The Growing Use Of Adderall On College Campuses

The Growing Use Of Adderall On College Campuses

The get-ahead drug.

Late night cram sessions at the library are an all too common, yet too true, stereotype of a typical college lifestyle. All-nighters have become normal nights, and the drive to succeed has overcome many people’s lives. The twenty first century is more fast paced, technologically advanced, and competitive than ever before, which is why it makes sense that the new drug of choice for college students is not one used for recreation but one used to “get ahead.” The pressure college students face on a daily basis is what influenced the increase in the non-prescription consumption of the drug, but not everyone is on board with this new drug of choice.

The off label Adderall use is in direct relationship to the fast paced and technically advanced social changes that are occurring while they are studying at university. An article from the New Yorker states

"Neuroenhancers are perfectly suited for the anxiety of white-collar competition in a floundering economy. And they have a synergistic relationship with our multiplying digital technologies: the more gadgets we own, the more distracted we become, and the more we need help in order to focus."

Moreover, college acceptance rates are getting lower and the student body that is getting accepted gets more and more competitive each year; and the institution continually reminds the students of that. Workloads are getting heavier, but students are still asked to get good grades, participate in clubs and organizations to build their résumé, look for internships that can lead them to a potential job straight out of college, and to do all this on top of maintaining a social life. According to University of Michigan’s Substance Abuse Research Center

"…white male undergraduates at highly competitive schools are the most frequent collegiate users of neuroenhancers. Users are also most likely to belong to a fraternity or a sorority, and have a GPA of 3.0 or lower. They are ten times as likely to report that they have smoked marijuana in the past year, and twenty times as likely to say that they have used cocaine. In other words they are decent students where, to be a great student, you have to give up a lot more partying than they’re willing to give up."

These statistics describe the participants of this subculture; students who are smart enough and dedicated enough to get into the rigorous schools, but those who like to participate in the social world that college has to offer them. The use of recreational drugs is not to say that Adderall is a gate way drug, but to describe the behaviors that those in the culture participate in in order to explain more thoroughly why they would need Adderall. The hangovers and long nights out without a doubt effect their school work and Adderall is their quick fix in order to focus and get work done efficiently. Essentially Adderall users don’t want to be the best at their school, but the best that they can be within their current lifestyles (The New Yorker).

How the drug is administrated also influences the viewpoint that college students have on their practice. The fact that they are taking the pill as it is prescribed to those suffering from ADHD, taking it orally for help with concentration on school work, allows them to justify their off label use of the drug as “good” and not something “bad” that people on the street would do. It is widely believed in the subculture that they are using the drug for the right reasons, to stay focused and excel in school. Students don’t see any harm in taking a drug not proscribed to them in order to stay up five extra hours in order to finish a paper.The rigorous colleges that many of those participating in the subculture attend are a breeding ground for the competitiveness that influences it, so many people see Adderall use as a trendy way to keep up with their studies.

Those who are not using do not share the same viewpoints that the users of Adderall rave about. According to the New Yorker

"At many colleges, students have begun calling the off-label use of neuroenhancers a form of cheating. Writing last year in the Cavalier Daily, the student newspaper of the University of Virginia, a columnist named Greg Crapanzano argued that neuroenhancers ‘create an unfair advantage for the users who are willing to break the law in order to gain an edge. These students create work that is dependent on the use of a pill rather than their own work ethic.’"

This is the common complaint that comes from full time college students that are not participating in the Adderall culture. They are worried about being at a disadvantage because they don’t want to break the law in order to get their work done, and this growing anxiety is motivating them to fight against the use of Adderall in an attempt to get it recognized as a form of cheating on an institutional level. Those within the subculture argue that the use of Adderall is not cheating because they still had to come up with the thoughts that went into their essay or that they used to solve a challenging physics problem, Adderall only allowed them to focus their thoughts.

More opposition towards the subculture come from those who worry about the dangers of such frequent non-prescribed Adderall use. Those in the subculture view the drug as completely harmless, likely due to the fact that many of them have grown up with people who were diagnosed with ADHD and have been taking the drug their entire life. However, even Keith Connors, a man who fought to legitimize ADHD in the medical world, is worried about the incredible scale that Adderall is being given out. At a conference in Washington he stated that the rising rates of diagnosis and use is “a national disaster of dangerous proportions” and stated that “this is a concoction to justify the giving out of medication at unprecedented and unjustifiable levels” (The New York Times). This is likely due to the fact that Adderall is a schedule II drug. What many users are stating is a harmless drug that they won’t become addicted to is actually classified as a drug that has “a high potential for abuse which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence” (MedShadow). The fears about the side effects of Adderall are not a direct response to the college subculture as one may think, however. This worry and even disgust with the rate that the medication has been given out is more focused on the pharmaceutical companies for advertising the drug incorrectly. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration has cited Adderall for false and misleading advertising since year 2000. Their ads that Adderall is essentially “safer than aspirin,” when in reality abuse can lead to depression and anxiety, has no doubt been a factor in the widespread use of the amphetamine on college campuses. Reports of this somewhat “fad” of using Adderall to get through tough weeks of college and the medical knowledge that Adderall can have serious side effects and be a dangerous drug has caused more medical professionals to get involved with educating the public about the real dangers that this popular practice could be having on the new futures of America.

