Grand Futures: Why using prescription stimulants to study is a dangerous study habit
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
As the fall semester of 2021 begins for college students, many of these students have most likely heard the horror stories that come with the multiple exams back-to-back, mid-terms, research papers and the dreaded finals week.
Being a college student is not like being in high school by any means. The workload increases, and life gets more serious as these young adults transition into adulthood. While in college, it can seem almost impossible to complete the class work assignments, take care of daily life activities, maintain a job and still have time for a social life on natural baseline energy, and these are many of the reasons why a small percentage of college students are turning toward prescription stimulants, such as Adderall and Vyvanse, to give them the extra boost of energy they need to complete all of their homework on time while maintaining the other areas of their lives.
It is crucial to know that not all students are using prescription stimulants to study for hours and hours. According to data revealed in a survey taken by college students, which was published by the Partnership to End Addiction in 2014, 1 in 5 college students reported abusing prescription stimulants at least once in their lifetime compared to only 1 in 7 of their noncollege student peers reported abusing prescription stimulants.
Following this data, more recent data, published by the WebMD in an article titled “Adderall Abuse on College Campuses: Everything You Need to Know,” revealed that 11% of college students reported using prescription stimulants without a prescription. These numbers are way lower than one might expect since these stimulants are so widely talked about within the college community.
The real problem arises when the illicit use of prescription stimulants within the college environment is misperceived. Many students may believe that “everyone is using it” to study all night, when only a small fraction of college students use these medications without having a prescription to their name.
This misperception can lead to more students using these substances to study, which can ultimately lead to increased risk of a student developing a substance use disorder, which is where a person uses a substance repetitively even though the use of the substance interferes with their daily life.
The development of a substance use disorder puts an individual at high risk for developing a physical and mental addiction with the substance and may lead to changes in the brain where the individual develops cravings for the substance or starts to engage in drug seeking behavior.
WebMD states the health risks of long-term abuse of these substances are:
• Heart attack
• Coronary artery disease
• Circulation issues
• Abnormal heart rhythm
• Unwanted weight loss and malnutrition
College is the place where most students go to better themselves and their futures, but by risking the chance of developing health issues related to the abuse of these drugs, it could potentially derail a student’s progress.
Lance Phipps, with AmeriCorps VISTA, represents The Health Education and Resources Institute and Grand Futures Prevention Coalition.
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