In the past years, the nootropics industry witnessed an upsurge in the demand and usage of smart drugs. College students are the top patrons, especially during exams and graduation season. Everyone is burning the midnight oil to pass exams and perform well in their academics. But the alarming truth is that some students pop pills one after the other, and even using ADHD medications as their study stack. Adderall, for one, is an abused substance as it can give an instant boost of mental clarity to its takers. So is Adderall a nootropic? You’ll find out here.
Aside from the infamous Adderall, another prescription medicine called Ritalin is also taking the rounds of schools. It’s potent like Adderall, but it also harbors a sinister side once dependence and tolerance start to build up.
ADHD medications nootropics
Don’t get me wrong. There are ADHD medications that are used widely as nootropics, but only after an extensive series of tests and clearing from medical professionals. The likes of Noopept are previously used to reduce the symptoms of ADHD. But after studies found out of its potential memory-enhancing properties, it was introduced as a safe smart drug.
It could be the same case with Adderall and Ritalin, you might think. But before you pop another pill of this highly potent prescription drug, you should read the following points.
Tolerance and dependence
If there’s one reason why you should stop taking Adderall or even the idea of entertaining it is the danger of developing dependence. Those who take Adderall for a long time now would start developing tolerance. This means that the effect would be fewer than before which will push them to ingest a bigger dose; something that escalates the problem.
So is Adderall a nootropic? Basically, it’s not. It’s an amphetamine. This gives Adderall a very high dependency rate. Dependence is the feeling that you need to take a certain substance just so you’ll be in your “normal” self. Non-ADHD patients who take Adderall will likely develop physical dependence if they continuously take the medication. Quitting isn’t easy at this point in time as withdrawal symptoms will start to surface and affect the studies of a student.
If you’re taking at least 30 mg of Adderall a day for your studies, you should seek the help of a medical professional. This amount already falls in the tolerance range of taking the medication. You stand the risk of going beyond that in the future when your tolerance builds up even more. And as far as doctors are concerned, the outcome isn’t favorable for your academics, let alone your health.
Addiction and psychosis
Students who don’t stop taking Adderall would be on the brink of addition, and worse, psychosis. Dependence is just the tip of the iceberg of Adderall’s ominous side effects. If someone continuously pops these pills, addiction would be inevitable. Take note that as a stimulant, Adderall has almost the same effect as taking cocaine. When you habitually take Adderall, your body will adjust to its new level of normality. This will result in physical dependence and addiction.
And if the person takes Adderall for a prolonged period, he may start to see and hear things. So far, mental illnesses like psychosis are the worst side effects of ADHD medications taken as nootropics without proper supervision. So is Adderall a nootropic? In the medical sense, it’s not a safe choice.
There are medical reports in the past indicating that the active ingredients in ADHD medications like Concerta and Ritalin can trigger horrifying hallucinations in a 15-year old. It can also result in depression if taken wrongfully by a 7-year old.
A case in Virginia Beach had a man took his own life due to extreme addiction to ADHD medications and different stimulants. For a student who has no plan of ditching Adderall, this scenario isn’t far from happening.
Emergency room statistics
If you’re not convinced about the harm Adderall and ADHD medications can bring as a covert smart drug, take some time to digest this emergency room statistics.
A study from The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that more and more adults are being lured to take Adderall as a non-medical substance. Citing statistical comparison from 2006 to 2011, emergency room visits of people taking Adderall as a non-medical drug has soared to 155.9%.
It’s important to mention here that non-medical prescription of Adderall has also increased during that period by up to 61%. However, further studies proved that this has nothing to do with the rising abuse of Adderall. The trend of doctors writing more prescription for Adderall doesn’t have a solid correlation to the increasing hospital statistics. So is adderall a nootropic? As far as doctors are concerned, it’s not.
One of the reasons for this is that many people, mostly students, take hold of Adderall through a shady seller. It can be their classmates or a stoner they decided to deal with for their supply. This illegal distribution of Adderall is one of the leading reasons behind abuse within the walls of colleges.
The risk overpowers the benefits
Yes, medical experts proved that using Adderall and other ADHD medications illegally as a nootropic has more risks than benefits. It only has a mild boost in the memory lane although there’s an obvious spike in attention and wakefulness. This tiny improvement, paired with placebo, increases the risk students have to face every time they pop a pill.
During exam periods, students take Adderall more often than ever to sustain their brain energy. One pill after the other, tolerance can build up. And since there’s a need to satisfy the need to have laser-like focus, there’s a chance that the student will increase the dosage. After the exams, the student is on the brink of addiction and withdrawal symptoms sets in. So is Adderall a nootropic? It shouldn’t be a choice in the first place.
Imagine, for such little effect, the price to pay is too high. The proportion of risks and benefits doesn’t lean favorably to the academic standing of a person. Although there would be a positive result at first, the bad side of Adderall will soon unleash on its takers.
