The most ironic fact about mental health medications? Many of them are addictive. For instance, Adderall! Like a bunch of rocks piled over your gas pedal to keep you going without driving, Adderall serves as a stimulant to drastically boost your cognitive control and give you the euphoria you will surely crave for.
The formulation used for Adderall is originally a reformulation of the weight-loss drug Obetrol (a drug withdrawn from the market). The drug was marketed by pharmaceutical company Rexar until the company was acquired by Richwood Pharmaceuticals in 1994. After rigorous discussion with FDA due to several violations, Obetrol was then rebranded in 1996 as Adderall and marketed for ADHD and, later, narcolepsy. One year later, Richwood Pharmaceuticals was acquired by Shire Pharmaceuticals. In 2002, the first generic version of Adderall IR was released.
Adderall Use – A college student’s Anti-hero
Adderall is prescribed to treat ADHD and narcolepsy, thanks to its active ingredient amphetamine. Amphetamine can improve brain development and growth while improving neurotransmitter activities. Since people with ADHD have problems with neurotransmitter activities (such as dopamine activity in certain parts of the brain), Amphetamine can help in the treatment process.
The use of Adderall is not limited to ADHD and narcolepsy. Sometimes, it is used as a cognitive performance enhancer and aphrodisiac (both uses not yet proven to be safe). With the surge of energy gained from Adderall, the physical, mental and social performance of a person is boosted. Thus, Adderall abuse is common among college students who need an extra hand (or, more closely, extra energy and cognitive skill such as memory) to help them in their midterm reviews and daily college struggles. Sadly, the intention will not justify Adderall abuse in the eyes of addiction consequences.
Adderall and Culture
The worst side of Adderall abuse is it has been a part of college culture. Nowadays, it is common to see social media posts and overhear conversations about Adderall as a study buddy. The intention may sometimes be to joke about how difficult college life is, but whether people post about Adderall to look for sellers or to simply joke about how tough a midterm examination is, there is no denying that Adderall abuse is seen as a casual matter.
As Adderall use worsens, Adderall tolerance will set in. The college student’s Robin Hood buddy will no longer do bad things for the sake of good. Instead, Adderall will simply be a good-for-nothing villain. Prolonged use of Adderall, without proper medical supervision, will inflict tolerance on a person. The abuser will now require higher doses to feel the effect of Adderall. As a result, they will seek more, consume more and eventually become addicted. Worse, a person may end up being overdosed. Needless to say, Adderall overdose can be fatal.
Signs Of Adderall Abuse
Adderall can inflict various irregularities to your physical and mental health including the following:
- Digestive Problems
- Too much/underwhelming sex drive
- Numbness/Tingling in the Arms and Legs
- Chest Pain
The worst cases may include seizures, especially during withdrawal.
Just like any other drugs out there, Adderall will induce various symptoms if a person decides to withdraw. Hence, medical supervision is necessary during withdrawal. Rehab centers can help in this aspect through proper detox and therapy.
Because of Adderall abuse, an Adderall abuser’s brain has been very exposed to dopamine. As the brain craves for more, so does the person. Once the brain is no longer exposed to too much dopamine boosted by artificial means, withdrawal symptoms will set in.
Adderall withdrawal symptoms can be deadly, ranging from simple slurred speech and disrupted the cognitive ability to arrhythmia or the abnormal rhythm of the heart which can be deadly, especially if combined with alcohol.