Ask the Experts

Intellectual Idiocy

My friends are taking pills to help study. Years ago, they took speed to do an all-nighter. How can drugs help you study?

How do drugs and alcohol make you feel good? They induce changes in the brain and metabolic functions, but there is a physical cost and risk associated with these, such as possible long-term abuse. So-called study drugs are no miracle fix and exact a toll on you.

We all know college life is hectic, fast paced and stressful. The social pressures on students today can lead to some extreme measures to squeeze in some extra study time. Study drugs or smart drugs are prescription stimulants such as Adderall and Ritalin that are unsuitably taken to increase mental focus and productivity to aid study.

They are usually prescribed by doctors to treat Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Without medical advice and a prescription these drugs can be dangerous and are illegal. Research indicates that one in five students is using them to facilitate all-night study binges.

Drinking coffee is a regular way of getting a quick energy boost, but those who have used Adderall claim it helps you focus more accurately. More and more students are turning to these study pills to get them fixated on their studies.

There is a growing demand for study pills. Health services at the University of Texas report that 50% of students with genuine prescriptions for ADHD have been asked to give out their pills. Students are erroneously assuming that these pills are safer than street drugs and are unaware of their addictiveness.

The short-term benefits of a quick focus boost do not come without an element of risk. For people with attention disorders, the drugs provide a release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter linked to the brain’s reward and pleasure centers, to calm them as they are deficient in it. Normal people with healthy levels of dopamine can experience restlessness and euphoria after taking study drugs.

Misuse of these pills or combining them with other medication or alcohol can have adverse effects. People taking these substances are more likely to crash after they wear off, because it can cause exhaustion and depression as the body’s energy and natural supply of dopamine has been used up. The drugs can also induce side effects such as increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, nervousness and insomnia. In extreme cases, Adderall can cause hallucinations, paranoia, and irritability according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

You could be in trouble legally, report criminal lawyers, since use of these drugs without a prescription is against the law. Legal action, college suspension or fines can rapidly ruin your education. These substances have been proven to be addictive and they have a high potential for abuse and dependence.

The problem is that these drugs are easily attainable, with a prescription or via a friend that has one. There is often a high demand for them on campus, encouraging certain students to deal in these pills.

With all of this in mind, it makes sense to consider more healthy options to study drugs. A healthy balanced diet and taking time out to relax and wind down are effective methods of de-stressing and will do wonders for your mind and body.

A miracle drug is any drug that will do what the label says it will do… Eric Hodgins.

Suzanne Hite is a former publications editor serving the technology services sector.