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Scientists Say Taking Adderall to Get Through Day May Be OK

College students and other concentration seekers know it's not hard to score a 'script for ADHD drugs. Fidgety, disorganized, forgetful. They know the symptoms and they work the system.

But while using Ritalin and Adderall to edge out competition in school and life is nothing new (though the science journal Nature disagrees), a vocal group of scientists supporting it is. They argue that "cognitive enhancement" should no longer be a bad word because it's no different than using education, good health habits, and technology to get ahead. Another similarity? Access to prescription drugs requires a certain degree of privilege, too!

Opponents argue that it's cheating, unnatural, and on par with drug abuse. If they want to curb this trend, I recommend showing young teens Requiem For a Dream at just the right age. But until then, is it just best to accept and regulate it?


Join The Conversation
Sarana Sarana 8 years
What's wrong with the world that kids are taking pills to concentrate? I guess I should be happy my college days are behind me, it sounds like a messed up world. I agree with Dave, concentration is a skill and you won't learn it by popping pills.
CoralAmber CoralAmber 8 years
I was diagnosed with ADD and although the drugs I'm taking help, I was still an unfocused mess for my last final... hmmm... that doesn't add much to the conversation, but I guess I'm saying I don't know how drugs effect different people. And that college is way too stressful that people feel that they need this just to get by.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
facin8me - If you need the drug because of ADHD, then you should take the drug. This article is about the multitude of people who don't necessarily have ADHD, but are still taking this, to help with "concentration". My point is concentration is a learned skill. If you don't develop it, you'll never have it.
kranky kranky 8 years
I agree with YY. I do believe that some people need these drugs, but the post is not about poeple taking medicine for real problems. It is about using a prescription for a different purpose than it is intended ('cognitive enhancement'). Not given the full contaxt, that is frightening and wrong to me. Seems like they are more interested in selling the drugs than anything else.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
Acf I completely agree. If we're talking about a life-saving ailment, by all means, take the medication!
yesteryear yesteryear 8 years
i heard on the radio the other day that 1 in 5 U.S. boys are on ritalin or adderal or something like it. something's wrong here. seriously wrong. the drug companies own the government and these "scientists" who published this study? someone should check out their credentials. i'll bet my adderal prescription that they are on the payrolls of the pharma companies.
acf222 acf222 8 years
This annoys me. I was diagnosed with ADHD and finally started taking medication this past year, but I really struggled with concentrating and focusing throughout high school and college. I avoided taking the medication up until now, because my ADHD was hindering my productivity and focus at work and was starting to negatively affect my career. In addition, treating ADHD requires more than just medication, it requires support and counseling. bluessarahlou, while it does seem like prescription drugs have lots of side effects, keep in mind a lot of these drugs are life-saving. My mother is on medication for her hypertension. While the medication may have potential side effects (like fatigue, dizziness, sexual dysfunction), they FAR OUTWEIGH the benefits. In the case of someone with hypertension, the benefits are preventing heart disease, heart attacks, and even death. So please don't trivialize the use of pharmaceuticals.
ECULeah ECULeah 8 years
When I was in law school, people traded, sold, and popped these pills like candy. I think it was cheating because people who didn't want to do anything illegal were at a disadvantage. I also know a lot of people who abuse these drugs to lose weight.
facin8me facin8me 8 years
"Instead of giving your teenagers adderall to help them concentrate, how about we teach them to actually concentrate." For people who actually have ADHD, this statement is offensive. It's true that there are people who take these things that don't need them, but there are many who do need them. If you don't need Adderall or Ritalin to concentrate, you shouldn't take them. Any perceived "edge" one gains is only from the ability to go longer without sleep- but your brain still needs sleep to function at its optimum. You will not retain the information you've studied if you've been up 20 hours straight due to stimulants. You won't do your best work during this time either. They mess with your appetite and your sleep schedule. This "vocal group of scientists" have not thought this through.
a1stbornunicorn a1stbornunicorn 8 years
Requiem is not about adderall use- it may deter teens from other drugs but the temptation to use this "study drug" is still strong at colleges, where most of the students have seen that movie.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
Maybe if I was on adderall I'd have more than 2 pages out of 15 written for this paper...
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
It's not just you Dave :) I feel this way about a lot of pharmaceuticals in the world these days. I mean it's great and all that there are medications you can take to control various ailments, but is it really worth the side effects? Diarrhea, nausea, sexual side effects? No worries, at least my legs stopped twitching!
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
Is it just me, or are we slowly allowing ourselves to become a medicated society? Instead of giving your teenagers adderall to help them concentrate, how about we teach them to actually concentrate. Turn off the tv, step away from the computer, grab your book and a piece of paper, and get to work.
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