Mike is a 20-year-old college student who needs to score well on his next big test. If he doesn’t get a high grade, it could jeopardize his grade point average and chances of getting into medical school.
Mike knows that one of his roommates takes Adderall, a stimulant medication for ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder). He has heard that taking the drug would help him focus better when studying. Several of the guys in the dorm “share” their roommate’s medication around exam and tests times.
ADHD is a legitimate psychiatric diagnosis based in neurobiology. When a diagnosed person takes an ADHD medication, it helps him or her focus and be less impulsive. For people with ADHD, the medication can make all the difference in their ability to succeed in a day.
However, we now see a portion of people taking these drugs who do not have a physiological need or a diagnosis. They are taking the drug without a prescription in order to lose weight or improve their focus And those who crush the drug and then inject or snort it, can experience a euphoric high, feel a false sense of self-confidence, and develop a dependency.
Furthermore, taking a drug like Adderall (“Addy”) with no monitoring or diagnosis can produce side effects like dangerously high BP, irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing, seizures and tremors, and mood disorders. With repeated and high use, there is also a danger of stroke and cognition changes such as confusion, hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia.
The message to Mike and his buddies who are not diagnosed with ADHD and looking for a little help to do better on exams is to find a better way. Using your roommate’s ADHD medication is not only illegal, but potentially dangerous to your health and well-being.