The “academic doping” trend of Adderall (Ritalin) has specifically affected high school and college students. Many students are engaged in this trend to perform better in their studies. Students believe Adderall is helpful in their schoolwork because of the positive results they have gotten from it. Adderall can easily negatively impact an individual as it impacts one in a positive way short-term.
Prescriptions like Adderall are used for the treatment of ADHD in individuals. Many students are using Adderall without a prescription to feed their needs and wants to perform well in school. Adderall has the effect of improving one's focus and boosting energy during studies. Many college students, for instance, are using this drug for successful school work studies. The trend is known as “academic doping,” and many students do not understand the long-term effect it can have on the human mind and body. The drug can lead to addiction, mental breakdowns, and suicide when misused.
Drugs like Adderall and Ritalin are becoming addicting for students because they enjoy the outcomes it has given them. For example, a student who has an upcoming exam will use Adderall during their studies and on the exam to perform well. Once the student receives their exam score, they notice it’s at a higher rate than when taking the exam sober. This causes an addiction and allows the student to use the drug because of the positive results continuously. I believe this leaves students wanting more and causing a repetitive cycle or habit. Many students who use Adderall for the benefits of school purpose avoid the risks that it can have on them. I believe when students repeatedly use the drug, it starts to become a need instead of a want. They’re mind, and body will eventually ask for it and even ask for a higher dosage because of tolerance levels. This is when it starts to become a major concern because it can lead to depression, heart problems, seizers, suicide, etc.
I believe students view “academic doping” as an easy way in performing their best for academic work. I think the pressure of society, family, and friends has an influence on students and the reason behind there doping. The pressure of society has an impact on a student’s performance in school, such as their GPA average. For example, to be considered “smart,” one needs to have a high GPA score that averages around a 3.5-4.0. I believe this gives students the motive to start doping because its seen as an easy solution to their problem. Most of the time, they want to fit in with society’s norms and expectations. I believe students who are doping do not realize what they are doing because of the addiction behavior. In general, one could personally have an addictive personality in nature and could easily get hooked on a drug like Adderall without thinking twice about it.
Many students are also pressured by their families to do well in school. One could have strict parents who expect the most out of them, such as being at the top of the school. For example, an article mentioned a young girl who used Adderall for exams in school for a field she was pressured to enter by her family. “My dad is an engineer, my mom's a doctor, and my sister graduated from the same program, so I had to take [science courses] even though it was never my strength. It was a lot of pressure to make sure I passed the class,” she says. (Smith-EngelHardt, 2017) This leads to misusing the drug to fulfill their parents’ expectations. Which is only making the parents happy in the long run because the student is almost forcing themselves to fit their parents’ expectations. This also leads to anxiety and depression for the students.
Many students who are on the “academic doping” trend may have been introduced to it by friends. I believe students are accommodating with society, and there needs instead of their own true needs. College students who see their friends using drugs like Adderall to perform well in school are more likely to use the same drug as well. Everyone will eventually follow the bandwagon, which will lead to the same results for each one. This will hurt each individual mentally and physically because of the effects it can have on one. Competition among students will drive students to increase their dosage and build their tolerance higher to do better than the next student. It will lead to overdose and bitterness towards one another because of competitive results. In general, “academic doping” can become very addictive because of the results and should not be taken lightly when it comes to student's mental and physical health.
The stress that students face throughout there years in school influences their reason for why they take drugs like Adderall, which fixes their problem. One article mentioned that students’ fake symptoms of ADHD to obtain a prescription from a doctor. The prescription of Adderall is then used on oneself or shared among friends. Most individuals who are faking these symptoms only have one motive, which is to obtain the medication. They do not need it to control their ADHD or ease their energy in social events. “They are looking instead to fortify their capacity to concentrate hard on their schoolwork and thereby enable themselves to do well on exams. In other words, they are taking drugs to help them achieve goals that will please the authority figures in their lives—their parents and teachers.” (Colb, 2012)
Many students also use Adderall to score better on ACT’s and SAT’s for college applications. Some would agree to disagree on whether one should get penalized for using this drug during those exams. I believe penalization should be taken into consideration only if a drug test is performed for each student in the exam room. Assuming someone used a drug during an exam should not be taken into consideration for “academic doping” unless verified. Adderall is strongly used in the form of ACT and SAT exams in scoring high. A second article mentioned that a student who took Adderall right before the exam felt as if he was focusing at a higher rate. “He believes that his heightened level of concentration strengthened his performance throughout the test, particularly during the critical reading section.” (Agrawal, 2019) I believe this can increase the level of one’s attention or could be the placebo effect for those who are not diagnosed with ADHD. A drug can enhance one's mental effort like Adderall, but I believe one can easily have the same control over their mind with practice and discipline.
“Academic doping” is similar to those who take steroids for their muscles. Adderall and steroids can both be used to enhance and strengthen a muscle or mental focus. They are very alike in the way they impact performance and the addictive results they can receive from it. Furthermore, bodybuilders are also under pressure to have certain body weight and mass like students who are pressured to maintain a strong performance in school. Some cannot even perform at all without steroids or Adderall. For example, a student named Angela was cramming up in the library to finish her studies but needed something to concentrate on doing well on her exam. She took a “30-milligram tablet of Adderall and scored an A on her exam”. (Jacobs, 2005) She mentioned, “I don’t think I could keep a 3.9 average without this stuff.” (Jacobs, 2005) This led to addictive behaviors and lead to trying other drugs that are stronger or negatively impactful.
Once the mind and body start to get used to a certain drug, I believe one is not afraid to try a stronger drug or something else. Drugs can become very addictive, especially for one who possesses that trait in them naturally. Triggers are also a strong factor in why one takes a certain drug like Adderall. I believe every drug is meant to serve a purpose in one’s life, whether that is positive or negative. The way one takes a drug or the reason behind it is meant to serve them how they believe it is. I believe the placebo effect plays a role in certain people who believe Adderall will make them “smarter” or get them an A on their exam. I feel the way one thinks and acts on their thoughts determines the benefits or effects Adderall, and any other drug can have on them.
Abusing Adderall leads to a downfall eventually because of the cons that come with it. The negative attributes of Adderall are heart attacks, irritability, mood changes, social withdrawal, etc. These effects of Adderall can hurt students’ career and life without them realizing the dangers of abusing the drug. Another stated that “81% of students believe that they are using it for the right reasons which are to be more productive in class and be more competitive.” (“College’s Secrete Nightmare - Academic Doping”) Many students are blinded by the “great” results that they never bother to think about the side effects Adderall could have on their health. The article also mentioned that “they believe that the drug is not dangerous at all.” I feel as if students should learn and research about Adderall or any other drug before taking it or hearing the “amazing” stories it did for one’s academics.
Overall, “academic doping” is a serious matter concerning one’s health and academic consequences. This can be a form of cheating or failing to abide by a school’s rules and code of conduct. I believe one should seek help through counseling or rehabilitation centers if it is strongly interfering with personal life and the well-being of the mind and body. I feel as if drugs and addictions can be a sensitive topic to many, but the knowledge on it is beneficial for oneself, or another’s health.