Adderall: All it’s cracked up to be…or crack?
There’s almost a consensus that we have a serious mental health crisis in America. As a college student, every week I learn of another classmate who has ADHD, or anxiety, and needs pharmaceutical assistance by way of some grab bag concoction of pills, and it seems the easiest way for the public to deal with their issues is to medicate themselves. As someone who is also part of the community that has been prescribed some form of medication to help me in my day to day life, I have seen firsthand the positives, and negatives of such a practice. Although pharmaceutical companies boast that those who utilize their products will experience a better quality of life, such is not always guaranteed.
I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 18, during the summer before my freshman year of college. Growing up, I always struggled when it came to focusing in class, especially when I didn’t find a topic particularly interesting, but it never really affected me in a negative way academically. Even though I would space out in class and sometimes miss important parts of lessons, when it came down to crunch time, I could always cram for a test and get good grades. The part of my ADHD that really affected me in high school were the more trivial things like constantly forgetting directions, misplacing my keys, or not being able to sit down and complete a task fully in one straight shot. This inability to complete a task began to pile up when it was time to apply for colleges, and eventually my mom took me to the doctor, and I was told I had Adult ADHD.
After being given my diagnosis, I was prescribed Vyvanse, a drug very similar to Ritalin, but said to be much more effective in people over the age of 18. When I began taking the medication, I instantly saw results in terms of focus, drive, and overall productivity when it came to school, but even more surprising was that I found myself misplacing things a lot less, and I was able to knock out monotonous tasks like laundry without becoming bored or distracted. Although I saw all of these undeniable benefits, Vyvanse also came with a lot of negative results.
The drug itself is a stimulant, very similar to an amphetamine, and as one would imagine, has many similar effects on the body to amphetamines. I found myself unable to sleep when I took the medication, and even worse unable to eat. The meds made eating feel gross to me, so I was losing weight as the weeks went on, and getting very little sleep.
To be completely honest, I felt like I was a crackhead. When I was taking the Vyvanse, It seemed like it was pretty much getting me high, I felt strangely happy and energetic for no reason, and although I was more productive, once I came down and the pills wore off, I was depressed and had no ambition to get anything done. All these negative effects began to be too much for me, and I stopped taking the medication.
Although Vyvanse made me much more productive, I knew deep down that it was not good for my body, or overall mental health. I don’t like having ADHD, but I realize that it can be a good thing sometimes. I may not be able to pay attention or always get my work done on time (as I write this paper almost a week late) but that’s because I have 1,000 other thoughts and ideas running through my head at once. I feel like there needs to be more studies into the negative effects of stimulants prescribed for ADHD like Adderall and Vyvanse, there is no way that it is a good idea to basically give children and young adults a bootleg form of Meth just so they’ll shut up in class and get their work done. As a people, we need to move away from our love of prescription pills and look for other ways to deal with mental health and learning disorders.