Abusing ADD pills can have same effect as steroids
Upon being diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, I was handed a pill.
The psychiatrist said, “These pills works like magic. It will make things better.”
For a couple months, I found what the psychiatrist said to be true. My grades shot from consistent Cs to straight As. My teacher praised me for being sharp. I finally managed to finish my homework and still have time to play outside.
But as those two months came to an end, so did the power of the pill. Once again, homework that should have taken an hour kept me up all night. Everything my teacher said in class went in one ear and out the other.
One day, as she observed me drifting off, my teacher asked, “Did you take your medicine today?” Sitting in the middle of the room, I noticed the eyes of twenty other students staring back at me.
For the first time in my life, I felt inferior.
I asked myself, “Why do I need this pill anyway?”
Coming home, I told my mom, “I’m not taking this pill anymore. I don’t need it.”
From that moment, I told myself that whatever I accomplished would be solely from my own merit. Keeping that goal in mind, I spent years training my mind to concentrate on finishing any given task, regardless of how painstakingly boring or difficult it may be.
Now, every time I see another student seek out the same medication I learned to live without, I cannot help but cringe. What sickens me is that most of these students have no need for such substances to begin with.
“When I first took Adderall, I found that my mind became sharp. I had tunnel vision focus,” said finance senior Shahram Ghassemi.
According to the National Survey of Drug Use and Health, uses of Adderall and other forms of such drugs for non-medical purposes have risen by 67 percent among adults between 2006 and 2011.
And there’s a price to pay. The abuse of such drugs caused emergency room visits to rise from 862 visits in 2006 to 1,489 in 2011. That’s almost a 73 percent increase of visits in only a span of five years.
Just like any narcotic, these drugs seduce the user with a feeling of empowerment, which in this case would be focus. For some, this feeling goes from being a want to a need. In the end, drugs such as Adderall or Ritalin become addictive and detrimental.
Enchanted by short-term effects, many feel that such substances may be the best way to prepare for a test or finish a project. But, in the long run, these drugs might be just as deadly as some narcotics.
A study in the Journal of Attention Disorders found that students without prescriptions tend to take ADHD medication primarily to improve their academic performance. They use the drugs to improve their attention spans, creating the edge that allows them to achieve the level of success they desire.
In other words, these drugs are being used for the same reason an athlete might use steroids: to enhance performance.
When I was given a reason to use the pill as a crutch, I learned to deny the crutch and strove to better myself through my own will. Today, I see people who feel the need to use a crutch that was not designed for them in the first place.
It only shows how greedy people become for better results with minimal effort.
Opinion columnist Krishna Narra is a marketing junior and may be reached at [email protected]