Adderall Addiction

Adderall: A Study Buddy Who Isn’t So Friendly
Adderall addiction among college students is a growing trend in the United States.
Approximately 6.4 percent of college students used Adderall recreationally in the past year.

Commonly compared to the addictive drug cocaine, Adderall is prescribed to treat symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. However, its side effects are what many college students are drawn to. With the coming of age also comes the responsibility of determining one’s own time management skills. Although college is intended to be an educational setting, for most young adults, the draw of play before work is all too seductive. Thus, work before sleep becomes the dilemma many college students are faced with, and depend on Adderall to come to the rescue.

When taken improperly, Adderall has side effects of difficulty sleeping or staying asleep. To college students, however, these side effects have become its intended purpose. Late-night cram sessions and the need to pull all-nighters to complete coursework have led to an abusive use of the prescribed drug. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.4 percent of fulltime college students aged 18-22 used Adderall recreationally in the past year.

What constitutes abuse?

Abuse of Adderall includes taking the drug for reasons other than its intended use such as staying awake longer or reaching a euphoric state. Addiction to the drug has also been proven to have a correlation with the abuse of alcohol and other illegal drugs. Nearly 90 percent of students who reported misusing Adderall also reported binge drinking within the past month. The drug is considered to have high potential for misuse and dependence stemming from unresolved biological, psychological or environmental issues.

What many college students failed to consider, though, are the additional side effects of misusing Adderall. Uncontrollable shaking, nausea and diarrhea are some of the less-serious symptoms of Adderall abuse. More severe side effects include seizures, hallucinations and blistering or peeling skin. Although they may have gotten away with procrastination, students do not always get off scot-free. Those who do become addicted to Adderall will build up a tolerance to it and develop dependency.

Coming down

With dependency to Adderall, like any other addictive drug, comes withdrawal. Weaning off of the drug after extended addiction can be extremely unpleasant. Withdrawal from Adderall bares similar symptoms to the drug itself including weakness, tremors, irregular heartbeat, panic attacks, depression and paranoia. These side effects can last anywhere from 48 hours to 60 days depending on severity.

Peer pressure and the desire to fit in are conundrums all teenagers and young adults face. College is the first experience of complete independence most students have and where they will be faced with many life-altering decisions. In some college settings, drugs are issues about which students must form their own opinions. Being armed with information and knowledge will help them to make an educated judgment call. For more information on Adderall addiction visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website at