College can be a difficult time for many young adults. Anxiety and stress come in many forms, with studying, social events, independent living and more. They struggle to find the time and concentration to study and watch their grades slip.
The solution for many comes in the form of study drugs, like Adderall and Ritalin. The problem of study drugs is on the rise, 1 in 5 college students have reportedly used them. While they seem like a good idea late at night, they are highly addictive. More information is found on the Adderall Addiction Support site.
What Are These Study Drugs?
The drugs most commonly taken by college students are Adderall and Ritalin. These are drugs better associated with conditions such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
They react with chemicals in the brain to help users focus on tasks with greater ease. This is why they can be so helpful for people with these attention disorders. However, there is the assumption from many young people that they can enjoy the same effects.
These “smart drugs,” as they are also known, offer the focus for studying and revising. It is a simple idea to pop a pill that blocks out distractions and makes people want to study and work through tasks. While this sounds good to students, there are significant issues.
Why Is There Such A Problem With These Study Drugs?
The main problem here is with accessibility. These pills are not hard to come by, even though they can only be legally obtained through prescriptions.
The University of Texas once reported at least half of their college students with ADHD medications were often asked to share. This is no surprise when we consider that 58% of college students abusing study drugs get them from their peers.
A simple pill that promises good grade can pay for a week’s laundry or around at the bar. Then there are those that obtain them fraudulently via a doctor’s visit. If they fake the symptoms in a questionnaire, and “pass,” they can have a full supply to themselves.
The other problem is that these drugs can be dangerous in the wrong hands. There are two issues at work here:
The first is that students don’t see these prescription drugs as dangerous because they are not in the same class as street drugs. This can seem like the safe alternative when this is not at all true.
The other issue is that they don’t understand the chemical reactions involved and the risk of side effects. Side effects of these study drugs include irritability, paranoia, hallucinations and impulsive behavior.
Neither of these is ideal for a student close to exams. Then there is the risk that students will take these pills with other drugs, medication or alcohol. This can increase the risk significantly.
The bottom line here is this misunderstanding of what Adderall and Ritalin do.
There is this view that these study drugs offer a short burst of focus because that is what happens with ADHD patients. This is too simplistic.
In reality, the drugs work on a chemical level to increase dopamine, which is deficient in these patients. Students with normal dopamine levels can therefore suffer.
The increase in dopamine level can also bring focus and something of a high. But, with every high comes the crash. Those studying the night before a big exam could hit the next morning with exhaustion, anxiety, and signs of depression.
What Are Alternatives Out There?
These study drugs are not worth the cost or risk for the potential of a slightly better grade. There are better options for those struggling with a workload or college stress. Simple time management and relaxation strategies can make a difference.
Schools have learned to embrace yoga, meditation, and mindfulness for classroom concentration. College students can too. A proper diet and exercise regime can also help. Even legal stimulants are better for people in the long run.
This note on legal stimulants leads to the final important point here. There are legal consequences to taking study drugs that students can’t overlook. This includes fines, jail time and disciplinary action from the college.
Anyone that shares and takes prescription drugs as a study drug runs on a major risk.