Does Adderall Actually Help You Study?

adderall science blog

With finals week coming up, it seems that everyone is cramming to make sure these final three weeks are at least somewhat successful. Between papers, projects, and ,of course, final exams, everyone has something on their plate this time of year. It is difficult to keep up with the load of work that is piled on at the end of the semester, so how do people stay afloat? Apparently, according to one study, 1 in 5 college kids use some form of study drug such as Adderall or Ritalin to focus on the tasks at hand.

These prescription drugs have their dangers, no doubt. However, many feel that the drugs will help them succeed in the coming weeks. Still, will taking an Adderall lead to better grades during finals week?

The question is not whether the drugs will cause the user to focus more. That is what they are supposed to do and they almost always will do just that. But what is the user actually focusing on when they are taking the drugs? Just because you are on Adderall does not mean you will be any more inclined to study. You will be more focused on whatever task you are doing, and they may be something entirely different and unrelated to the school work you need to be doing. This can be nicely phrased as “being productively unproductive.”

In a Quebec observational study done focusing on children with ADHD over the course of 14 years, it was found that despite the increase in dosage of Ritalin, grades were not higher. The same focus issues plagued these kids’ grades whether they were on the medication, had a small dosage, or a large dosage. The changes in individual child’s dosages, whether it be from none to small or small to large, did not impact grades.

This study was not focused on non-ADHD college kids, but it did focus on the same idea of grades. It comes back to the idea of “being productively unproductive.” Your focus level may change, but your interest level will not, which may lead to using this extra-focus on something completely unrelated.

Does Adderall or Ritalin actually help a struggling college student get better grades? There is no evidence that suggests it, but it really isn’t something that can be tested morally with these drugs being illegal without prescription and dangerous to use for non-prescribed purposes.

4 thoughts on “Does Adderall Actually Help You Study?

  1. Julia Hall

    I know alot of people who have or take adderall before tests that are not prescribed it. In high school, I know many people who took it before their SATs or ACTs. Obviously we can never tell for sure if it really does help those who are not prescribed, however from what I have heard it does help. However, that could be them thinking that it really is helping when it really isnt. I do think that how well you do on a test is based on how interested you are in the class and how much you pay attention. If you do not like the material being taught in the class and are bored with it, the odds of you paying attention or going to class decreases.

  2. Sarah Rose Peterson

    In my research on this topic, I found that ” 30% of students use Adderall non-medically and more than 90% of these students who use it do it to concentrate while studying.” Although it is illegal to use Adderall, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, one in five college students admits to using Adderall (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine) without an ADHD diagnosis. Address is known as the competition drug because many students think that the drug helps them study. A study could be done using rats in which you give the experimental group Adderall and see how long it takes them to finish a maze in comparison to rats not given the performance enhancing drug.

  3. Hung Chieh Wang

    I think what you are saying is very true. More and more people start to rely on drugs in many places. When students take pills to help them focus, they may focus more on their phones, and it will become harder for them to study. If they really don’t want to study, taking those focus pills won’t help them. I think it’s better to just make them find the interest in study, that will make them focus. Or If they realized that their are going to fail the class, they will study very hard. We need to study smart, here is the source I found that help you study more efficiently, Highly Effective Study Habits. Hope everyone study well for the exam!

  4. azb5768

    I found your blog to be very interesting. I agree with what you are saying and in my opinion i dont think adderall is helping students study in the long run. I believe that the use of this drug is for one hurting them and also making things easier for them at the moment. The effects of the drug are much worse and i dont think it’s worth it to risk your body’s health for a couple hours of intense focus. The blog, Using Study Drugs To Get Better Grades: Why You Should Think Twice breaks down what the drug is, how many students are using it, what it can do to your body, and also healthier alternatives to studying. Some facts that popped out at me that relates to what you said about ADHD is that since people with ADHD have lower levels of dopamine, taking adderall doesn’t do them the harm that it would to a person with regular levels of adderall. This results in crashing after the drug wear off which can exhaust and depress the body. All of these side effects can be very harmful in the long run. The blog also states that 1 in 5 students report using this drug. About 5 percent of people between 19 and 25 years of age are reported to use this which is a higher percentage than the illegal use of cocaine and hallucinogens in this country. This just shows how much the use of addrall is increasing and will continue to increase.

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