the stressed out student who is trying to cram for finals, he or she just needs a little help to remain focused and awake. Unfortunately, unless you truly suffer from ADD or ADHD taking Adderall is highly addictive and brings with it a host of unintended and sometimes lethal side effects. While the desirable effect is a heightened ability to focus on a task, the user doesn’t have the ability to control what he or she will become fixated on, a college student and Adderall addict named Sam found that out rather quickly “… I would become so engrossed in things that weren’t school related… I became obsessed with DER ERLKONIG I would write it out by hand over and over in German and inwardly recite it while doing so” . (2)
A lot of the unwanted side effects are not as harmless as Sam’s, we have included a list of physical and behavioural symptoms that could indicate your son or daughter may be abusing Adderall;
Uncontrollable Shaking Hallucinations
Nervousness Uncharacterized Aggression
Restlessness Changes in Vision
Altered Sleeping Habits Increased Swelling
Nausea Complaints of Racing Heartbeats
Weight loss/Loss of Appetite
If left untreated these side effects particularly the feelings of paranoia, delusions and hallucinations eventually lead to both psychotic and suicidal episodes as users are incapable of thinking clearly and rationally. If your son or daughter is displaying any or a combination of these symptoms we urge you to seek professional help immediately.
As parents, we all want what’s best for our children but are we pushing our children too hard? Are we expecting the impossible from them, and in their desire to make us happy are they unknowingly endangering their mental and physical well being? Should our focus as parents be to raise happy, well-adjusted children rather than the next Nobel Laureate? Maybe parents should stop reinforcing the idea that failure is not an option and instead, maintain that both successes AND failures are part of life and aid in forging ones resilience, individuality and self confidence.
2.) Hennessy, Angela, July 24, 2013; http://www.vice.com/en-ca/read/adderal-can-really-fuck-you-up
Hennessy, Angela, July 24, 2013; http://www.vice.com/en-ca/read/adderal-can-really-fuck-you-up