Study Drugs: Why They Aren't Helpful

A variety of pills.

It’s time for the big test. You’re ready to take your midterm or your SAT or that quiz that will determine if your parents will ground you. You’re cramming, so you’re trying all the tricks – drinking water, pacing the room, eating chocolate, and….taking pills?

“Study drugs,” are prescription pills like Adderall and Ritalin that a student abuses to gain. 1 in 5 college students across the country already are hooked on it.

With busy school and social lives, students turn to Adderall to get through "all-nighters" of writing and studying. For people with ADHD, Aderall calms them. For people without diagnosable attention problems, however, these drugs trigger hyperactivity and (what they think is) productivity. Funny thing is, these medications don’t increase memory or make you any smarter. They keep you awake and alert, but there’s no guarantee you retain more information for the test.

Using a drug that you don't really need can have some serious consequences. If you use Aderall for a long time you can develop a tolerance, and eventually you'll need to take more and more to get the results you want. Ultimately, you may become addicted and feel a need to take the drug in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms like hunger, fatigue, depression, or nightmares. Aderall abusers can have sudden, stroke, heart attack, seizures, or even death.

Oh, ya and it’s a crime to possess this kind of medicine without a prescription.

Nevertheless, students continue to press on, feeling like they'll be more alert when taking the SAT. As competition increases to get the highest class rank, students might even start using just to keep up.

Source: The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University