Over the past few months I’ve been here so far, I’ve noticed that college students are constantly asking around for Adderall. I know people take it to stay up late and study, curve their appetite, and just to last longer at the day drinks on Saturday afternoons. Sounds great, but what are the health implications? How does it work for people diagnosed with ADHD and people that are not? Do people get misdiagnosed?
ADHD stands for Attention-Defecit/Hyperactivity Disorder and has a several step process to decide if a child has ADHD, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The criteria for diagnosing a child with ADHD is determined by six or more symptoms on inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. These symptoms include trouble paying attention, staying organized, is forgetful in daily activities, easily distracted, talks excessively, fidgets and many more. Not only do the children have to display the symptoms in two or more settings, but they also have to show that another mental disorder cannot describe the symptoms they acquire. The evidence will interfere in the child’s school work, social skills and everyday activities.
The diagnosis remains consistent in teenagers and adults as well, but people 17 and over must show five or more symptoms in the categories of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.
Adderall can also be used to treat narcolepsy.
Sure, adderall can be great for patients diagnosed with ADHD. My question is: what is the long term effect of using adderall for someone without ADHD? First things first, not everyone can use Adderall. People with Tourettes, glaucoma, and anxiety should stay away from Adderall use. The stimulants in the drug can cause serious detrimental effects on the heart.
According to LiveScience.com, Adderall has a high risk of addiction since it is classified as a Schedule II drug. Usage of the drug should be monitored by a professional, and addiction is less likely if prescribed by a professional. Risk for addiction is more common among those who use Adderall that do not have ADD, ADHD, or narcolepsy.
Along with addiction, Adderall use can also cause anxiety, weight loss, an irregular heart beat, and problems with urination. Long term abuse can be accompanied by insomnia, personality changes, and possibly psychosis.
Other than swallowing the pill, it is also common for those who are not prescribed Adderall to snort it. This causes a quicker reaction – or so people think. LiveScience.com states that Adderall taken the proper way, orally, works faster by getting into the bloodstream and causing a longer lasting euphoric effect.
Snorting Adderall can cause problems in the respiratory system, such as circulation issues, nasal and sinus problems, and irregular heartbeats. Long term use can damage the development process in the brain, toxic shock, and major withdraw symptoms.
The way a person intakes Adderall can be damaging in addition to taking it without a prescription.
Do people get misdiagnosed?
A lot of my friends are constantly looking for Adderall. About half of them have ADD or ADHD, while the other half will do anything they have to to get it. However, from the half that are diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, some were misdiagnosed. Once my friend got to college, she immediately convinced the doctors she had an attention/hyperactivity disorder and was prescribed Adderall.
Noted in a study by Michigan State University, ADHD is the most common behavioral disorder among children in the United States, where 4.5 million children under 18 are diagnosed with it. Todd Elder said this is because a teacher would most likely think that a child in kindergarten that can’t sit still or that acts out has ADHD. Meanwhile, it could be possible that the child is 5 where the other classmates are 6.
Elder conducted a longitudinal study that consisted of 12,000 kindergarten students, looking at the diagnosis and treatment among the age differences in the class. His study found that about 20% (equivalent to 900,000) of the 4.5 million children diagnosed with ADHD have been misdiagnosed.
Overall, Adderall can be great for those diagnosed with ADD, ADHD and narcolepsy, but detrimental when abused – especially to those not diagnosed.