Sunday September 25th 2016

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Why do successful students use Adderall (and how you can help them)?

Why Successful Teens Don’t Think Adderall Abuse Is A Problem

The stereotypical image of a drug-addicted teen is usually one with bad grades, scruffy appearance, bad friends and a general disrespect for authority. However, one of the fastest-rising groups of teen drug abusers are some of the top students with overachiever tendencies.

These good students aren’t abusing the hard drugs like cocaine or heroin, however. Prescription stimulant pills, also known as “good grade pills”, are being used by successful students across the country to boost their performances at school. Adderall, a drug used to help teens with ADD and ADHD, tops the list of good grade pills.

What is Adderall?

A number of stimulant drugs like Adderall (amphetamine salts) and Ritalin (methylphenidate) have been developed to help ADD and ADHD students overcome symptoms related to attention. In this population, taking medications actually CALMS the mind and alters behavior. How is Adderall abused? When taken by non-ADD/ADHD teens and young people, these drugs boost focus and information retention. Successful teens who are seeking academic advantages will buy the pills from other kids or fake ADD/ADHD themselves in order to get prescriptions.

Teens justify Adderall abuse because their motivations are different than teens who use drugs recreationally. They reason that the drug use is only occasional, such as when studying for or taking big tests. They also think that the end result – good grades, more energy for extracurricular activities, and getting in to good colleges – makes the drug use worth it. Bucking the stereotype of teen drug abusers who want to escape their lives or medicate their pain, successful teens who abuse Adderall are doing fine and have the desire to do even better. But, eventually they will need help for an Adderall problem.

What’s Wrong If It Works?

The problem with Adderall is that performance enhancement comes at a price. Like any stimulant, Adderall causes the body to accelerate in several areas, but is always followed by a crash. Using stimulants like Adderall can lead to mood swings, irregular heartbeat, exhaustion and even depression. Of course, addiction is one of the biggest side effects of Adderall abuse. While there are no long-term studies that look at the effects of Adderall abuse, researchers worry that there could be a host of health issues that can appear later in life for those who abused Adderall and other stimulants in their teen years.

How You Can Help

Communication is a key part of making sure that teens stay away from drugs of any type, but family, friends, or parents only focus on the big, scary illegal drugs, painting the picture of the unemployed, homeless drug addict. However, this image doesn’t match the overachieving, successful student scenario that teens find themselves in when using stimulants like Adderall. Loved ones must include prescription drug abuse discussions in the family drug abuse conversations and ensure that teens are educated on the downsides of using good grade pills.

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Furthermore, if someone that you care about has a problem with Adderall, you can intervene. Early intervention can halt a larger problem, and has been connected with optimal treatment results. How is Adderall addiction treated? Usually, with a combination of psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, and/or group support. So, if you think a loved one has a problem…talk with them openly about your concerns, learn about addiction, and seek professional help.

The more that you know, the more you can help.

Questions about why students use Adderall

Do you still have questions about why people are using Adderall or how you can help them? Please leave your questions in the comments section directly below. We’ll do our best to respond to you quickly, with a personal reply.

Photo credit: NLM Pillbox

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About Tyler Jacobson

Tyler is a freelance writer/journalist, with past experience as the head content writer and outreach coordinator for HelpYourTeenNow. His areas of focus include: parenting, education, social media, addiction, and issues facing teenagers today.

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