Why Do People Use Adderall?

Rachel, a student at the world-renowned and prestigious Parsons School of Design has been working a full-time job at Ralph Lauren and taking care of her daughter and Ross. Rachel is very stressed about her academic performance and doesn’t think she’ll be able to complete all of our projects on time. Her friend Joey, also enrolled at the school, as a model, suggests that she should look into purchasing a stimulant such as Adderall in order to focus more at night and complete her projects. And while it does look tempting, Rachel is confused and is indecisive on whether or not to take a stimulant so let’s help Rachel out in determining whether this would be a good option for her.


Stimulants are the most popular type of drug, misused by University students, in order to improve their academic performance. A study found that the most commonly used stimulant for University students was Adderall. The study showed that a shocking seventy-one-point four-percent of the students surveyed were using it. That is quite a shocking number, especially given that around 70 percent of dentistry pharmacy and medical students were also found to be illicitly taking the drug.

Why has Adderall become the “Study Drug”?

So why is it the students who are supposed to be so medically informed about drugs are also abusing it. Let’s take a look into the reasons behind why the drug is taken a study conducted by De Santis in Haines found 175 full-time undergraduate students who are illegally using Adderall and interviewed them. The four major arguments presented by the student population included comparison and contrast. The most common justification for taking the drug was being taken for better grades, rather than for a negative outcome such as getting a high. The second one was the moderation argument, unlike other drugs, Adderall users are strategic and normally take it during periods of high academic stress, therefore, they feel very little guilt or anxiety of using amphetamine as its use as occasional or rare. The third one was self-medicating argument students self-diagnosed themselves with ADHD because they have difficulty focusing and therefore physiologically and morally justified the use of the drug. The last argument was the minimization argument they minimized the serious nature of amphetamines by assuming Iram may be just as acceptable as an anti-fatigue aid which is very similar to coffee.

And in Rachel’s situation, the argument sounds pretty strong, but there’s more you should know before deciding whether or not to use the drug. Let’s look at our review done by Smith & Faro where they reviewed studies from 40 lots and looked at the effects of Adderall on cognition the effects on cognition were assessed by various learning tasks such as rote memorization of visual and verbal material the data suggests that there is an improvement in rote learning task performance after using a stimulant such as Adderall. However, these studies only found correlations in rote memory tasks, not complex memory which is what is more likely to appear on a University exam. In order to determine whether there are any improvements in executive functioning a study, they reviewed assessed the effects of Adderall on working memory the evidence showed a mix of a finding of enhancement and null results. The small enhancement was mainly found in subjects with lower cognitive performance; therefore, the drug is more effective in correcting a deficit rather than enhancing performance the drug is found to enhance some functioning. However, it is dependent on the baseline performance of individuals as lower performing individuals become more enhanced than high performers. Thus the drug does not offer much help to people with greater intellectual ability; moreover, the placebo effect can also play a huge role in thinking we have become a more focused lobby. Earlywine examined whether the placebo effect influenced report of cognitive performance among college students. Interestingly participants believed that their ability to focus had increased for a longer period of time; therefore, Rachel’s result of these studies show a very limited support for the enthusiastic portrayal of cognitive enhancements.

The issue is Rachel though the drug may not be portrayed negatively within the media it has very diverse effects. As it is an infinite mean some of the major side effects include loss of appetite, insomnia, weight loss, agitation, and urinary tract infections. Large doses can lead to schizophrenia, seizures, cardiovascular disease, and even death. Your body has the ability to become tolerant of the small doses you’ll take a bad role; therefore, you’ll ultimately end up increasing the doses in order to get the same effects as you did the last time you took it. This can lead to dependency and addiction as it has now become classified by the FDA as a schedule 2 drug for its high abuse potential.


So, Rachel, you have to be very careful about taking drugs without a prescription as you are not fully aware of what your body’s response may not be a good idea. As a recap about what we’ve learned, we have the four arguments on why students use Adderall. Which include comparison and contrast moderation, self-medicating, and minimization arguments. We’ve also covered the effects of Adderall and its role in learning memory and cognitive control. Where the Adderall showed to have no immediate effects on memory showed the only improvement in rote learning tasks; rather than, complex memory tasks which are more relative of University tests. Lastly, we learned enhancements were more pronounced in students with general lower cognitive ability there was also a significant role of the placebo in improving cognitive ability and we reviewed the collateral effects associated with abusing the drug. 


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