When we think of substance abuse in college, it is not uncommon to assume that the drugs being abused are alcohol or other “party drugs.” The fact is, however, an alarming number of college students are abusing “study drugs” like Ritalin or Adderall. It can be particularly difficult to spot a dependency on these drugs, since many of the people who use them are getting good grades, and many other people are prescribed these drugs as treatment for a legitimate condition like Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). The growing incidents of study drug abuse is disturbing because these drugs, when used by someone who does not need them, can be very dangerous.
Both Adderall and Ritalin are very strong stimulants, which means that they come with serious side effects. They can cause serious physiological reactions in the body. They can cause insomnia, anxiety, and hallucinations. Stimulants increase a person’s heart rate, which makes them much more prone to seizures and chest pains. The side effects of an increased heart rate can be very severe and even deadly. It is possible for stimulants to cause an irregular heartbeat or the potential for cardiovascular failure.