In the United States, the misuse of study drugs is rapidly increasing. Teenagers and young adults are using prescription medications originally developed to help people with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) focus and stay alert. In colleges and high schools around the country, students are not taking these drugs to get high. Instead, they use them because they believe the drugs will increase their efforts to overachieve and excel.
What Are Study Drugs?
Study drugs are prescription amphetamines. They are central nervous system stimulants classified by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as Schedule II drugs. Drugs with this classification have a medically approved use. They also have a high potential for addiction or abuse. When prescribed by a medical professional and used as intended, the drugs are safe to use. The two most common medications used as study drugs are Ritalin ((methylphenidate) and Adderall (dextroamphetamine and amphetamine).
Additional medications used as study drugs include:
- Concerta (methylphenidate)
- Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine)
- Focalin (dexmethylphenidate)
- Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine)
The drugs work by increasing the levels of certain chemicals in the brain that play a role in attention and focus. They stimulate the central nervous system and help users stay awake and alert for extended periods.
The Rise in Study Drug Use
The use of study drugs is rapidly rising, especially among college students. An article from the National Library of Medicine estimates that 20 percent of college students take study drugs. That means that out of every 100 college students, 20 are using these drugs without a prescription. Unfortunately, study drugs are more easily available than ever before. Students can purchase them from friends who have prescriptions or buy them online. There is no way to know if the prescription site is real or fake or laced with some other drug.
The Dangers of Study Drug Abuse
Many students have the misconception that study drugs are harmless. They see these drugs as a quick and easy solution to academic stress and pressure. However, study drugs can be highly addictive, and using them comes with many risks.
One of the most immediate concerns is the potential for addiction. Study drugs, such as Adderall and Ritalin, are powerful stimulants that can create a sense of euphoria and increased energy. This pleasurable feeling can quickly lead to dependence and the need for higher doses to achieve the desired effects. The cycle of addiction can be difficult to break, and individuals may find themselves relying on these drugs to function in their daily lives.
Study drugs increase the person’s heart rate, cause irregular heartbeats, and raise their blood pressure, putting a strain on their cardiovascular system and increasing their risk of heart attack, stroke, or seizures. The drugs increase the person’s body temperature, cause shortness of breath, and activate their metabolism. They may experience headaches, dizziness, depression, mood swings, irritability, anxiety, nervousness, loss of appetite, and sleep problems, such as insomnia.
The Dangers of Mixing Study Drugs with Alcohol and Other Substances
Mixing study drugs with alcohol and other substances can have dangerous and potentially life-threatening consequences. When study drugs, which are already powerful stimulants, are combined with alcohol or other drugs, the effects on the body and mind can be intensified and unpredictable.
Alcohol, for example, is a depressant that slows down the central nervous system. When mixed with study drugs, which are stimulants, it can create a dangerous imbalance in the body. This combination can lead to an increase in heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and heart palpitations. Additionally, it can impair judgment and decision-making, making it more likely for individuals to engage in risky behaviors or make poor choices.
Mixing study drugs with other drugs, such as opioids, is extremely dangerous. These combinations have unpredictable effects on the body, increasing the risk of overdose or other serious health complications. Study drugs should never be combined with any other substances, as the consequences can be severe, even deadly.
Are You Struggling with Addiction?
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction to study drugs or any other substance, it is critical to seek help immediately. Addiction is a chronic brain disease that can affect anyone. Now is the time to get the help you need. At Anabranch Recovery Center in Terre Haute, Indiana, our caring professionals will provide the tools you need to live a sober life. Take the first step on the path to recovery and reclaiming your life.