Spending long hours, late nights, and all-nighters makes it difficult to concentrate without using certain stimulants to keep wired. Every time I do homework, I go to “Good to Go,” a convenient store and grab a large coffee and a five-hour energy drink to help me focus on my school work. Some of my friends who have ADHD, an attention deficit disorder are prescribed Adderall, a prescription stimulant drug that helps them focus to get their school work done and pay attention in class. Although most people aren’t prescribed these stimulant drugs they often tend to abuse them, because they claim it helps them concentrate on school work for longer amounts of time. There are many types of stimulants, including, caffeine, nicotine, amphetamines and methamphetamines (caffeine, amphetamines and nicotine used most to study). Energy drinks, coffee and other drinks that “wake you up” contain caffeine. Caffeine is legal, so it is most commonly used by students and other individuals. Adderall and other similar drugs, are prescribed, so it is limited to use of only a certain number of individuals, even though some people purchase them illegally. Another overlooked drug that people use to study for concentration is nicotine. Generally, people resort to a quick smoke break or chewing tobacco to give them a “buzz,” which helps them stay awake. Using these stimulants may help improve concentrating on a task, but do the positive effects of being “wired” outweigh the negative health effects?
Let’s look at some experimental evidence. Just from taking a quick poll from ten of my close friends and people I associate with, nine out of ten people use one or more stimulant that I mentioned above to help concentrate on school work. According to an observational study done by the University of Maryland, they found that 61.8% of college students use prescription stimulants are for for non-medical reasons. This can be dangerous. If a doctor did not clinically prescribe someone to the medication, they are putting their health at potential risk. Clearly this shows that the majority of students use them for school related reasons, because they think it “helps” them focus on school work. However, increased focus obtained by these drugs does not actually enhance intelligence in any way, it may only help the duration of focus on a task. For example, if a student wanted to study late through the night, stimulants will help him or her stay awake and alert, but it is unhealthy for the body to be forced to stay awake in times of rest.
Null: There is no relationship between stimulants and long term negative health.
Alternative hypothesis: There is a relationship between stimulants and negative health in the long run.
Short Term Negative Effects:
- Loss of appetite
- Dilation of pupils
- Increased heart rate
Long-Term Negative Effects
- Blood vellel damage
- Liver damage
- Weight loss
After looking at the negative and positive affects, it is clear that if someone wants to use stimulants to study over a long period of time they will have to sacrifice their health in the long run.
Though stimulants are proven to increase alertness, they seem to be mind over matter because many people can still concentrate well without them. It is best to avoid stimulants in the first place, since once one starts using them, they tend to get overused and a dependence is formed. All these drugs do is stimulate the central nervous system, which gives the feeling of alertness and opposes sleep. Using any type of drug to enhance the mind in a non-natural way will have a negative impact on health in the long run. Thus, we would have to reject the null hypothesis and accept the alternative that there is a relationship between negative health and the constant use of stimulants over a long period of time.