Colleges are even joining the fight to stop the spread of the use and trade of the amphetamine on their campuses. The recent non-stop media attention surrounding the off label use of the drug has encouraged schools to implement multiple strategies in order to protect their students from the potential risks of Adderall. For example, at California State University, Fresno students must go through two months of testing and paperwork before the student health office will even approve a diagnosis of ADHD. Then to get the prescription for Adderall the student most sign a formal contract “promising to submit to drug testing, to see a mental health professional every month, and to not share the pills.” Marquette requires students to sign a release form allowing the health office to call their parents and confirm their symptoms and medical histories. Duke even agreed with Greg Crapanzano that the use of Adderall is a form of cheating and added that “the unauthorized use of prescription medication to enhance academic performance” qualifies as academic dishonesty (The New York Times).

At it's best Adderall is being seen as a way to improve grades and study harder, but at it's worst it is being seen as a dangerous cheating mechanism. Only time will tell if Adderall use becomes more widespread and socially acceptable or if regulation will be increased.

Cover Image Credit: brainprotips

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.

Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs.

In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm...

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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Buying New Clothes Every Month Has Been The Key To Helping Me Become Happy With My Body Again

Loving my body in new outfits has boosted my self image so much.


Being body-positive has been really hard for me to do throughout 2019, despite there being an overwhelming surge in body-positivity around me, whether through my friends and family or YouTube. I look in the mirror and what I see is someone I want to make a jean size or two smaller like in the past. That being said, I've slowly been coming around to accepting the body I have now, instead of bashing it constantly. A key way I've come to accept the body I'm in now is through buying myself something new every month, like a new T-shirt or a pair of jeans or sneakers that help me see myself in a positive light. When I'm in a new outfit, I feel invincible. I don't think about how pudgy my stomach is, or about the hair I have growing in random places, like my neck or on my nose (yes, not just in, but ON too).

My bank account tends to suffer as of recently because of this, but it's worth it when I can genuinely feel good in what I am wearing every day. I like to wake up and think about how many outfits I can put together, ready to post my #OOTD for Snapchat without caring what anyone thinks. I've let social media dictate how I feel about myself more than I care to admit. I see how perfect all the models are in everything they're wearing from brands I know and love, yet when I try the same thing on, it's a whole different ugly story.

I don't enjoy trying things on to avoid the shame I feel when things don't fit me right, or if something that I thought would flatter me actually makes me look like a sack of potatoes. Instagram has really hurt my body image a lot — enough to make me delete it for a week after one post sent me spiraling. Going through those bumps made me finally realize it's not my fault if something doesn't fit. Sizes range depending on the item, it's the clothing items fault, not mine. Now that I see that, it's easier to brush off something not fitting me as it should. I know my size very well in the stores I frequent the most, so it's easier for me to pick out things I know will look good and not have to worry about the sizing issue.

Buying yourself something new is not something you should limit to every few months or longer. You shouldn't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone price wise every once and a while either. Coupons exist, stories always offer you them when you first sign up to receive emails and even texts. You can be crafty and still get a high price item for less. If you treat yourself to cheap things, you won't feel half as good as you want to. Granted, sticking to a limit is important but there's no shame in going over the limit every once and a while.

I love shopping as much as I love country music and writing short stories — a lot. Yes, I get yelled at almost every time I get something new. I need to save my money for important things, like for my sorority or for medical issues that could suddenly arise, or for utilities at my house next year off campus.

However, my mental well-being is not something I can ignore.

I can't push the good feelings aside to save 30 or 40 bucks a month. I don't want to feel as low as I've felt about myself anymore. I'm tired of feeling sad or angry at who I am, and I want to learn how to accept myself as I am. Buying myself something new, like clothes, is what offers a positive light to view myself under.

Whether you treat yourself to dinner at your favorite restaurant, or to face masks, or to a new movie when it comes out — don't be afraid to do it. Put yourself first and you'll realize your worth and how much you've been ignoring it in the face of poor confidence.

My confidence isn't back up to where it used to be, but it's getting there.

It may not be the most cash efficient method of self-love, but my body positivity is better than it was a few months ago. Aerie and American Eagle have really helped me become happier with my body, and I can't thank them enough for being more inclusive for people like me who are learning to love themselves again in a new body.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel for all of us hoping to promote our own body positivity, and it could all start with a simple purchase from your favorite store after you read this.

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