Stimulant medications like Adderall, Ritalin and other attention focus prescription drugs are part of the amphetamine and methylphenidate medications. These are prescription drugs used to treat children, adolescents and adults who have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Ritalin is a powerful drug made to help those with ADD or ADHD remain focused on tasks at hand. Doctors have found it effective at helping people with this condition. Yet there have become some significant issues with this medication.
Ritalin is also a popular “fun drug” among students and professional who want something to help them study, stay focused or stay awake. Some people even believe Ritalin can make them smarter. This is not true. Not only is this is a really bad idea, but taking Ritalin for this purpose does not work.
How Does a Prescription Stimulant Work?
Stimulants increase the dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter which is associated with increased focus, movement and pleasure. These medications are effective in people who suffer from ADHD or DD because the dosage is increased slowly so only the proper amount of dopamine reaches the brain.
Prescription Stimulants Don’t Make you Smarter
Stimulant medications such as Adderal, Ritalin orConcerta are prescribed by a doctor for people who have been diagnosed with ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder). Studies have proven that, if you do not have ADHD, these medications will not help you learn or help you think. In fact, when students who do not have ADHD take them, research has shown that these people are more likely to have lower grades in both high school and college.
Will These Medications Help Me Stay Awake and Focused?
The short answer is, “Yes, they can.” However, this answer is too simplistic. Students using these medications for the sole purpose of being able to stay awake to study or to be able to focus better on a task at school, are likely not taking the medication properly, so the effects will be limited. When physicians prescribe Ritalinfor someone who has ADHD, they start with a low dose and gradually increase the dose until the person is able to focus. The correct dosage will differ with each patient as each person is different. So, how does the student who does not have ADHD know how much he or she should take?
Furthermore, increased wakefulness is not always an effect of these medications even for those who have ADHD. It depends on the person. The student abusing these medications may start increasing the dose in order to get the effect of wakefulness, but the effect never happens, so they increase the dose until they are putting themselves at risk of very serious consequences. (See the next section).
Why Are These Medications Dangerous?
Peopleabusing these mental focus medications sometimes think, “Well, it really can’t hurt me. It’s a prescription medication, not a street drug.” But this is not true at all. Stimulants increase body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. These students are placing an extra load on parts of their bodies (like the heart). If the student starts taking higher and higher doses, he or she is at high risk for serious cardiovascular complications and even stroke.
Because these medications also decrease appetite, even mild abuse of them can lead to eating disorders and even malnutrition. Addiction is also a major concern with the accompanying withdrawal symptoms when he or she stops taking them. Other effects include feelings of paranoia and hostility, which can change the student’s personality and their whole experience of life.
Side Effects that Can Occur with Prescription Mental Stimulants
Ritalin, Adderall and other similar prescriptions can increase blood pressure, body temperature and heart rate. They decrease sleep and appetite. When abused, these can lead to heart issues, palpitations, malnutrition, paranoia and even stroke.
These medications carry a risk of addiction, especially for someone taking them without medical supervision, especially because there is no controlled dosage in these situations and this can cause too rapid a rise in dopamine to the brain. Furthermore, abuse can also lead to withdrawal symptoms like fatigue, depression and disturbed sleep patterns.
People with ADHD have persistent and continuous trouble paying attention, controlling their impulses and remaining calm and relaxed. The use of prescription stimulants help improve these symptoms, increases the person’s self-esteem and can lead to better social and family interactions.
People who do not have ADHD and abuse these medications, may get some temporary benefits, but they have put themselves at risk for serious and even deadly consequences.
If someone you know and care about is abusing these medications, be sure to let them know the danger they are putting themselves in. If you have considered using these medications yourself, learn more about other healthy ways to get the effects you may be seeking. There are excellent, natural supplements available online that will not cause harm, if taken properly. Many natural supplements work giving you increased mental focus, memory enhancement and increased attention span for both short and long term needs. These have no significant risks or side effects, and often give you similar effects to those of Ritalin or other mental stimulant pharmaceuticals.