Our current fast-paced modern-day society promotes working longer hours and sleeping less. From the classroom to the office people are looking for ways to stay ahead of the competition, often at the expense of their mental and physical health. Many have turned to the use of so-called “smart drugs” to help enhance their performance. One such drug, Adderall, is prescribed for those with ADHD, however, Adderall is often misused in ways other than prescribed or intended.
While Adderall might be perceived as a cognitive enhancer by its users this may actually be a misconception. The drug does not actually provide cognitive enhancement for those without ADHD, but rather creates the perceived effects of having more motivation and energy.
Contrary to what users may think, individuals that abuse high doses of these drugs actually become more inattentive and have difficulty concentrating. In a study on college students, Adderall misuse was found to be negatively correlated with academic functioning.
Additionally, the misuse of Adderall can have dangerous side effects that can harm both the brain and body. Adderall side effects include:
- Issues with anxiety, restlessness, agitation, and/or irritability.
- Headache, blurred vision, dry mouth, and an unpleasant taste in the mouth.
- Diarrhea, constipation, nausea, stomach pain, and/or vomiting.
- Fever, weight loss, a loss of appetite.
- Sexual problems can include impotence and decreased libido particularly in males.
- Cardiovascular issues including increased blood pressure, heart palpitations, and an increased heart rate.
- Psychosis in some individuals (hallucinations and/or delusions).
- An increased probability to develop more severe cardiovascular issues such as chronic heart disease and/or stroke.
- Increased probability of developing seizures.