ADHD Pill Use on College Campuses

ADHD Pill Use on College CampusesIllicit use of prescription stimulant medication on college campuses has increased in recent years. Stimulant medications are prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to increase focus. However, as many as 35 percent of college students have taken these medications illicitly to increase focus and drive and to assist with exams or other stressful assignments.

What Are Stimulants?

Stimulants are a class of drugs that increase activity in the central nervous system (CNS). In its broadest sense, stimulants include drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, caffeine, cigarettes and amphetamines, which include medications prescribed for ADHD. Two of the prescription medications prescribed for ADHD are Ritalin and Adderall, which are commonly misused by college students.

Amphetamines like Ritalin and Adderall are highly overprescribed, particularly to children and young adults. They are easy to acquire on college campuses, even for those without a prescription. Those students without a prescription typically do not have trouble finding someone else who does. Most abusers of these drugs are also willing to pay 2 to 5 dollars for each pill, and the sellers, who are often prescribed the medication, know that they can get more. Amphetamines circulate readily through college organizations, such as fraternities and sororities. Any abuse of these medications, especially by those without a prescription, puts people at risk of serious health dangers.

Dangers of Abusing Stimulant Medications

In 2010, a Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) report sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) stated that emergency room (ER) visits related to ADHD drugs increased to 31,224 people. It was also reported that ER visits of college aged students related to ADHD drug use quadrupled at that time. The abuse of these drugs can cause irregular heartbeat and dangerously high blood pressure. It can also cause cardiovascular failure or seizures, which may be life threatening.

When stimulants like Adderall or Ritalin are taken for long periods of time, the body becomes dependent on the drug. To get the same effects, a larger dose is eventually needed, but with these higher doses, there is an increase in side effects. With long-term use, paranoia and hallucinations may occur. Extreme anxiety also occurs with long-term abuse of these stimulants. There have been several cases in which Adderall addiction contributed to suicide, particularly in college students.

Signs of Stimulant Addiction

With prolonged or excessive use of stimulants, addiction may occur. The physical and psychological indicators of addiction to these medications include the following:

  • Chronic sleep problems
  • Excessive sweating
  • Panic attacks
  • Weight loss
  • Depression
  • Loss of coordination
  • Visual and auditory hallucinations

Discontinuation of stimulants, especially after becoming addicted, can produce even more unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, which may include the following:

  • Inability to feel pleasure
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Drug cravings
  • Extreme fear
  • Mood swings

Addiction to stimulants is often more unpleasant than the initial reason for using the medication.

Get Help for Stimulant Addiction

Abuse of stimulant medications can lead to serious health consequences and addiction. If you or someone you know has become addicted to stimulant drugs, it is important to seek appropriate treatment. Please call our toll-free number today. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you have about stimulant addiction treatment.