It is a lot like powering a golf cart with a nuclear reactor. Students shake, giggle incessantly and suddenly lack the awesome ability to shut up. If aliens invaded the continental United States, an Adderall abuser would study accounting through the entire incursion. It is the miracle pill for students willing to increase their odds on exams: a prescription that heightens concentration and alertness for countless hours. Yet is the small prescription pill worth the chance to fail miserably? Worst of all, in the gravest scenario, is it worth your life?
Adderall, a medication for attention deficit disorder, or ADHD, is compared by the federal government to cocaine, opium and morphine: all addictive agents highly vulnerable to abuse. According to Dr. Mike Farrell, a retired family physician and University of Texas Medical School graduate, Adderall boosts a user’s heart rate and elevates their blood pressure. For a person that illegally purchases the substance without a professional’s consent, this effect could send them straight to the hospital.
“A person may inadvertently worsen some health problem they did not even know existed,” explained Farrell. “For instance, if they had a tendency towards an irregular heart beat and they took a stimulant like this, they may end up in the emergency room.”
During his practice, Farrell suspected that patients in their 20’s and 30’s with irregular heat beats or heart trouble were possibly using cocaine or other stimulants like Adderall. Other indications included swift weight loss and young people that squirmed relentlessly. One science student on campus, who will be referred to as Deepthroat for confidentiality, can vouch for the good and less than great effects of the ADHD prescription pill.
“The concentration is totally heightened, like if you want to look at one point, you can completely disregard everything around it,” said Deepthroat. “You get unbelievably talkative though. I always had to have a cigarette in my hand. I basically turned into a chimney.”
Deepthroat explained that one of his friends, who was diagnosed with ADHD, was so afraid of Adderall’s drastic pull that she dropped the prescription altogether. In the Physicians Desk Reference (PDR), a 3,000-page book of prescription medications, Adderall is especially highlighted for its addiction. The PDR goes as far as to encourage doctors to recommend the pill sparingly. This is a common characteristic of an amphetamine, which Dr. Farrell compares to the products of the ever-so-famous meth labs.
“I think the obvious comparison of an amphetamine like Adderall is to the homemade methamphetamines,” said Farrell. “Methamphetamine and Adderall abusers become addicted faster. They are the little skinny speed freaks.”
In recent years, 25 deaths have been attributed to those that abuse these prescriptions; the kind of people that Deepthroat says can protrude through the crowd like alcoholics. At the International House of Pancakes on a late night, Deepthroat and his company cannot help but notice the kid that has played with his pen frantically for more than an hour. Some students who just popped Adderall to get through a few tests would become agitated or explode at restaurant employees over simple subjects. And when the affects of Adderall finally slip away, the user drops like an armless monkey from a banana tree.
“When you come down, you come down extremely fast. You become fatigued, drowsy and it slows your thought processes,” said Farrell.
If Adderall was ingested on Thursday for Friday afternoon’s exam, there’s a possibility that it would falter about the time you pulled the scantron from your backpack. Coming down from Adderall before or during an exam can crack anyone’s aspirations for a practical grade.
The unlucky students may ace an exam only to come down from Adderall when commuting back to Conroe and the Woodlands. This creates a strong attraction between a person’s car and nearby trees.
A cocktail of Adderall and alcohol can throw a student into turmoil. When you mix a stimulant like Adderall with a suppressant such as alcohol, your body gets confused and one of the two may override the other. Farrell said that after swallowing a stimulant, a victim can become ecstatic and drink more extensively. This can suppress their respiration and they may develop alcohol toxicity.
While prescriptions can work wonders for intended patients, the negative side effects show their intensity the most with people unintended for the medication. While depression victims feel like a million bucks on antidepressants, a normal individual may crash into a recession. Farrell suggests that there’s a gamble for exchanging $6 for a studying-enhancing pill. While the dice may roll in your favor, eventually someone may roll snake eyes.