What is Adderall?

ADHD affects an estimated 6 million children and teens in the United States many of whom are helped considerably by the prescribed use of ADHD medications such as Adderall. Adderall, is a type of amphetamine and is the most popular prescription medication used in the treatment of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). This drug has stimulant properties which help individuals diagnosed with ADHD to better focus their attention and control hyperactivity so that they can learn more efficiently and succeed in diverse environments such as work and school.

How Are Prescription Stimulants Used and Abused?

Prescription stimulants have a calming and focusing effect on individuals with ADHD. They are prescribed to patients for daily use and come in the form of tablets or capsules of varying dosages. Treatment of ADHD with stimulants, often in conjunction with psychotherapy, helps to improve ADHD symptoms along with the patient’s self-esteem, thinking ability and social and family interactions. Prescription stimulants are sometimes abused, however—that is, taken in higher quantities, in a different manner than prescribed or by those without a prescription. Because they suppress appetite, increase wakefulness and intensify focus and attention, they are frequently abused for purposes of weight loss or performance enhancement, e.g., to help study or boost grades in school. Because they may produce euphoria, these drugs are also frequently abused for recreational purposes. The euphoria from stimulants is produced when pills are crushed and then snorted or mixed with water and injected. Misusing these drugs, however, can have risky side effects, such as dependency, hallucinations, suicide or sudden death.

Why Teens Abuse Adderall

A growing number of teenagers and young adults are abusing prescription stimulants to boost their study performed to improve their grades in school, and there is a widespread belief that these drugs can improve a person’s ability to learn. Prescription stimulants do promote wakefulness, but studies have found that they do not enhance learning or thinking ability when taken by people who do not have ADHD. Also, research has shown that students who abuse prescription stimulants have lower GPAs in high school and college than those who don’t. Teens who misuse stimulants in an attempt to improve grades, gain a sense of euphoria or recover from hangovers may perceive ADHD drugs as safe because they see friends and siblings take them daily under a doctor’s care. However, these medications have very different effects on the brains of people without ADHD. This emerging trend has given rise to a secondary market in which students will sell Adderall, Ritalin, and Vyvanse, which are all prescribed for ADHD, to peers or strangers for monetary profit.

Who else is abusing Adderall?

A 2014 national survey by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids confirms that the abuse of prescription stimulants is becoming common among college students and other young adults. The online study found that young adults often misuse and abuse prescription stimulants as a way to manage the daily demands of academics, work, and social pressures. Among young adults between the ages of 18 to 25, one in six (17 percent) has abused a prescription stimulant at least once in their lifetime. Overall, young adults are most likely to abuse the prescribed stimulants Adderall (60 percent), Ritalin (20 percent) and Vyvanse (14 percent. Prescription stimulants are still commonly misused to help keep students awake to study. However, they are now more widely used as a life management tool. They provide individuals with sustained energy so that they can party with friends, go to work, study,  and get by on minimal sleep only to repeat the process all over again. These stimulant medications eventually become an essential catalyst for this unsustainable lifestyle, thus opening the door to increasing levels of stimulant abuse and addiction. Even professional athletes now use Adderall to enhance their performance on the field. The drug is now banned by the NFL as a substance of abuse unless a player has a medical waiver to stipulate he is using it for ADHD or some other behavioral issue. It is widely known around the NFL that players will use the drug before a game to get more amped and focused as well. Athletes believe Adderall can grant a person unusual focus and quicker reaction times for a concentrated period. There aren't studies proving that Adderall can help athletes hit a fastball or sack the quarterback, but a great folklore has developed around the drug. Some athletes might have legitimate reasons for taking Adderall. The incidence of professional players with ADHD might be higher than in the general population because hyper children can be drawn to sports. Also, football players who repeatedly get hit in the head may develop trouble focusing and could benefit from medication.

Is Adderall Addictive?

Addiction to stimulants is also a genuine consideration for anyone taking them without medical supervision. Addiction most likely occurs because stimulants, when taken in doses and routes other than those prescribed by a doctor, can induce a rapid rise in dopamine in the brain. Furthermore, if stimulants are abused chronically, withdrawal symptoms—including fatigue, depression and disturbed sleep patterns—can result when a person stops taking them. Additional complications from abusing stimulants can arise when pills are crushed and injected since insoluble fillers in the tablets can block small blood vessels.
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