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Don't Want to Get Addicted to Adderall

answered 12:32 PM EST, Fri August 19, 2011
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My girlfriend has an abundant supply of Adderall that she never completely uses and she’s willing to share with those of us that need a boost, so last year at school I was taking it a few times a month (and more often than in periods near exams) not to get high, but as a study aid.

I am not very into intoxicants in general. I very rarely smoke marijuana and drink socially only a couple of times a month. I can see that some in my circle of friends are letting partying interfere with their success at school but I am all about doing well here and am not going to let that happen to me.

Because I am not the kind of person that lies to get all wasted every weekend, I do not think I am very likely to develop a problem with using stimulants as a study aid. I am aware that these medications can be addictive, but I feel that as long as I use them responsibly, the risk to me is low. And when compared with the benefits of long and focused study sessions, these risks are worth taking.

Is my assessment accurate? If I do not use stimulants to get high but only as an aid to studying and if I do not use them every day but only a few times a month, am I putting myself in any real danger of developing an addiction?

Loren Gelberg-Goff Says...

Your question is a really good one.  While you sound responsible and aware of the risks of using a medication that is not prescribed for you,  I understand the draw.  In good conscience, however, I cannot recommend that you continue this pattern.  It is not a good idea, and not only can you get into trouble medically, your girlfriend and her doctor can get into trouble legally and ethically.    Medications always have side effects, so even if you do not become addicted,  you are not being monitored for any of the side effects.  The side effects can prove to be pretty intense, too.  Adderall is basically speed. That is why you feel  more up, focused and alert when taking the drug. 

You do have other choices to aid in your studying other than taking a medication that is not yours. 

If you really feel that you have trouble concentrating and focusing that is NOT related to late nights and poor sleep, then you can go to your family doctor and discuss what happens to you prior to exams... Is it anxiety, tension, worry, etc?  What is your history in school around taking tests?   Talking with a therapist about test anxiety could prove to be very helpful.  Have you always struggled at test times? 

You can also look into NEUROFEEDBACK... it is not a drug, and it is not a quick fix, but it is incredibly powerful at helping people gain focus, concentration, reduce anxiety and sleep better.  The benefits are also long lasting and have no negative side effects.  It may also be covered by your health insurance, so you could do the neurofeedback sessions throughout the course of your semester and by the time finals come around you'll see that you do not need to use any medication at all... and that the medication won't do for you in the short term what neurofeedback and counseling can do for you in the long term of school and your life. 

I hope that this answer is helpful to you.  I wish you a successful academic year… and confidence in yourself in all you do.   

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Page last updated Aug 19, 2011

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