Last updated: January 23, 2013 9:47 am
A quick, non-medical-expert information session on Adderall
WOLFVILLE (CUP) — It came exploding on to the scene from the bowels of mega-corporate pharmaceuticals and has been denounced and defended by the authorities. Its benefits and consequences are many, confusing and contradictory, so it is important to ask, “What is it, and what is it doing to the children?”
First a little chemistry lesson: Adderall is a combination of four amphetamine salts: racemic amphetamine aspartate monohydrate, racemic amphetamine sulfate, dextroamphetamine saccharide, and gasp dextroamphetamine sulfate. Loosely translated, it is a weaker version of speed. It is intended for ADHD problems and it inhibits reuptake of dopamine and the ability of dopamine levels to increase.
So, if you do not have ADHD, why would you take Adderall?
Well, it is rumored to have the ability to transform your brain into a blood-filled sponge capable of prolonged concentration and information processing during those dire exam times. It apparently also makes shift work and getting up easy and very manageable. On a darker note, I have talked to women who use it to control their weight. Obtaining the drug is disturbingly easy. Simply go to a clinic, complain of mild concentration and perhaps anxiety problems and ask for it. Bada-Boom, Bada-Bing. Big Pharma Corp drops a nice big bottle of pills out of the sky onto your lap, free! (courtesy of your school drug plan). Alternatively, just find someone with a ‘script and pick them up for 5 dollars a pill. (More for the uninformed, as always.)
Now before you peg me as some kind of mutant speed freak coming out of the woods at you full sprint, let’s talk about the negatives.
First off, it is extremely addictive. Add the fact that recreational users snort or take the drug in large quantities, and you have got yourself a nice prescription for addiction. Also, Adderall specifically alters your brain chemistry. Using a drug that does this in unsafe amounts is a great way to permanently change the way your brain handles dopamine leading to mental illness or depression. People who have been using adderall for a while and then stop become extremely irritable, have trouble concentrating and suffer the usual junkie cravings. As a friend of mine put it during exam periods: “I can’t stop using adderall because if I do, I can’t study for exams.” So something you initially used to concentrate, becomes required to concentrate (Life loves irony!).
Besides sudden death and strokes, here is a list of possible side effects: If you take too much dextroamphetamine and amphetamine, you may find that the medication no longer controls your symptoms, you may feel a need to take large amounts of the medication, and you may experience symptoms such as rash, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, irritability, hyperactivity, and unusual changes in your personality or behaviour.
At the end of the day, I have heard a lot of positive feedback from people who have done the drug and say you can do a solid eight hours of work on it with no interruptions. The most common side effect I have heard is trouble sleeping. I have also witnessed how quickly you can develop a severe dependence to the drug.
Honestly, talking to people tweaked on adderall is annoying. It is the high-energy patter with little concern for what you are saying that you normally get from people using cocaine. As for almost any drug you are thinking about doing, I would not tell you not to do it. Caution is always advisable. Personally, I think using a drug to increase performance is immoral. Need a gritty, real life example? Lance Armstrong turns out to be a juicer and it's terrible. Michael Phelps happens to hit a bong at a party and it makes all those medals even more impressive! Always research and understand drugs before you start using them, and if you are like me, (intermittently intoxicated) why not study sober?