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JLeslie's avatar

What do you think about students and adults taking meds created for ADD to help them concentrate when they do not have ADD?

Asked by JLeslie (56038points) April 25th, 2010

I just saw on 60 minutes a report of how widespread this seems to be. They said students and certain professions use these drugs to stay focused.

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29 Answers

PandoraBoxx's avatar

It’s like taking speed.

SamIAm's avatar

i can tell you first hand that it fucked me up… bad. i was taking adderall for quite a few years, taking upwards of 120mgs a day to get through finals. it destroyed my body – i have scars from not being able to stop picking at my skin, i have gained almost 70lbs in the past 2 years bc i have stopped taking them, i smoked so many cigarettes while on the drugs and drank so much wine to help me come down, then added other pills to facilitate my withdrawal. it sucks. and i really don’t think these drugs should be given to children, its not fair to their little bodies.

DominicX's avatar

Yes, it is quite common. Several of my friends do it; some of them have even asked me if I had any Ritalin or Adderall, usually around finals.

They say it works, but to be honest, it doesn’t sound like a great idea and that’s part of the reason I’ve never done it. If I need to focus, I’ll just go to the library.

rebbel's avatar

@Samantha_Rae
“i have scars from not being able to stop picking at my skin”
Was that because your skin was itching?
If so, is that a side-effect of Ritalin?

j0ey's avatar

It is extremely hard to get a hold of in Australia…..I’ve only ever tried it once for exams, and I found it helpful.

I am glad its near impossible to get here though, they call it “kiddie speed” for a reason. And I know because of its effect on my concentration, I would be tempted to take it too often.

I think many students forget that it is like taking speed, and just because you maybe reading a text book while on it, and not out on the streets, doesn’t make it any safer.

I know its helpful, I understand why students take it…..BUT I don’t think its the best idea.

Draconess25's avatar

@rebbel My girlfriend’s mom made her take it when she was little, & she said it felt like spiders were crawling all over her. Also, it screwed up her breathing & bone developement.

MorenoMelissa1's avatar

Meds like that a reverse effect, if you need them you are clamer, if you don’t need them your more wound up.

SamIAm's avatar

@rebbel : no, it didn’t cause me to be itchy. i am not sure how to explain it but i know that i have seen drug addicts with the same problem – i think it has something to do with obsessive behavior that taking this and other drugs causes.

wundayatta's avatar

I think it indicates a lack of seriousness about education. You don’t plan your work, so you find you need to do everything at the end, and then you freak and take the drugs. If you planned better, you wouldn’t end up in this situation. But the drug is kind of like a little rescue team out there that you feel like you can use if you need to. And then it gets too easy to use it, and you start building your bad habits.

But what the hey! If that’s how you want to run your life, who am I to say any different? You get to control your own body. I can rue the loss of your work and creativity, but what can I do?

rebbel's avatar

@Samantha_Rae @Draconess25
Thanks for clarifying that.
I asked because i do have itchy skin, i only have no idea where that comes from.
I thought it had to do with going from warm to cold weather, but then you wrote what you wrote, and since i use Ritalin too, i made that (possible) connection.

SamIAm's avatar

@wundayatta : that’s not necessarily true, not for everyone at least. i was extremely responsible, did my work in advance and had great grades. for me, adderall helped me love school (maybe bc i loved feeling that way and being rewarded for it) and i did very well… but am now aware that i can do just as well without it. it had nothing to do with waiting until the last minute or a lack of seriousness, not for me at least.

wundayatta's avatar

@Samantha_Rae Why did you use it, then?

SamIAm's avatar

initially to help me study better and be more focused, that was when i was 16. i became very dependent on it and convinced myself that i couldn’t study hard enough without it. i also loved the way it made me feel, but that stopped happening after the first 2 or 3 years of taking it.

nikipedia's avatar

I think there is a lot of misinformation about these drugs. For one, the similarities to methamphetamine cannot be overstated.

This is what methamphetamine looks like: methamphetamine
This is what Adderall looks like: Adderall

The only difference is one line sticking off the end, indicating the presence of methyl group. (Hence, methamphetamine: methyl + amphetamine.)

The mechanism of action in the brain is virtually identical as well. Both drugs stop dopamine transporters from moving dopamine out of the synapse, and both drugs go into cells and get them to release more dopamine. Methamphetamine is just much more efficient at it.

So I am inclined to wonder if it is really a good idea to be prescribing this medication on a daily basis to anyone. That said, if we are going to give some students the advantage of having it, I am not sure it’s fair to deprive other students of it. As long as people are fully aware of the negative consequences of the drug, I don’t see any good reason to restrict access to it.

