It’s safe to say that a certain percentage of college students have always used some form of stimulant for studying, though most of them stick with caffeine. Especially when a big test is coming up or a student is behind in a mid-term essay, being able to stay awake and alert for extra hours feels important. There has always been a little dabbling with stronger stimulant drugs, but the level of Adderall abuse taking place today has become alarming to researchers of the subject. Because Adderall prescriptions have become prevalent as the diagnoses of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder have increased, the substance is readily available among young adults today.

There are significant problems with this strategy. One troubling aspect is the possibility of unpleasant side effects when people take Adderall if they don’t need it for a physical condition. Stimulants are known for helping people with ADHD focus, concentrate, and not feel so restless. Others individuals, however, are likely to experience increased restlessness as well as jittery sensations and nervousness. Some people who take Adderall but do not need it for ADHD feel anxiety and irritability. Headaches, dizziness, and digestive issues can develop. It’s possible to develop an upset stomach, constipation, or diarrhea because of Adderall use.

Another aspect is that using prescription drugs without a prescription is illegal. So is providing one’s own prescription drugs to someone else. Everyone might think that nobody is at risk of getting caught, but it’s nearly impossible to keep these transactions entirely under wraps. All it takes is one person reporting what he or she has heard about or witnessed to a campus official and everything starts to unravel.

Coffee, cola, other caffeinated sodas, and energy drinks are better ways to boost concentration and stay awake longer when it feels necessary. These are legal substances that don’t carry the risk of ruining a student’s college career. It’s true that excessive amounts of caffeine can produce the same side effects as a small amount of Adderall does, so students should be reasonable about their intake. Of course, spending enough time studying and working on papers beforehand is an even better solution.