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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Studying on Adderall can cause addiction

    Although UA students illegally use Adderall to study, Campus Health Service officials warn the drug can be addicting and dangerous to their health.

    Adderall, or Dextroamphetamine, is a stimulant meant to help people with Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, although students will sometimes abuse the drug to aid them in school, Campus Health officials said.

    Adderall allows people with ADD and ADHD to operate at a normal level of functioning by boosting dopamine levels within the central nervous system, said Lynn Reyes, an alcohol and other drug prevention specialist for Campus Health.

    The drug helps people with ADD or ADHD to better focus in school, and can fight the depression and social issues that sometimes correspond with ADD or ADHD, Reyes said.

    Unfortunately, many students start to self-medicate themselves rather than seeking their physicians and begin to take the medication illegally to help them study for tests, said Kim Birmingham, Campus Health staff pharmacist.

    Whether or not Campus Health is aware of the prominence of illegal Adderall use on campus, students are aware of its presence at the UA.

    Nicole Lelevier-Joseph, a journalism and international studies sophomore, said many of her friends use Adderall to study.

    “”Supposedly, they can’t study without it, and they say it makes them more driven,”” said Lelevier-Joseph. “”If they want to do it and it helps them, they can do what they want, but I think it’s a psychological addiction.””

    Birmingham said it is difficult for Campus Health to determine the severity of illegal Adderall use on campus because students don’t normally admit to having a dependency on the drug.

    The drug seems to be prevalent on campus, according to students, but Campus Health does not have data regarding the often-illegal uses of the medication.

    “”It (Adderall) can be addictive, but it’s not something we see here at Campus Health. We don’t really see people coming in with Adderall addictions,”” Reyes said.

    However, Birmingham said students who self-medicate themselves for ADD are putting themselves in a dangerous position, especially if they have unknown thyroid or heart problems or high blood pressure.

    Students who are not diagnosed with ADD or ADHD and take Adderall only for studying purposes probably do not have the disorder at all, Birmingham said.

    Adderall is usually prescribed to be taken once a day in the morning and is rarely prescribed to be taken as needed, Birmingham said.

    “”If the rest of a student’s everyday lifestyle is normal, then he or she would be only taking it to stay awake, not to help with concentration,”” said Birmingham of students taking the drug illegally.

    Meagan Carioty, a pre-nursing freshman, said she does not understand why students use the drug.

    “”Just drink coffee. (Adderall) makes you look like you have problems,”” Carioty said.

    Reyes said that people without diagnosed ADD or ADHD can develop a psychological dependence on Adderall and reach a point where they feel they cannot succeed without it.

    College students, especially in their first years, believe they have ADD or ADHD and think taking Adderall is the answer, Birmingham said.

    However, many times the feelings of distraction and an inability to focus are due to a lack of sleep, improper diet or a lack of exercise, or they could actually have ADD or ADHD and need to be diagnosed before using the drug, Birmingham said.

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