Adderall is becoming a staple of the college education system. The amphetamine based prescription drug has altered the college landscape by providing students with an easy mental boost. Adderall intrigued me first when I was in high school. The night before my SAT exam, one of my friends had a prescription and suggested I take a pill to improve b
my score. After doing some research, I agreed. The next day it seemed as though I could do anything. My brain was working on overdrive and my thoughts were all so clear and intellectually pleasing. It was a wonder drug. Now that I am at college I notice that drugs such as these are being relied on by students to pass. This got me wondering what exactly is Adderall? How does it effect the brain? Also, does it actually make a person smarter? According to drugs.com Adderall is a stimulant that alters chemical activity in the brain. It changes areas in the brain related to hyperactivity and impulse control. The change in brain activity usually leads to increased focus, an elevated pulse and a oost of positive energy. Adderrall is prescribed to people with ADD and narcolepsy. It can be habit forming if it is taken more frequently than recommended. A majority of prescribed users are given dosages that suit their medical needs.
But what about people who take Adderall without a prescription? What effects does it have on them compared to those who are prescribed? shape.com explains that those who take the drug without a prescription experience a strong feeling of euphoria that boosts focus. This feel good sensation is what causes a lot of users to crave the drug even if it is not necessary for them to succeed. Dr Lawrence Diller M.D. explains that the drug “…makes you feel like you’re king of the world.”
Anecdotal experiences and numerous studies have lead to strong evidence that drugs like Adderall work. However a recent study posted in Time magazine argues that the drug might actually not make a person smarter. The study was done by Dr. Maria Farah and a team from the University of Pennsylvania. It revealed that individuals who took Adderall didn’t perform any better than those who didn’t. Instead, they merely thought they did. The study tested 47 participants on their cognitive performance after taking an Adderall or a placebo drug. They were then asked questions that ranged from raw intelligence to long term memory. The subjects did not know which pill they were taking, which made this study a blind placebo trial. If Adderall did increase intelligence, the results should have been that the placebo group performed worse than the group that received Adderall. What the study found was that the two groups performed virtually the same. Another discovery was that the group who took the Adderall was more likely to report that the pill had given them a cognitive advantage. The team explained that the drugs effect could merely be a mind trick. They suggest that it could be possible that Adderall gives students an inflated sense of productivity. instead of actually making an individual smarter, it causes them to think they are. The team reached the conclusion that while Adderall could be improving cognitive performance, it is very possible that the drug simply makes studying more enjoyable as a result of the euphoric feeling. This means the the drug has no direct effect on a persons intelligence.
This conclusion is very mind boggling as it completely alters how I view the drug. Although the study was only done on 47 participants, the logic behind the conclusion makes practical sense. Without solid evidence to pinpoint the exact effects of the drug it is difficult to determine wether it actually increases a persons intelligence. Despite the grey area surrounding how it works, it is certain that Adderall improves a students study habits.