It’s finals time. For Tulane students and college students across the nation, this means sleepless nights, hours of work (and procrastinating…let’s be honest), ordering cheese fries one too many times, and going to PJ’s Coffee for your third cup of coffee that day. All of us are overworked, overtired, and getting to the point where if I have to study the difference between a perfectly competitive market and an oligopoly any more I’m going to go crazy. But nonetheless, we all have to study and get our papers turned in, and there’s no way around it. Many will rely on diet coke (aka my roommate), coffee (me), or Red Bull to give them the energy they need to stay awake and keep studying. However, more and more college students have begun to rely on Adderall, a drug prescribed to people diagnosed with ADD. Now, one in five college students admit to using Adderall when they do not have ADD. People are now taking it so casually, and so frequently, that it’s becoming as common to ask someone for Advil as it is for Adderall.
There are times when we do work and simply cannot focus. Does this mean we turn to Adderall? For many, yes. College students now rely on Adderall to get them through finals, tests, writing papers, and any other activity that requires a prolonged period of concentration. People make claims such as, “I cannot do work at my best if I’m not on Adderall” or “There’s just no way I can focus if I don’t take Adderall.” College students who have ADD have begun a drug-type business in which they sell their prescribed Adderall pills, and it has become increasingly popular in recent years. The availability of Adderall makes it very easy for anyone to obtain, and students have readily taken advantage. What they fail to realize, however, is the side effects. Adderall is easy to get addicted to because people enjoy their heightened sense of concentration, and begin to believe Adderall is the key to productiveness. More serious side effects of Adderall include heart attacks, seizures, and high blood pressure.
Different side effects of Adderall include loss of appetite, and as a result, weight loss. Many have begun to take Adderall as a means to stop eating and lose weight, not for the effect of increased productivity. College students who are anorexic use Adderall as another means to help them stop eating. This use is just as dangerous because if Adderall is overused for this purpose, it can cause permanent damage to the metabolism.
Moral of the story: If you don’t need Adderall, don’t take it. The long-term side effects have a much greater impact than the 5 hours you may have had better focus than normal. Feel like you can’t focus? Take a study break; go on Facebook for ten minutes, go workout, or get a snack with some friends. Forcing your body to take a prescription drug it’s not meant to have cannot be taken lightly. Prescription drugs are not the same as over-the-counter, and Adderall cannot become as common as taking Advil.