When someone hears the term “study drugs,” several things may pop into their mind. Perhaps the prescription drug Adderall comes to the tip of their tongue.
Or maybe someone thinks of that uncanny movie with Bradley Cooper, Limitless, which was inspired by the use of study drugs like Adderall. In the movie, Cooper finds a new drug that allows him to utilize all of his brain at once for whatever it is that he puts his mind to. He takes this magic pill and can suddenly learn fluent French, become a politician, write a book, and accumulate incredible wealth with dizzying hyper speed.
SPOILER ALERT: By the movie’s end, Cooper finds a way to continue consuming the drug without experiencing any negative physical side effects.
Of course, the film is fictitious. In reality, stimulant drugs like Adderall have serious effects on the brain and body and can lead down a road to dependence and addiction.
So, What Are Study Drugs?
There are generally two types of drugs that, historically, people have used to bunker down and focus on whatever task, academic or otherwise, may be at hand:
- Amphetamines (Adderall, Dexedrine, or Vyvanse)
- Methylphenidate (Ritalin and/or Concerta)
These drugs are all legal when prescribed and are typically prescribed for young adults and adults with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). When used properly by someone with ADHD, these drugs can alleviate symptoms like:
- Problems with listening or paying attention
- General disorganization
- Feeling restless, bored, or fidgety
- Impulsivity and general irritability
So What Do These Drugs Do to the Brain of Someone Who Doesn’t Have ADHD?
It’s true that these drugs may help a person without ADHD stay awake longer and focus more pointedly. But they definitely don’t make you smarter, improve your learning, or somehow allow you to use more of your brain. The side effects of using study drugs include:
- Lack of appetite or forgetting to eat
- Rise in blood pressure and heart rate
- Unprovoked paranoia or nervousness
In addition, it’s possible that study drugs purchased from sources other than a pharmacy may be laced with fentanyl, a powerful opioid that is responsible for more than half of overdose deaths nationwide.
Taking study drugs without a prescription or at amounts or durations that exceed the prescription can lead to addiction. With regular use of stimulants, a person will develop tolerance, requiring more of the drug to achieve the same effects. Over time, the body will become dependent on the drug and experience withdrawal symptoms when the drug is not present. Withdrawal symptoms for Adderall, for example, include insomnia, depression, and extreme fatigue. An overdose of drugs like Adderall, especially when they are combined with alcohol or other drugs, can lead to heart attack, stroke, liver failure, and even death.
In case we haven’t been clear: if you want to organize your life, complete chores or tasks at home, juggle your career with being a parent, etc., the consumption of study drugs is NOT a safe or viable option.
So What Are the Alternatives to Study Drugs?
If someone wants to perform better in their day-to-day life without substances, we suggest a return to the fundamentals of good health:
- Eating well and nutritiously
- Sleeping well and regularly
- Exercising regularly
- Fostering spirituality
What Does St. Gregory’s Have to Say About Study Drugs?
We don’t condone their abuse in any way, and we acknowledge how harmful their abuse can be to the mind, body, and spirit. However, we do understand the enormous amount of pressure many young people and adults feel to succeed, to work and study at the same time, and to maintain a household that constantly demands attention, focus, and time. That’s why we’re here to listen to your story without judgment and help you access the treatment that best fits your needs. We can help you break the dependence on drugs and regain the health that will help you thrive in your daily life.