The Adderall Problem
More young adults are turning to the performance-enhancing drug at work.
Call it an unfortunate sign of the times. No thanks to the still-recovering economy, many people -- the ones who are lucky to even have a job -- are working longer hours for the same pay. Although the economy is slowly in recovery, many must work harder, faster and stronger to stay on the payroll. And there's a drug that many career-focused young people are (ab)using to get results: Adderall.
“I’m expected to consume so much media and data every day on top of what I’m already supposed to do,” Cristina Long, a 24-year-old public-relations professional told Al Jazeera in a piece on the subject. “I need to stay ahead of the trends.” Another told the publication that the drug "enables him to get all his work done and still have time to work on other projects."
What is this wonder-drug?
Adderall, if used correctly, treats attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The drug is also regularly abused because it offers increased concentration, keeps you awake, and sometimes a sense of euphoria and happiness. It's popular on college campuses, especially fore the partying-all-week-before-all-
The uptick in Adderall usage
Al Jazeera recently reported that many young professionals are turning to doping to enhance their performances. "It’s unclear how many adults take ADHD drugs, but it is evident that use is skyrocketing. According to IMS Health, in 2007, 5.6 million monthly prescriptions for ADHD medications were written for people ages 20 to 39. By 2011, that number had jumped to 14 million, a staggering 150 percent increase. Anecdotal evidence also shows a large number of people illegally taking ADHD drugs without a prescription."
What's the risk?
As The Daily Beast puts it, Adderall is a real drug with a “high potential for abuse,” can “lead to severe psychological or physical dependence” and are considered “dangerous” (less than heroin, more than Valium). The site also notes that many get the drug from a friend, but a prescription is easy to get. "One experiment from the University of Kentucky found that students could successfully get a false positive diagnosis with just five minutes of Google searching on ADHD symptoms."
The dangers of Adderall
Adderall can cause side effects, especially when abused. Adderall can cause side effects to be more likely to occur. As DrugAbuse.com lists, some symptoms of abuse include:
Uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
Difficulty staying asleep
Changes in sex drive
Loss of appetite
Some severe effects include:
Pounding or fast heartbeat
Shortness of breath
Weakness in the arms or legs
Numbness of arms or legs
Slow or difficult speech
Verbal or motor tics
Changes in vision
Swelling (in the case of overdose or allergic reaction)
Blistering or peeling skin
These side effects can be dangerous, so it is important to seek emergency help as soon as possible or to consult your doctor immediately.
As the Daily Beast reports, "Between 2005 and 2010, emergency room visits related to ADHD stimulant medications used non-medically tripled from 5,212 to 15,585 visits. In young adults, the number almost quadrupled. Nearly half of these visits were due to mixing ADHD drugs with other drugs or alcohol."