Did you know that 26% of college students reported using study drugs?
Are you wondering what signs to look for? In this article, we’ll go over the signs of study drug misuse and why students use study drugs.
This is a challenging topic for parents. It’s a difficult topic to cover in one blog post. If you would like to discuss how study drugs may be affecting your child with a professional, stop reading and schedule a consultation with NeuroHealth.
Study Drugs: What Are They?
“Study drugs” are prescription stimulant medications, like Adderall or Ritalin, that are used improperly by a person with a prescription, or as is more often the case, illegally by a person without a prescription.
Adderall, Ritalin and other stimulants are powerful drugs that require a prescription for a reason.
Not only are study drugs illegal, but they also pose a series of mental and physical health threats to the user.
The reason they are often referred to as study drugs is that young adults, teens and even children will abuse these drugs in an effort, at least in the outset, to improve performance in school by self-medicating.
Most study drugs are prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). When taken as a prescription from a professional, these drugs are typically well-tolerated and help patients who have been diagnosed with ADHD with inhibitory control and improved cognitive performance.
Sadly, most study drug abusers get access to drugs from a friend or peer who has been prescribed a stimulant for a legitimate condition.
Why Do Young People Abuse Study Drugs?
One thing that differentiates study drug abuse from typical recreational drug use is the motivating factors. At least when the drug use begins, the user is a student motivated to improve school performance.
This motivation is damaging because the student thinks that this form of drug use isn’t as bad. After all, they are using drugs to study and studying is supposed to be a good thing.
Students abuse study drugs because of perceived performance-enhancing benefits.
The perception is that students will be able to stay awake longer and concentrate more acutely to prepare for exams or during certain stressful periods in school.
It’s common for study drug users to perceive schoolwork as overwhelming or difficult to manage. Study drug users believe using these drugs will ultimately lead to better outcomes in school. They believe that study drug use will allow them to study more and/or with greater precision.
Unfortunately, the long-term effects of any form of drug use are negative. They pose significant health risks and using stimulants without a prescription is classified as Schedule II drug offense, a very serious crime.
Signs of Study Drug Abuse
There will be noticeable signs of study drug abuse. Red flags include empty prescription bottles, text messages on their phone alluding to drug use or even ground-up pill residue.
The physical symptoms often relate to weight loss or periods of irregular behavior followed by a crash.
You may notice your child has lost weight or that their appetite is diminished. Be mindful of periods where your child is unusually energetic and talkative followed by a prolonged period of rest, sluggishness and fatigue.
Future Ramifications of Study Drug Misuse
It is common for students abusing study drugs to develop an addiction. When they do so, higher and higher dosages are taken.
It should also be noted that patients seldom develop a disorder because they follow a professional’s treatment plan.
Taking higher dosages causes the student to be at risk for cardiovascular issues (especially in cases where the drug user has a pre-existing heart condition).
As the dose increases, the side effects rise as well. There are significant risks of becoming clinically depressed or anxious.
Even in a best-case scenario, the student is not operating in a sustainable way. There are numerous side effects to sleep deprivation and insomnia, not the least of which is the inability to focus in school which leads to poorer performance which can lead to more drug use and so on.
What to Do
This is a comprehensive topic that requires confronting a serious and dangerous pattern of behavior by a loved one. NeuroHealth of Arlington Heights may be able to help. If you would like professional assistance, contact us today for a professional assessment.