Focus failing

The prescription drug Adderall has serious side effects when used by students trying to make up for lost time.

The prescription amphetamine Adderall, designed to alleviate symptoms associated with neurological disorders, is being abused by procrastinating college students.

The drug, a central nervous system stimulant, affects the human body’s nerves and chemicals in the brain that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control.

The remedy is usually associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a common developmental disorder characterized by hyperactivity, impulsion and the inability to remain focused, and narcolepsy, a sleeping disorder typified by uncontrollable attacks of sleep.

Mentally-fit college students across the country are using this dangerous stimulant to cram for pivotal exams or knock out that pesky research paper.

This flagrant disregard for an individual’s health is unsettling.

Granted, the pressure placed upon modern students to succeed along with the current state of our nation’s economy and the deteriorating job market is overwhelming throughout the academic semester. To compromise an individual’s health by not only ingesting a highly addictive substance, but to distribute to other students who do not have a prescription nor a thorough grasp of the drugs’ effects is disturbing.

Adderall, like all amphetamines, has a high potential for abuse. If used in large doses over long periods of time, it can cause dependence and addiction. In addition, misusing an amphetamine may cause serious heart problems or even sudden death, according to Thomson Healthcares research.

Adderall’s side effects include, but are not limited to depression, dry mouth, heart attack, high blood pressure, hives, impotence, overstimulation, rapid or pounding heartbeat, seizures, stomach and intestinal disturbances, stroke, sudden death and weight loss.

“When I took Adderall, it definitely made me focus more. I had prolonged energy, it kept me alert, and I didn’t drift off. But sometimes after I would take it I would have trouble sleeping,” said Tom Mosca, a senior mathematics major. “A big drawback is [the drug] took away my hunger, so you’re burning a lot of energy, but you’re not replacing it.

“One time, I took two instead of one, and I was sweating, sitting there shaking, breaking into a cold-hot sweat,” Mosca said. “When I took the extended release tablets [Adderall XR], I would get real moody and sometimes angry dealing with [my work] you know.”

This medication is meant to correct a serious problem. The patients who choose to ingest this substance do so with a thorough knowledge of both the positive and negative effects. If you’re going to take it, at least know exactly what you’re getting yourself into, so you can decide whether or not the “A” is really worth it.

Tom Rowan can be reached at

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