ADHD Drug Addiction: The Risks for College Students

College Stress Leads to Stimulant Use

Part of the college experience – especially for students who live on campus – is enjoying the freedoms of being away from home. And with the roaring social life of most universities, there are plenty of reasons for students to fall behind on schoolwork.

The desire to improve academic performance is the main reason why students start using medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In fact, a recent study from the University of South Carolina found that 1 in 6 college students suffered from ADHD drug addiction or abuse.

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Although stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin can help students stay focused for longer periods of time, they are highly addictive. Occasional use often leads to dependence and long-term health consequences.

What Is ADHD?

ADHD is one of the most common psychological conditions among children. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the symptoms can persist through adolescence and even into adulthood.

The disorder is characterized by difficulty staying focused or paying attention, hyperactivity and an inability to control behavior. Psychologists are not entirely sure what causes ADHD, but many pharmaceuticals have been developed to treat its symptoms.

Ritalin and Adderall are the two most common ADHD medications. They are available in both instant release (IR) and extended release (ER) formulas. Numerous clinical trials have shown that these drugs improve self-esteem and social interactions.

So they help you study AND make you more sociable? Sounds like a magic pill to enhance the college experience, right?

The truth is that Adderall and Ritalin can both cause potentially fatal health risks, as well as other negative side effects. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, not a single study has proved that these stimulants enhance learning or thinking ability for people who do not have ADHD.

Stimulants Are Highly Addictive

Stimulants are among the most highly addictive drug classes. This is because they increase dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is associated with attention, movement, and pleasure. The euphoric sensation that accompanies Adderall and Ritalin use can lead to abuse and addiction.

Health Consequences of Stimulant Abuse

 The effects of abusing ADHD medications range from malnutrition to seizures. Addicts have a lower appetite, which leads to vitamin and nutrient deficiencies.  Overuse often leads to insomnia while long-term abuse of Adderall or Ritalin can cause nervous tics such as sudden body movements or facial twitches. Overdosing on one of these stimulants can lead to psychotic episodes, lethargy, agitation or a seizure.

Addiction to ADHD Medication Is Treatable

People who are addicted to Adderall or Ritalin usually have a strong physical and psychological dependence. Stimulants can be particularly difficult to quit but professional rehab and counseling can provide the foundation for a successful recovery.

Since 1988, Prescott House has been helping men uncover the root of their addictive behaviors and successfully maintain long-term sober lifestyle. If you would like to learn more about treatments for ADHD medication dependence, contact us today at 866-425-4637.

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