Amphetamines are nothing new to a campus community full of achieving students. Known for saving students from their debilitating ADHD right before midterms, Adderall, a combination of both dextroamphetamine and the weaker levoamphetamine, is likely the most common of amphetamine salts you’ll run into on campus.
Methamphetamine, if you’re Mr. White.
While you might think Adderall will help you on those midterms, there are some things you should know before popping a pill.
For those of you choosing to try Adderall the first time, get to know your proper dose. Like other substances, everybody has a different natural tolerance and everybody responds to drugs differently. It’s best to start off with the lowest dose you can find until you understand how this affects you. Some signs that you may have taken too much include a rapid heartbeat, chest pain, confusion and other potentially dangerous symptoms. Additionally, it’s common that people might not believe that the drug is kicking in due to its extended come-up time. If you find yourself in this situation and aren’t experienced in your proper dose, I strongly recommend against redosing, as it might then become too strong. In this case, simply continue with your studies and plan around that dosage for your next use.
Now for you other readers who lack a need for medicinal amphetamines, but have some experience, it’s important to take note of the frequency, dosage and your own bodily state on Adderall. Because amphetamines work on the dopaminergic system of the brain, commonly cited as the pleasure center, the drug is easily abusable. You should treat it as such and give yourself time in between sessions to not only decrease tolerance, but to prevent neurotoxicity from repeated use. It’s also important to keep in mind that you will likely have no appetite or desire to drink fluids, so it’s an important point to force yourself to eat a few hours into studying and to stay hydrated as Adderall may make you sweat. Outside of a study session, adderall has additional constraints to be wary of.
When using the drug to enjoy a night out, be sure to exclude or limit your intake of other substances. Mixing the stimulant with a depressant such as alcohol has been known to put stress on the heart and nervous system as both drugs have a push and pull effect on the body. It is easier to overdose on either substance in this scenario due to their opposing effects, giving the illusion that the user is less intoxicated than they believe. Mixing this stimulant with another stimulant is also a dangerous combination. This scenario might be more apparent when ingesting pill forms of ecstasy, but the combination of adderall with cocaine or MDMA is likely to exacerbate the effects of both drugs on your system.
Addiction is something to be concerned about with amphetamines. While less addictive than its methylated cousin, methamphetamine, Adderall has the potential to be psychologically addictive with frequent use. Potential abusers might come to seek out the euphoria at higher doses with the confidence it appears to offer, or the work ethic and comfort that it delivers to ambitious students. Of these, perhaps only the last is worthy of significant determent. Using Adderall instead of your own abilities to study is likely (although not surely) to backfire and prevent you from developing more efficient study skills. In a worst case scenario, it’s possible to feel that the drug becomes necessary to work and concentrate, leading to a chronic dependence on it.
As much as it may help for these maddening midterms, Adderall is better suited for those that need the assistance for clinically diagnosed ADHD or narcolepsy. In the more familiar attention disorder, patients are unable to focus on a particular task as they are more susceptible to external distractions. In narcolepsy, individuals are unable to regulate their sleep cycle and experience excess daytime sleepiness that is comparable to severe sleep deprivation for non-narcoleptics. Amphetamine acts in both these disorders by increasing lower than typical levels of dopamine in one’s system. Dopamine, besides also being one of the pleasure neurotransmitters in the brain, regulates behavior, sleep cycles in the hypothalamus, and attention, while also inhibiting distractions.
Thank you for poppin’,
Ms. Token & Lipman