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What Are the Long-Term Effects of Using “Study Drugs” ADHD Medication?

Long hours, intense coursework, stressful workloads, grade-defining tests — academic life can be challenging. You may feel it’s impossible to keep up with your assignments and get everything done. Add the pressure of making good grades, and you may be willing to try almost anything to succeed.

Study aid drugs like Adderall and Ritalin are some of the most commonly misused stimulants on university campuses. Yet these prescription medications can have a long-term negative impact on your life even after you graduate.

Why Students Use Study Aid Drugs

The culture of academia is more volatile than ever, both in high school and college settings. Concentration and focus drugs are seen as magic pills that can help young people easily memorize and regurgitate the information they need.

Study drugs are usually stimulants prescribed to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), such as Adderall, Ritalin, Focalin, Vyvanse and Concerta. Some students in high school and college use these medications for non-medical purposes, believing they will help improve their studies and school performance. There are many reasons students use study aid drugs, including:

  • Deal with academic pressures
  • Heightened energy levels and productivity
  • Increased mental focus and concentration
  • Boosted stamina for long study sessions
  • Improved memorization

Are Study Drugs Safe?

The consequences of taking study aids that are not prescribed to them may come back to haunt the students who. This class of drugs has harmful short-term and long-term effects. Medications like Adderall are prescribed with care to individuals who truly need them, and they are not engineered for extended use.

When taken by students who do not have a prescription, study aid drugs can have dangerous and immediate consequences:

  • Side effects like nausea, restlessness and verbal tics
  • Seizures
  • Can trigger a mental illness that’s otherwise dormant
  • Overdose can lead to heart attack, stroke or liver failure
  • Taking these with other substances can be fatal

Some effects of taking study aid drugs may not be obvious now. The human brain is a marvelous organ that is constantly developing. As you age, you may realize that long-term mental and physical damage has been done. This could include:

  • Impaired cognitive abilities, such as working memory and multitasking ability
  • Hallucinations
  • Anxiety and other mental health disorders
  • Heightened blood pressure
  • Weight loss or gain

Are Study Aid Drugs Addictive?

Like any stimulant, study aids can lead to addiction. These amphetamine-based drugs can be habit-forming and have a high potential for misuse. ADHD medications stimulate the brain’s reward center and cause the brain to release the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine. While this creates the heightened sense of focus and energy that students are seeking, they can also produce a sense of euphoria — a rush students can begin to crave.

Long-term use of study aids can create serious dependency problems. These medications can alter your brain chemistry, leading to withdrawal symptoms if you attempt to quit or cut back. Students may even feel like taking these drugs is the only way they feel normal or happy.

Help Is Available at Gateway Foundation

At Gateway Foundation, we understand that addiction can impact anyone, even students. That’s why we personalize our programs to meet your exact needs so you can achieve academic success without drugs.

If you or someone you love needs help breaking free from addiction, we are here for you. Our programs allow you to learn the skills needed to face the stressors of academia without study drugs. Contact us today to learn about our outpatient and residential treatment programs.

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