Ask yourself, are you willing to take the risk? Or you’ll explore safer alternatives?
Medical experts are appalled
Doctors and other medical practitioners aren’t just terrified about the abuse itself. The more appalling fact here is it happens within the walls of schools. Adderall has a promise of improving grades and academic performance, but only to realize that it has more harm to bring in the end.
Even med students bite the bait of Adderall to survive the demands of their studies. The supposed life saver drugs for people with ADHD tend to put healthy ones at risk.
Doctors have been emphasizing, time and again, that no drug can make a person smart. More medical professionals are being urged to stop prescribing potent drugs, especially Adderall, for non-medical purposes. This is part of the efforts to combat the widespread abuse happening among students and even adults who are under constant pressure at work.
Another thing that doctors are concerned about is the delusional thinking that Adderall tends to bring. It makes someone feel good about him. It might also bring in a feeling of smartness or the ability to do anything. This makes us wonder: is Adderall a nootropic?
It’s a prescription drug after all
The fact that Adderall, Ritalin, Vyvanse, Concerta, and other ADHD medications are prescription drugs means it has a risky level of potency. People who don’t suffer from such condition are advised to refrain from taking these substances. Although it will have a positive effect on focus and memory at the start, habitual ingestion of the drugs will break all hell loose. It’s something you wouldn’t want to happen if you’re a student aspiring to be a professional someday.
As an active stimulant, these drugs unleash a powerful effect inside the body. If you have an undiagnosed illness, taking Adderall will pose a direct threat to your well-being. ADHD medications changes how chemicals in the brain behave. For non-ADHD patients, this could spell trouble in the long run.
If ever, for some reason, you secured a prescription for Adderall, make sure that you follow the dosage the doctor suggested. Many students use a prescription to legally purchase loads of Adderall only to take it in large amounts.
For those who take it, Adderall seems to be a magic pill that improves their cognition and academic performance. But only after the grades are out.
So is Adderall a nootropic? Adderall works by inducing a feel-good effect on the brain by increasing the production of dopamine. This will give the takers a feeling that they are doing well compared to the times when they don’t take Adderall. The temporary euphoria the drug brings allows students to see studying as a pleasurable activity by pumping up their enthusiasm.
However, there’s no scientific proof that the feeling of ecstasy can actually increase memory and cognitive performance. More often, takers of Adderall think they are doing a good job, but in fact, they are performing just the same or with only a minimal increase than before.
This is where the placebo effect of Adderall takes place. You feel good, you think you’re doing fabulous, and you think you’re on top of the game. It’s a very dangerous feeling that can lead to dependence and addiction if not controlled.
Students are misled
Since the year 2000, the Food and Drug Administration has called out many pharmaceutical companies for false and exaggerated advertising of stimulants. False marketing made the likes of Adderall, Ritalin, Vyvanse, and Concerta known to a wider consumer range. Such thing resulted in the rise of prescription and purchases of the drugs even for people who aren’t suffering from ADHD.
One proof of the misleading advertisement of ADHD medications is the case of Shire Pharmaceuticals. The Irish drugmaker was fined $56.5 million due to its claim that their Adderall and Vyvanse drugs can “normalize” kids with ADHD. The DOJ found this as an exaggerated ploy to lure more takers and doctors to prescribe the drug. It gave false hopes and it exposed the patients to imminent danger. So is Adderall a nootropic? Considering the effects and benefits, it’s not a smart drug.
Over the past years, college students believe that Adderall is the quick fix for their studying problems. And after having a taste of the dopamine-inducing drug, it becomes an irresistible cherry on top during the exams.
But why are students pushed to take Adderall?
So why are students, and even workers, get lured by the likes of Adderall? Well, for students, the number one reason is academic pressure. Students from elite schools including those in the Ivy League are reported to be twice likely to take ADHD medications as study drugs. An anonymous online survey conducted on Ivy League schools reported that the majority of the non-ADHD student respondents find Adderall and Ritalin safe to use.
Although novel in nature, the study gave a glimpse as to why students will take Adderall without batting an eye. They view it as normal and a safe answer to their study woes.
At some point, students stick to the idea that Adderall and Ritalin is a “trend” among their student counterparts. Curiosity pushed them to try the drug. And when the feel-good effect sets in, another Adderall taker is born. So is Adderall a nootropic? Sad to say, it’s used rampantly in college dormitories.
But more often than not, students who take Adderall as a smart drug don’t know that there are safer alternatives. There are safe nootropics that can give more brain-enhancing effects than that of Adderall. In fact, we listed some of the over-the-counter nootropics that you can purchase and take regularly without harsh side effects.
Adderall and other ADHD medications aren’t just the potent drugs you can take as a supplement to your study needs.
So is Adderall a nootropic? In the end, Adderall isn’t the answer if you’re cramming for an exam. By knowing why you shouldn’t use Adderall as a smart drug, you can always explore healthier options. A nootropic with no side effects and can be taken daily.