Also, in reference to @MorenoMelissa1‘s point, I have never seen any evidence that the mechanism of action is different in people who have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. But if anyone can point me to studies supporting this claim I would very much like to see then.

Draconess25's avatar

@nikipedia My girlfriend supposedly has ADHD, & I wanted to shoot her while she was on it. She was just so….ditzy! She was at least functioning without the damn drug!

Facade's avatar

I was prescribed Adderall during my first year in college. It fucked me up pretty bad. Not only that, but it didn’t even help me. If it works for those people, then more power to them. But I hated it.

snowberry's avatar

That’s the sad thing about these drugs. Our children are a mass social and scientific experiement. Have been for years, because these drugs were NOT designed with little children in mind. My granddaughter is on serious serious medication now because 1). Her parents are too lazy to control her diet themselves, which caused much of her problems in the first place. 2) Her behavior was out of control to the point that they were concerned that she’d kill herself by playing on top of the upstairs bannister, and many many other things equally as bad.

Ritalin has long been rumored to eat holes in the heart if you take it too long. Oh, I’d better stop here, or I’ll never finish.

Draconess25's avatar

Also, my girlfriend’s mom had her on Adderall, Ritalin, & Concerta all at once.

SamIAm's avatar

@Draconess25 : you need to check your facts before posting craziness like that… there is no way any doctor would prescribe all of those at once, NOT EVER. fuck, in all my experimenting, i wouldn’t even try all of those at once… she would be dead.

Draconess25's avatar

She wished she was dead back then.

Here’s what her mom would do: She would keep the first prescription, & go to the doctor & say they didn’t work or make up some other bullshit like that.

mrrich724's avatar

I do not have ADD. I did an experiment with it. One semester, I took a couple notoriously difficult classes. Being that I didn’t want to fail either one I did two things:

Class A: I went to every lecture, I took notes, I studied for the tests. I got a B.

Class B: I went to every third class. I bought the study guide, I took adderall six hours before and studied the study guide and took the test. I got an A.

When I took that ish, I absorbed EVERYTHING. I REMEMBERED EVERYTHING. I got an A in the class that I did nothing for except show up 33% of the time, and studied for 2 hours and just took the test.

To this day, I never took it again except for that class. It was just something I wanted to see the effects of, and I did. Now it’s over. But I will say, for someone that didn’t have ADD . . . it had positive effects.

Ria777's avatar

@Draconess25: My girlfriend’s mom made her take it when she was little, & she said it felt like spiders were crawling all over her.

they call them coke bugs a.k.a. delusional parasitosis. I used to have something like this when I took Ritalin as a kid. my head would get hot as fire and it would itch maddeningly (though only under my hair). I got lice treatment because my mother believed I had lice.

I oppose anyone taking Ritalin, under any circumstances, and most especially children. aside from the side effects, it burns out your brains ability to generate dopamine. when I stopped taking it, all the meaning and reason fell out of my life. only later did I figure out that the symptoms and the sadness came out Ritalin and, later, its lack.

again: I don’t like Ritalin, full stop. for anyone. especially not for children.

Ria777's avatar

@nikipedia: Ritalin has a similar chemical structure to amphetamine, as well. as you doubtless know.

Ria777's avatar

actually more like formication than delusional parasitosis.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Great answer @nikipedia! Very interesting!

crankywithakeyboard's avatar

I take an ADHD medication as an adjunct to antidepressants. The prescription is kosher and everything but I have not been diagnosed with ADHD although I do have many of the symptoms. I have really noticed that it does help me focus when I’m tired from work and trying to get some grad school stuff done. I know this is not something I can take forever and will talk to my doc about getting off of it eventually. I haven’t even been on it a year yet.

I would never take it just to focus and think those who do are taking unnecessary risks but the ability to focus has been a side effect that I welcome.

FutureMemory's avatar

@crankywithakeyboard I would never take it just to focus and think those who do are taking unnecessary risks but the ability to focus has been a side effect that I welcome.

I thought that that was their purpose, to help one stay focused? I thought ADD = Attention Deficit Disorder?

JLeslie's avatar

@FutureMemory Some kids and adults are taking it when they really don’t have symptoms of ADD, let alone a diagnosis. Many of these people do not have a prescription and get it from friends. I really think they pop the pills thinking there is no down side, and think why the hell not? Personally I think the country is to pill popping happy.

FutureMemory's avatar

What I meant was why is he taking it if not for its focusing effects?

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