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Know The Risks When College Students Illegally Use ADHD Medication

Updated on October 15, 2014

Why Are Stimulants Popular With College Students

As pressures and sleepless nights increase, college students have found success through the use of stimulants. As mentioned above, these drugs help to increase attention and reduce fatigue. Well most college students are pretty tired and yet still have more homework to complete before their next class. Fear of failure among other fears may lead the young person to desire achievements no matter the cost.

Of course college culture includes information exchange amongst peers and tools to use in order to navigate their next few years. One included tip frequently distributed around campus involves using ADHD medication to help with studying and staying awake. One go to tool, ADHD medication is legal and prescribed. Additionally, this medication is fairly easily obtained by ones general practitioner and not closely regulated. Although, many students are taking these medications without personal prescriptions as there is frequently a black market on campus which makes the substances illegally used for whomever is ingesting that medication.

Prescribed medication is specifically intended for the person with the prescription since metabolisms work distinctively for individuals. Consequently, taking a medication without a prescription is both illegal and can be dangerous. Besides that, ADHD medication’s intended purpose is to treat that disorder not to help college students perform better in class or on homework.

Parents Crushed Dreams

A parent’s dream of sending their child off to college and helping them prepare for independence. But somewhere in the back of their minds lives the fear that their child is bound to make the wrong choices. Despite those fears the parents take a road trip to the fresh new city that their child will be wondering around and helps them move into the dorm. Leaving with many apprehensions the parents realize that the next four years are going to be one ridden with anxiety. Yet the parents felt prepared for this new transition was so naïve to what truly occurs on the campuses that their child will call home.

College Life and Expectations

As our young separate from parents and seek for independence, college is one way they can achieve their imagined goals. A way to further education and prepare for a career, college becomes a means to an end for many. However, to the contrary of their dreams, college can also be a place of overwhelming pressure and demands. As expectations, demands and stress rise students may look toward their peers for suggestions in regard to getting by. But not all students have the same goal in mind or have common moral convictions and thereby may indulge in unhealthy and possibly illegal behaviors. Leaving young inexperienced individuals to be prey for those with alternative motivation.

The ADHD Brain

The ADHD brain happens to be under stimulated so the afflicted person tries to compensate by increased activity, hence erratic behaviors and reduced attention.

College Student Success Studies

College campuses are well known for conducting studies on their population for various purposes. Though, one particular area of interest and concern relates to student success. Psychological concerns have emerged as one specific area that impacts the level of success attained by this population. Thereby, studies evaluated what areas within psychological concerns contribute to the failure of students. One noteworthy area of reporting relied on how substances affect this population. Especially concerning was the use of stimulants prescribed for the treatment of Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder.

Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder

A common childhood disorder that can continue through adulthood and defined by ones difficulty maintaining focus and lack of attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity (National Institute of Mental Health, 2009). Other symptoms include being easily distracted, missing details, forgetfulness, inability to focus on one activity, easily bored and has trouble turning in homework assignments or losing homework, etc.

Effects On The Brain With Stimulant Use


Common Stimulants Used to Treat ADHD

As reported by WebMD

ADHD Medication

Medications frequently used to ADHD contain stimulants – easily recognized from their longevity on the market include Ritalin and Adderall. Despite, the claims that these medications do not predispose a person to use illegal stimulants, some argue that assertion.

The properties of ADHD medication slowly increase the amount of dopamine produced in ones system. Dopamine’s are chemicals or neurotransmitters that control pleasure, movement and attention. Thereby, as a dopamine producer, stimulants bind with the ADHD brain very well to reduce the negative symptoms of the disorder. As with any medication, stimulants are not free from side effects.

Stimulants, like amphetamines increase the heart rate, increase blood pressure, increase body temperature, and decreases sleep and the desire to eat. The effects and side effects are closely related to that of illegal stimulants and when improperly used – without a valid prescription or when dosage is increased without a physician's approval – increase the risk of dangerous side effects.

Ironically, illegal amphetamines have a huge underground market while legal forms of amphetamines are prescribed to our children as young as 6 or 7. Amphetamines – legal and illegal – are highly addictive and thereby withdrawals accompany cessation of the substance. Withdrawals can include fatigue, depression and disturbed sleep patterns (NIDA, 2009).


Do you agree that black market stimulants are a problem on college campuses?

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In Conclusion

Stimulants of any type have the possibility of ending in addiction and with increased pressure on college students to perform this epidemic is one that is particularly alarming. Parents hope to send their children to college in preparation of adulthood and a career. Naively, parents are opening up their children to much more than imagined. It is pertinent to be aware of the dangers that lurk after your children and share this information with your children rather than throwing them into the lion’s den unprepared. Learning alternative methods to student success can be one measure to reduce the attraction to stimulants. Increased availability to psychological treatment on college campuses is another. As a whole use the information that students relay in reference to their purpose of using substances and trying to solve the problem. Please pass on this information to anyone you know that is or will be attending college as stimulants are truly dangerous and have lifelong ramifications with their use.


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