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The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. Wikimedia CommonsWith finals approaching, students are breaking out the study pills a€” and they aren't the only ones.
Both legal and illegal uses of prescription stimulants like Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta, and Vyvanse continue to rise for everyone from young children to adults in the workplace. But before jumping on the bandwagon, here are some facts about Adderall and other stimulants you should know. The number of adults who have an ADHD prescription is now rising much faster than the number of children getting the same drugs. Though some don't see them as drugs, stimulants a€” methylphenidate or amphetamines like speed a€” carry real risks.
That story quotes experts who argue that marketing a€” and, in some cases, false marketing a€” by pharmaceutical companies is behind much of the rise in the number of people taking Adderall, Vyvanse, Concerta, and Focalin. They note that sales of stimulants have quintupled since 2002, and point to potentiallyA misleading quizzesA that let adults test whether they have ADHD. Researchers recently had a small group of young adults perform a series of tasks related to creativity to see what impact Adderall might have. Adderall didn't affect performance on all tasks, but on the tests where it did have an effect it seemed to help those who were low-performing.
Numerous studies haveA shown that as many as 55% of students who are in fraternitiesA misuse stimulants. White male drinkers at competitive schools are also more likely to use stimulants, especially if their GPA is below average. A recent study had the surprising finding that people who were genetically predisposed to feel euphoria when on stimulants were also less likely to have genes that predisposed them to ADHD and schizophrenia.
Some research shows that people who think they are going to be given a drug like Ritalin or Concerta don't show cognitive improvement but do pay better attention and act more engaged.
In a recent study, college students were given either a placebo pill that they thought was Ritalin or no pill before taking a series of cognitive tests. While it's hard to estimate illegal or off-label usage of prescription stimulants, one recent study showed that almostA 20% of Ivy League students usedA an unprescribed study aid at least once while in college. Of the Ivy League students surveyed, 33% did not view using stimulants as cheating, though 41% did. People aren't scared to mention on Twitter that they are using Adderall, and though there are questions about how reliable behavioral information gathered from Twitter is, data scientists are taking note. Computer-science researchers at Brigham Young University analyzed tweets that mentioned "Adderall"A between November 2011 and May 2012. After Major League Baseball announced a stimulant ban, at about the same time regulators were cracking down on steroid abuse, the number of pro baseball players who requested therapeutic exemptions that would allow them to continue to take stimulants jumped from 28 players to 103, or 8% of the league. Those rates are more than double the 4% of adults that the National Institute of Mental Health says are affected by ADHD. Lots of college kids and young adults take stimulants like Adderall when they go out, either to stay up or just for the euphoric effect.

Last year, a CDC report showed that the number of kids age 4 to 17 who received a diagnosis of ADHD rose 41% over the last decade.
Boys receive ADHD diagnoses at more than twice the rate of girls, and are also more likely to receive prescription stimulants.
Some people argue that this reflects better recognition and diagnosis of ADHD, but others say that it's a dangerous overuse of medicine to calm kids down and help them out in school.A A recent Esquire article argued that the high rate of ADHD diagnoses among boys in particular is due to both a misunderstanding of boys' behavior and increased marketing efforts by pharmaceutical companies. Drugs like Adderall and Ritalin release a rush of dopamine in the brain, giving many people a sense of euphoria. FDA warnings that Adderall, Ritalin, and other prescription stimulants are addictive and can have potentially dangerous side effects also haven't deterred doctors from prescribing them.
Although stimulants help people focus and pay attention, they don't necessarily improve academic performance in students with ADHD.
Among adults, a study showed that ADHD subjects who regularly took medication performed better on an IQ test than ADHD adults who were unmedicated.
One of the main reasons people take stimulants without a prescription is to do better at school or work. A review of different studies on the cognitive benefits or harms of stimulants found limited effects on working memory, the ability to hold and manipulate different pieces of information simultaneously.
In most tests of working memory, stimulants didn't do much to help or hinder people, including sleep-deprived young adults.
The scariest of the listed side effects for Adderall is the risk of sudden death, along with a series of other heart problems that stimulants can cause.
In the FDA's medication guide to Adderall, they warn people to call doctors immediately if they experience mental problems, "especially seeing or hearing things that are not real, believing things that are not real, or are suspicious." Worsened mental illness for adults and psychotic symptoms for children are among the listed side effects. The medical literature includes case reports of methylphenidate, the active ingredient in Ritalin and Concerta, triggering depression in a 7-year-old and terrifying hallucinations in a 15-year-old. If you already know your item #'s simply enter them below along with the quantity desired and add them to your cart for a speedy check-out.
Laminated (24” x 36”) These posters are geared toward the education of effects that drugs have on your body. In the case of adults, a lot of that rapid growth isA driven by womenA who are getting a prescription for adult ADHD. Emergency-room visits for people 18 to 34 due to nonmedical stimulant useA tripled from 2005 to 2011, though those numbers also include things like caffeine pills. The Times polled more than 1,100 adults and found that more than half scored in a range that said they "possibly" or "likely" suffer from ADHD. However, people who had performed well on the test without taking stimulantsA showed either no change or did worseA while taking Adderall.
The typical college student who uses Adderall without a prescription is white, male, and in a fraternity.
This might explain why some people who don't have ADHD may be especially likely to abuse stimulants a€” it makes them feel particularly good. When they thought they had taken Ritalin, students said they were more alert and able to focus on the work.

People's unrestrained tweeting about Adderall gives us a fascinating window into how it is used.
There were an average of 930 Adderall-related tweets a day, but that number rose to 2,813 on Dec. Some say that professional athletes are more likely to have ADHD than the rest of the population, but not everyone agrees. But drinking may increase the risk of heart problems for people taking stimulants, even when they don't take an excessive amount of medication. Almost 20% of high-school boys have been diagnosed with ADHD, and more kids are prescribed stimulants than ever before. About two-thirds of kids with a diagnosis are prescribed stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin. They help people feel alert, awake, and focused, but make it hard to sleep a€” making it more tempting to take another pill when you're exhausted the next day. Four years after a 2004 FDA advisory about possible cardiac risks, doctors hadn't significantly changed the way they prescribed stimulants.
They may help people sit still longer and lessen disruptive behavior in class, but not many direct cognitive improvements have been shown. Researchers say that their higher scores could mean that their medication helped them do better on the test, or it could mean that the adults who would have done better on the test anyway were the same ones that would have sought out treatment. Although the cognitive benefits of Adderall and Ritalin are far from clear, one thing they do seem to help with is rote learning. Some people who performed poorly on tests to begin with did show some improved performance, leading researchers to think that stimulants may be better at correcting deficits than at enhancing performance. Most of the sudden-death casesA have occurred with people who had structural issues with their heart or other health complications, and at least one fatality involved a toxic level of medication. And The New York Times reported on the highly unusual but tragic case of Richard Fee, aA 24-year-old from Virginia Beach. In at least one case, researchers documented a heart attackA in an otherwise healthy 20-year-old who took 30 mg of Adderall after drinking. People also develop a tolerance to these drugs, requiring more and more over time to achieve the same effect. A few studies have shown that people who memorize things while on stimulants may be better at remembering those words or terms when tested later on.
Fee developed very serious mental-health problems while battling a severe addiction to prescription stimulants and ultimately took his own life. Other cardiac side effects include high blood pressure and tachycardia, or a sped-up heart rate.

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