The drugs used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) such as Adderall, Vyvanse and Ritalin are tricky beasts. On one hand, they spike up your intuition and creativity. They boost your ego and more importantly they help you focus; ultimately landing you, perhaps, your dream GPA. On the other hand, they can strip you of independent success.
Once an organic individual, suddenly you are prescribed a drug like Adderall, and all of your success can now be attributed to the work of this magic pill. As a result, you would rather not go a day without it. For college students, this can lead to a train-wreck of false hope and false success.
I am not here to nag about how horrible the “Adderall epidemic” spreading throughout the student body of campuses across the country is. In fact, it can be helpful and sometimes essential to one’s everyday life. I believe there is a limit to everything, and as long as college students take responsibility in their usage and keep it under control, it could be normalized.
I take 40 mg of Vyvanse a day, and I have since I was diagnosed with ADHD at 17. The average starting dose is 30 mg, and depending on how the drug affects the user, it usually fluctuates between 10 to 30 mg. So I take a higher dose than most, which in turn means higher effects. When I began the drug, I lost weight rather rapidly, my skin got better and my grades skyrocketed. It made my life turn a whole 360, in what I feel was a good way.
Of course, there were some initial complications. Beginning Vyvanse at 17 creates a breeding ground for things like eating disorders and many other abusive uses, which I have close experiences with.
A study done by the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that it is mainly young adults between the ages of 18-25 who intentionally or unintentionally misuse the drug. Drugs like these, as we all know, are mainly used as a study aid, especially around midterm and finals season. Most of the time they are being used without a prescription – students paying $25 a pop to get an A. But a 2014 report done by Express Scripts says that ADHD meds written for adults have risen 50 percent from 2008-2012, which is not a bad thing. A lot of adults, college students included, are overlooked as a result of misdiagnosis and miss out on the benefits of focus and mental clarity of life. Still, only four to five percent of adults in the U.S. are diagnosed.
Students with prescribed medications like Adderall, Vyvanse and Ritalin have the ability to take control of their use. In the case of misuse without prescriptions, I understand it. I understand those who misuse this substance. Student behavior is not unpredictable, they will use these drugs one way or another. We will always find our way back to this point.
Those who take these medications can still be able to live an organic life outside of these drugs. A mental capacity for control is the essential component to how your college experience turns out, even under the influence of “speed.” Your success is not a false concept. You can still achieve your best self on ADHD medications, as long as it is in the right hands: responsible college students.