The end of every semester is a stressful time for every college student: struggling to catch up on homework, cramming for finals and writing papers. How do they do it? For many, the answer has become prescription ADHD drugs. One must wonder what the long term effects of these drugs are on the youth. Is it dangerous for their physical or mental health?
Consider the basics of the disease these drugs are actually prescribed to fight – attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is a neurologically-based disease and scientists are not entirely certain of the complicated functions that cause the disease and how drugs affect it. Several studies have shown that brains afflicted with ADHD show problems in the frontal cortex. This area serves as the center for reasoning, problem solving, focusing and making plans.
Drugs like Adderall, which contains high amounts of amphetamine salts, are often used to treat ADHD. Adderall increases the dopamine flow in frontal cortex, allowing the brain to function more like a normal brain. When students who do not have ADHD use this drug, it means there is an excess of dopamine in the brain. This could lead to a long- term negative effect on a drug abuser’s brain.
As many as 20 percent of college students admit to using Adderall to help boost their energy and make them more alert. On any given college campus in America, Adderall and other ADHD drugs are sold or given away by students who have prescriptions. Some students who know how to describe ADHD symptoms will persuade their doctor to write them a prescription. The increase in use of these drugs is sparking many conversations. Some students and education experts worry about competitiveness and fairness.
Widespread abuse of prescription drugs in America is a clear problem. That, in conjunction with a general lack of knowledge about the potential long term affects of Adderall use, leads far too many young students to take this drug for nonmedical reasons.