Adderall Abuse in College Students

College Student Using Adderall To Concentrate - Addiction HopeMore commonly known for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Adderall is the brand name of a prescription drug that functions as a stimulant.  Adderall is typically used to treat symptoms of ADHD in children, such as hyperactivity and impulse control.

However, the nature of this drug has a high potential for abuse and addiction, particularly among college students who are not clinically diagnosed with ADHD.  Adderall is classified as a “Schedule II” Stimulant by the Drug Enforcement Agency, which indicates an elevated potential for abuse if not taken correctly and under the guidance of a physician.

Use of Adderall Among College Students

Woman In College Looking Out Her Window As She Thinks About Her Addiction To Adderrall - Addiction HopeAdderall abuse has become a growing problem across our nation, especially among college students.  The National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimated that 6.4 percent of college students between the ages of 18 and 22 have misused Adderall for recreational purposes [1].

In fact, the use of Adderall on college campuses has become commonplace, with full time college students between the ages of 18 and 22 twice as likely to abuse Adderall than those of the same age and not in college [1].

Many college students refer to Adderall as the “study drug”, contributing the use of this drug to academic achievements.

For college students who may face overwhelming pressures to manage a social life and extracurricular activities all while performing superbly academically, Adderall may seem like a solution for achieving multitasking perfection.

College students can access Adderall though a direct prescription from a health care professional or acquire it illegally through another student who may have a prescription.  Adderall is highly sought after for its ability to improve concentration and focus.

While Adderall misuse might begin with the intention of attaining better grades, the nature of the drug can quickly influence an addiction.

Risks of Adderall Abuse

Even if intended for use as a short-term solution to high pressures and demands during college days, the dependency on Adderall for daily function can continue well beyond college if an addiction were to occur.

While a college student may feel empowered that they are able to accomplish much more under the influence of Adderall, there are severe side effects associated with this drug, including the following:

  • Cardiovascular problems, including increased blood pressure and irregular heart rhythm.
  • Loss of appetite, disruption in normal eating patterns
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Increased risk of developing a mental health issue, such as depression, paranoia, or hostility
  • Difficulty sleeping or insomnia

The college years have the potential to be a fulfilling time of growth, development, and advancement for the future.  Misusing drugs, such as Adderall, might seem like a reasonable idea for managing the various demands that come with the college life, but the long-term risks far outweigh any short-term benefit.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

Doy you know someone struggling with stimulant abuse or addiction?  What have you tried to help?

Crystal Headshot 2About the Author:

Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC, is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves as the Director of Content and Social Media for Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope, where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work.

As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH/AH and nutrition private practice.

[1]:  National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on October 30, 2016
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