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A+ in a Bottle

ADHD is a neurologically based behavior disorder that leaves its sufferers hyperactive and unable to pay attention. In college, students with ADHD have trouble focusing on their studies and have to take medications to combat such symptoms. However, drugs such as Adderall are being used recreationally by many college students as a quick and easy way to complete papers or projects by a close deadline or to pull all-nighters.

As many as 1 in 5 college students admit to taking a prescription drug for ADHD and not having the disorder. These prescription drugs increase the uptake of dopamine into the frontal cortex of the brain to raise productivity. A person with a fully functional frontal cortex and normal dopamine levels will experience heightened focus, motivation, and concentration. While some students admit to just popping a pill or two to study for big tests occasionally, others are frequent users, as they find the drug safe and the best route to an A+.

The promise of a better GPA is enough for many college students to fall under the influence of Adderall. Some purposely exaggerate the symptoms of ADHD at the doctor’s while others buy them off their friends. The danger lies on its dependency, as the drug can make it feel OK to endless hours more of studying when it’s not. Other side effects include mood swings, depression, insomnia, and a significant inhibition on creativity.

While taking non-prescription ADHD drugs seems relatively “safe” in small doses, the fact that students become increasingly dependent on Adderall for every paper, quiz, and assignment is alarming. The other concern is that the morality of students taking these drugs—analogous to steroids for athletes. Why should those who have the means to get a hold of these magic “smart pills” have an advantage against those who choose to remain drug-free? Especially in a competitive environment like UC Berkeley, where many science classes are curved based on student performance, is it fair to take attention-focusing drugs? That is for my readers to decide.


Article by Angie Zhang

Feature Image Source: Study Breaks